Our present reality is one filled with a great deal of communication technology. Everywhere we turn, we see people on cell phones, personal computers and a range of other media and communication devices. People start and end their days on these devices, referring to them through out the day for information, communication and entertainment. Our labor force, economy, scientific studies and national security measures are all tied to communications devices now, and we would be rendered helpless if we were unable to access them. This seems like a philosophically unsound existence, but it is indeed the state of things.
Communication technology has become invasive. This is a widespread complaint about phones, computers and other communications devices. It is overly present at every occasion. Whether it is the workplace, movie theater, dinner table or birthday party, communications devices are present, much to the demise of good social skills. This recent phenomenon is met with a great deal of resentment, both from generations that are unaccustomed to it and younger generations who were raised to limit their use of communications devices. There are certainly occasions that call for leaving phones and tablets at home, or at least out of sight.
Communications technology has also been found to have addictive properties, which is never good for anyone’s mental or physical health. Addiction is defined as anything that a person focuses on to the extent of losing control of the rest of their life. Having an addiction to something means that you will neglect everything else in order to focus on the addiction. This epitomizes what is happening with cell phones and computers. People would rather be on their phones than drive safely, watch where they are walking or socialize with the person right in front of them. They would rather be on computers than work, leave the house or exercise. We have a very serious problem of addiction to communications devices in our culture.
The question is, are communications devices a necessary evil? Are we better off with them or without them? They have certainly done a lot to connect us to friends and relatives who are far away. But have they separated us from and made us take for granted the people directly in front of us?