Since the beginning of time, the goal of humans was to improve their way of life. Technology helps with this improvement. From the Aztecs to the Egyptians, you can see that both of them, over time, developed into great technological cultures. Both cultures have technological interest. The Aztecs have their great temples and the Egyptians have the marvelous pyramids. Their society and culture flourished, but can ours? It used to be nature that made us follow traditional roles in our everyday lives. Now it is technology. This technological environment forces us to look at everything in a technology based way. Many people today are starting to wonder, "Do advances in technology actually make our lives easier?" Is too much television affecting us, and how can it help us? Television is good and bad. It is how we look at it that determines if it is actually affecting us in bad ways.
Are we saving more time by having lightning fast internet, or are we just on the computer more often? Is technology affecting us and our children? There is no 100% correct answer. Many studies show that technology is good and bad. Where would we be without the computer or the internet? Probably still relying on the old paper and pencil method and doing all our research with books. Books aren't bad by any means, because researching on the internet will give you 5,000,000 hit for a term and more than half will not be relevant. Technology has helped us in certain ways and has made things more complicated in other ways. Many of us know that big businesses, such as "Hiram Walker" rely on technology to get from day to day. No matter what, technology will keep changing and it's up to us to keep up with it.
The first thing that comes to mind are the big businesses or the companies that strive on technology to survive, are they being affected? Of course and it is much worse than the normal student or person experiences. For example, the exploding Ford Pintos, or Dodge Trucks catching fire, are both very popular cars from popular companies that cannot afford mistakes with technology that does not fit. The cost of productivity and business losses is because of network downtime; and it continues to rise as organizations rely a lot on their networks. Industry analyst firm Gartner estimates that the hourly cost of network downtime is $42,000(Force10 Networks, webpage 4). A typical business experiences about 87 hours of downtime a year (Force10 Networks, webpage 4), which totals a loss of more than $3.6 million (Force10 Networks, webpage 4). Businesses like creative Zen are struggling because they cannot keep up with the new technology that Apple keeps creating which caused them to lose 114 million in March alone and 84% decrease in sales (BBC News, Article 2). There are countless companies that are just like that and cannot keep up with changing technology. Therefore, start to lose a lot of sales.
Developments related to communication: computer, email, video conferencing, flash memory, or power points actually save companies money, travel, paper, and time. Video conferencing can save a lot of money because individuals in different (often distant) locations can talk face to face on issues ensuring better understanding of issues, plans, and saving money. This equipment will save the business a lot of time and give traveling employees a break once and a while. Video conferencing gives businesses the ability to easily share any type of information; make decisions faster which then will bring products or services to market quicker and enabling them to stay ahead of their competitors. Companies are always gaining with advances in technology because it keeps getting more compact. For example, Apple and the ipod nano, know people want small compact mp3 players. That is what they gave costumers because they have the technology to do so.
Let us look at how technology affects the everyday person and how the small things can lead up to drastic changes in society. Technology can affect our children. The number one way is the television. Kids are watching a lot of television and it is interrupting with other more important activities like homework or physical activity. In the average American home the TV is on for at least seven hours a day and watched by different family members (staff at the University of Michigan, web page 2). We begin to wonder why parents are always in a rush or kids don't have their homework done, TV is sometimes the answer. It is not that TV is all bad; Television has its good side. It gives kids a chance to see educational shows, learn about different cultures, and be entertained. It's come to a point where they are overdoing it. On average kids watch about 24 hours or a day of TV each week (Robert Steele, web page 1) which is more than anything else they do other than sleeping and school. Studies are linking television watching to: obesity because kids are now less active and aren't playing outside as much as they should be. This study (McVeagh, Patricia, Article) showed that kids that spend more than 10 hours per week watching TV are more likely to be overweight. It also proved that TV ads promote unhealthy eating habits because two thirds of the 20000 ads your child sees each year are for sugary foods or fast food. Other studies (David Partenheimer, Article) are showing desensitization to violence and aggressive behavior because of certain programs like the power rangers, batman, superman and many movies. This study found that kids who watched violent shows as a child frequently, tended to be more violent in relationships later on in life. This is our kids we are referring to and we can't afford to take risks such as those. TV can scare or traumatize children which can lead to sleep problems. Kids can be scared by many things like: scary monsters, violence, natural disasters, drowning or fires. Telling them it is not real will not help because usually kids cannot tell acting from reality .The role of technology in social change in this case would be even the littlest of kids are affected everyday by technology. Parents in society should start to be more aware of what their kids are watching and how much they are watching. If parents would sit down with there kids while watching TV and explain what is right and wrong, than some kids would tend to be less violent in reality. This will begin to improve grades and get kids moving which will lower the obesity rates in our society.
The internet and computer has changed the way kids do homework with again good and bad ways. It is good because the internet can be a great resource when used correctly; and word processing can correct sentence, errors; and spelling. The Internet can make kids homework easier and help them. It is almost required that students use it for many of their projects. Kids work starts to seem more professional and neater and it makes teacher's jobs easier because now they can read it better. The internet allows students to do their research in the comfort of their own home and it can supply a lot of useful information. A 2002 survey by the Pew Internet & American Life Project details how the Internet gives kids access to information in ways prior generations couldn't even have imagined. With a click of a mouse kids can find the most up to date detailed research for their projects, connect with study partners, and find online tutors and study groups. Unless you have your own super-library then finding the perfect book could take hours. If given the choice most kids prefer using the internet for their schoolwork because it is easier, faster and smarter.
