Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Ramblings from an addicted technology user

                                                       New Media Monster
                                                      A life behind a screen

            In the beginning there lived the primitive man. Simple was his life, he woke up, hunted, fished and probably was involved in a war or two if another alpha man challenged him. These primitive humans relied on the land to get by daily. Those days are long gone. As time went on humans began to develop rapidly. From figuring out how to create fire to inventing the first wheel, humans certainly have come a long way. Innovative thinkers are credited for the vast evolution of technology. In this day and age technology is apart of all of our lives. We are constantly on our computers whether it be at home or at work. When we aren’t near a computer we are on our smart phones, Ipads, Tablets etc. We even have the ability to read a book on a device called the “nook”. I tried to think what my day would look like with out using any form of technology and frankly I wouldn’t be able to function. I’m a field marketer for a health care company so my job consist of tons of driving through out the five boroughs of New York. My sense of direction is horrible so I use my Garmin GPS to get me everywhere! I use email and text on my cell phone to communicate back and forth for work. Next to my wallet, my Iphone is the most important item I carrying around. As I write this paper I am constantly checking my phone for emails, text and to see if anything knew is happening on any of the three social sites I’m signed into. So for many others, and me technology is involved in my everyday life. But where is this all going? What’s going to happen to us thirty years from now or even sooner then that? The Internet, the cyber world, virtual reality? Will these things replace a normal life? Already we see people spending more and more time on their computers then ever before. When my mom was a kid she played outside and socialized with her friends after school. With this new digital age no one needs to do that anymore. One can just sit at home and live their life through the computer. This compulsive over use of the Internet can certainly cause addiction. Internet Addiction Disorder is broadly the “Internet overuse, problematic computer use or pathological computer use, is excessive computer use that interferes with daily life.” This disorder is not yet In the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM) but will be very soon when the DSM is revised.  Businesses have also joined the online wave. Stalking potential consumers online trying to lure us into purchasing something online. Buying online can be extremely risky. If you input your credit card information into a websites that isn’t secure, then your credit card information can be compromised. I used to shop online all the time but now I am more cautious as to which websites I choose to make my purchases on. Shopping online has become so popular, millions of American make purchases online monthly. The Internet is a new way of life. There aren’t many who go a day or two with out using the Internet or any other form of technology. I just want to talk about a couple things that have been troubling me lately ever since I started taking this “New New Media”. Before I took thing class I was aware of how far we have come technology wise but never really thought in depth about how society has changed so drastically. How we interact with each other and how we live our lives is totally different.
            In the United States, most homes have a computer with Internet access in them. The ones that don’t have access to the Internet, whether it be at school, work or in a public library. Over 77.3 percent of Americans have access to the Internet. That is more than half of America’s population. Users are hungry for information and look to the Internet to find it. The Internet is convenient, fast and loaded with any information a person would need which is why it’s the go to place for information and shopping online. With just a click of the finger Internet users are able to look up products, read reviews and purchase products/ services online with ease. After the web 2.0 sprung into action, advertising and marketing on the Internet became the new wave, so more and more people went online to shop. Web 2.0, unlike Web 1.0 allows for interaction, conversation and contribution with users. This Evolution of the Internet changed the way the computer was used forever! “With online bill-paying, banking, grocery shopping, even car shopping made easy by the Internet, there are no longer many reasons for people to leave their houses.” The direct selling of goods and product services online became possible, which is a major milestone in Internet history. This is known as E-Commerce and because of E-commerce consumers can make purchases online. Consumers now have an option to shop from the comforts of their homes and won’t have to physically go inside an actual store to do this. What joy? I can stay my lazy self at home and order everything I could possibly need right from my sofa or bed. With the new Web 2.0 came new ways for big companies to stalk consumers. We see countless ads during our Internet surf that try to convince us to purchase something we probably don’t need. I think we might see more ads on the Internet then in real life.  Another annoyance of the cyber world, round of applause everyone. There are sellers lurking in every corner trying to get what’s in my wallet. I’m not trying to totally bash using the web to solicit sales. I think it’s great but again there is just too much. To many pop ups and too many spam emails! I really don’t mind seeing an ad or too for a product I generally like and of course I don’t mind the many coupons I get in my inbox; oh, no I love those. But when my whole time online is spent clicking out of a pop up ad then that’s when I start to get annoyed. If I were the owner of a business I would use the Internet as well to find potential customers. It’s the perfect place to find the target audiences for your product and services especially when likes of a potential customer can be so easy to find online. Advertising on the Internet also allows for advertisers and marketers to become more creative in their advertising tactics, which intern would result in more attention from us online users. Of course big time and small fry companies are involved in the digital world just as much as users are. They know that people are spending over four hours daily on the Internet. Advertising on the Internet is highly beneficial for companies starting out who want to save money since it’s in many cases more affordable then using traditional media for advertising. So the appeal for businesses to use the web is at an all time high. All in all, the Internet is a great tool to reach your target audience more efficiently, it can be cost effective and the creative boundaries are endless. The Internet is a win win for businesses that choose to use this new form of advertising. There are countless forms of advertising methods used on the Internet to get potential consumers interested. One popular form of advertising on the Internet is the use of direct mail also known as “emails”. A company can send emails about up coming sales, give coupons and events that, that particular consumer may be interested in. Some other forms of advertising on the Internet are paid searches, pop-up. Pop-unders, links, banners, sponsorships etc. Those are just a few of the countless forms of advertisements that can be used by marketers and advertisers geared to get getting the attentions of online visitors. Pop-ups, like Emails are extremely popular. Today most if not all businesses have a website. A website is the place where providers make information available to users of the Internet. Having a website is the ultimate form of advertisement. A companies website is the place where they can sell products and services as well as give information about the company to consumers. It’s also the place where online shopping can shop! An effective website must create an image, create a strong brand, create awareness, generate interest, disseminate information, gain consideration, create a buzz and stimulate a trail. These approaches to advertising on the Internet when used correctly can ensure the success of a business. These non-traditional forms of advertising have almost taken over traditional forms. So long to radio commercials and television commercials.  “Behavioral targeting is a tactic used to find out exactly what people who surf the internet like based on website surfing behaviors.”  So businesses have the ability to track down every website a user visit. Marketers and advertisers can track down websites consumers have visits to get a sense of the kind of things they are into in order to efficiently market to them. Advertisers try to tailor the content of online ads to ensure the right consumers are getting information that they will be interested which would result in a potential customer. Creepy yes but seems to be very effective. I guess this is a good way of pin pointing whom you advertise too. So, even though it does seem to invade our previously maybe it’s a good thing? For advertising and marketers people spending countless hours online is a win win for them. Everything is made available for us online. I pay all my bills online. I pay my cell phone bill online, my car note online, my car insurance online, my credit card bills online and even my student loans. I can even order groceries from Fresh Direct and have it delivered to my doorstep. I recently got an email from Fresh Direct promoting their services and I must admit it almost convinced me that ordering groceries online was a cool idea. Staying at home on my when I'm feeling lazy and having someone else bring me my every need how wonderful right? Ehh not so much. But these online advertisers are so convincing in their tactics to get you to buy why step out of your house everyday. Just order all the crap you need and want and have the USP guy or the mailman bring it to you house. There isn’t anything like walking down the isle of your favorite store though and actually trying on a nice dress just to get a feel of how it would look on before you decide to buy it. Going out and conversing with the cashier or other shoppers can really be therapeutic. Humans are suppose to be out and about interacting with others in real stores, being stimulating by real life.
            Apple has a device called the IPad, which is a touch screen tablet computer. It first grace the market in 2010, and I don’t think a toddler whose parent owns one has been the same ever since. The Ipad is like a mini computer but with apps and the touch screen feature make it an easy to use device for young children. Statistics show that half of children in the United States have access to an Ipad. About a year ago I used to baby-sit the cutest one-year-old boy. The boy couldn’t speak yet but he was extremely advanced in Ipad and I thought it was the cutest thing ever. His mom would tell me that the Ipad keeps him busy for hours. So, of course I would give him the Ipad and he would be in the “zone” totally toned into the Ipad swiping his little finger from side to side and I just thought, “man what a smart little guy.”  I’ve never seen anything like it. I recently ran into that boy and his family and he still doesn’t speak. I found that to be odd because usually at around three toddlers can say quite a few words. I realized that the Ipad was probably partly to blame for this. You have to talk to your children in order to enrich their vocabulary. If you just sit your child down with an Ipad what kind of enriching environment is that? He still had the Ipad in his hand when I saw them and his mom didn’t think anything was wrong with that. Just recently on Fox Five News I saw a story on Ipads and toddlers. In the news story they talk about how toddlers are becoming addicted to the Ipad. They continue on by saying the consistent use of the Ipad can cause these young children to become anti social. They also showed a four-year-old boy in the story that threw temper tantrums when his Ipad was taken away. The mother of this young boy said that her son doesn’t want to go to school because he cannot use his Ipad there. This child clearly has an addiction to this device. Typical signs of addictions are signs of withdrawal when a particular thing is taken away. Signs of withdrawal symptoms can be any expression of distress, irritability or frustration. These are the symptoms this child was clearly displaying on the Fox Five New segment and he’s not the only one reacting this way when taken away from his Ipad. Just go to YouTube and type in Toddlers and Ipads and you will see and endless amount of these videos of little zombie monsters and their Ipads. Oh, how