Of course there is a downside to everything and with every positive there is a negative that comes with it. When the internet became popular parents welcomed the internet into their homes, believing they were opening up an exciting new world of educational opportunities for their children. However, many parents soon realized that, instead of using the Internet for homework or research, their kids were spending hours instant messaging with friends, playing online games or talking to strangers in chat rooms. Other more specific negative are plagiarism mostly done by kids in older grades with longer projects but it is often done because essays are so easy to access. The internet can make homework easier for kids but it can easily distract them with pop ups, online games, instant messaging and much more. Kids can easily be exposed to explicit content with pop ups or simple mistakes like typing in legs instead of legos or x-men. Last year One in three children saw sexual material they didn't intend to see, according to a 2006 national study funded through a grant to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children. Kids aren't even as safe as they used to be because now they are chatting with strangers who may be dangerous. Last year nearly one in seven Internet users ages 10 to 17 received unwanted sexual request (study from National Center for Missing and Exploited Children). Kids and teenagers are making web pages and putting personal things on these sites and it only takes a few clicks for predators to know everything they need to know to locate these kids. What authorities are trying to do is pose as an underage girl or guy in chat room and then when a predator starts to talk with them they lead them on until they can get a location and make the arrest. The role of technology in social change is kids are not as safe as they used to be even in their own homes. Their grades are being heavily influenced by the computer and internet.
Schools are a great example in how technology creates social change. If we look back a hundred years ago at a doctor's job we will find that many things have changed. When looking at how we taught kids nothing drastic has changed. So my question is: "Why has education remained the same throughout the years?" But technology is making a breakthrough ever so often, and has made it easier for the students to learn and the teachers to teach. With TVs and VCRs in classrooms, students can get a visual on what they are learning making it easier to comprehend. Most schools have computer labs and computers in every class. Over 90% of schools are connected to the internet (Jan Gahal, webpage 3). Computers will not necessarily make bad teachers good teachers; but it will change what we teach and how we teach it. Many teachers are saying that our traditional role of teaching must change because students have become harder to teach. Students are tired of having to follow the same routine forever (Healy, J.H, p.40, 1998). There are many devices other than the computer that aid students in school. Some are: the PowerPoint machine, TV, DVD, VCR, the projector and many more. Studies have shown a technology rich school is known to have a higher student average than one with limited access to technology (Jan Gahal, webpage 3). For example, one study showed fourth-grade students who used technology to edit papers were likely to have a higher average on writing scores on the Massachusetts Comprehensive Assessment System (MCAS) English/Language Arts test. Computers have taken over many trips to the library to find books for research, writing important papers by hand and encouraged new ways of learning. All and all, schools have changed drastically with technology kids are now more open to new work environments, different ways of learning, and keeping them more interested. Students' grades are improving because of this. It gets them away from the same old routine where they find it boring and hard to pay attention.
In conclusion, "Is change in technology for better or for worse?" Well, to tell you the truth it is good in some ways and bad in other ways. Like you have seen above, everyone is benefiting and losing from technology. T here is no way to pinpoint if we are better with or without it. The benefits are significant and outweigh minor disadvantages in many cases. Would kids honestly be in better physical shape if the TV or computer was never invented? There is no way to be 100% sure. Our lives would be much different without technology. Everyday things, like washing, drying clothes, cooking, ironing and cleaning would take a lot longer. Without technology most of this stuff would be done by hand. Even though we cannot prove if technology is good or bad, we have to look at another important factor which is how we decide to use it. If we can use our technology responsibly and for enjoyment, than it is a good thing and there is no doubt about that. It is when we over do it that technology becomes bad. You see, the problem does not root from technology. It comes from us people who chose to let a good thing like technology run our lives. Technology is not bad. It is the people who abuse it who are bad. If we can control how much computer, TV or other devices we use, we will start to enjoy them more and appreciate what people have invented for us. No matter what, technology changed our lives drastically. Most people today cannot go a day without using the phone, watching TV, chatting online, and playing games; and that is not half of it. These things are part of our lives. We have become so used to them, we begin to forget how much time we use them. If we treat it right it will treat us even better; and hopefully make our lives easier and even more enjoyable. If we can be like the Aztecs and Egyptians our society will flourish just like theirs did. No matter if technology is good or bad it, has changed our lives forever. It is up to us to keep up with the technological world.
Richard J. Coley(1997) A new study shows the effectiveness -- andthe limitations -- of school technology retrieved from http://www.electronic-school.com/0997f3.html on April 9 2007Author unknown (2006) LectraFLY retrieved from http://www.epicenterinnovations.com/site/ on April 9, 2007http://www.masternewmedia.org/2004/04/04/nine_rules_for_good_technology.htmhttp://news.zdnet.co.uk/internet/0,1000000097,39219183,00.htm