I so wanted to call the mother of that boy I babysat for just to tell her to turn on the news. I really feel her son is suffering from this Ipad addiction and I see a big problem with this. Toddlers are supposed to be interacting with family members and other children in other to gain social skills. Interacting with others also helps develop their motor skills. Child development is optimized when children engage in activities that are cognitively and sensorial stimulating.” If a one year old is spending all their time on the Ipad how can they learn the proper way to socialize with others? And what about a developing child’s eyes? How does staring at an Ipad screen affect their vision in the long run? “Staring at screens too long may cause the muscle's in the baby's eyes to atrophy.” I read in an article that while playing with an Ipad children tend to blink less. That’s insane! Children should be outside enjoying the sunlight instead of staring at a brightly lit screen for hours and hours. Why do parents allow their babies and toddlers to use the Ipad? Some say that there are tons of educational apps for their kids and others say it keeps their children quiet and occupied. So these parents are creating antisocial screen obsessed monsters? Sure it’ll start with just the Ipad but then what? Why get your child hooked on such a device early on? These kids will surely end up with Internet addiction disorder. Parents minimize the amount of TV a child watches and the same should be done with the Ipad. I think the Ipad is cool but is starts with the Ipad but time spend on it should be limited for young children. Are we going to have a baby crib made up of touch screen too? Sounds cool enough we will create a touch screen communication system for babies so we know what their every need is with out guessing. Is something like that even possible? Could be. But is that life? Computers will teach our children and what will we be doing? On the computer right next to them right? No one needs to have a conversation with their child anymore because the whole family will be preoccupied with the digital Those people that argue that the educational apps, like puzzles, matching games are helpful are necessarily wrong. Sure those games can be helpful but how much so? “Although babies can learn from interacting with an impoverished cognitive environment like an ipad, they do so slowly and inefficiently.” Those games are good for the kids who are four years old and up but what about the three and under age range? I think playtime in the digital world should be restricted just like TV time is restricted. I think too much will be detrimental to a child in the long run.
 Too much hypertext and multimedia content has been linked in some kids to limited attention span, lower comprehension, poor focus, greater risk for depression and diminished long-term memory.” (CNN; Is the Internet hurting children?)
Introducing a one year old to the interactive technology experience so early on will only create little savage robot monsters or better yet zombies. Rather than educating and engaging children, technology "snuffs out creativity." These little guys will grow up addicted to everything digital and the days where kids would play in the park will soon be over. I didn’t have an Ipad growing up or even a computer and I developed just fine. I went to museums, parks, sleepovers and had an over all fun and exciting normal childhood. Normal for children today is every digital. For Christmas I always wanted a Barbie or whatever cool new toy was out, but today these kids are asking for Ipads, laptops and cell phones.  Children are supposed to be outdoors having real life experiences, touching glass falling off bikes, and shooting some hoops. They should be touching pages to real books and not digital ones. Lets turn a real page during story time at bedtime. Put the Ipad down it will only get worse. I fear that these Ipad zombie babies will grow up to be anti social obese computer addicts unable to function properly in real life. Seriously what ever happened to regular toys to get a child busy why a screen? While on the Ipad a child is sitting in one spot vs. an actual toy like a ball or a Bike that requires a child to move around and interact with other kids. I know I’m not the only one that feels like introducing children to the digital world and allowing them to spend countless hours there is dangerous. After a little research I found others who felt the same way. More and more children are online. You see them on facebook, twitter and game sites all the time. These Ipad toddlers will turn into big kids who want to spend all their time online. About 93 percent of young children are online now and by the time a child is two 90 percent of them already have an online history. That’s a ridiculous number! Two years olds have no business having an online history, I mean come on America. It’s just preposterous. According to the Pew Internet American life project, 73 percent of children are on MySpace or Facebook, and 75 percent owning cell phones, up from 63 percent who owned cell phones in 2006.” We need to reverse what’s happening here. We need to get these kids involved in extra curricular activities that doesn’t including using a computer.


            This brings me to social media. When going online first became popular in the 90’s there were chat rooms, which was really the only online socializing other then email people really did. Well, the only online social I really did anyway. When I was a kid I might have used the computer for the dial up Internet two or three times a week. Using the Internet wasn’t such a big deal to me. My friends and I would go on chat rooms and lie about our age, where we lived and what school we went too and the whole nine yards. To us that was a great time, we would chat with people talk about movies things we liked to do and it was really fun and exciting. I remember the very first social profile I ever created “Sconex”. Sconex was a social network for teens in high school and it was very popular. There was a profile picture you could write which high school you went to, and there was something like a discussion board on your page where friends could comment. You also had an inbox where people were able to send private messages. It was like social sites today expect with out all the bells and whistles. Today there are much more elaborate social media sites made available to users. There’s Myspace, Twitter, Instagram, Cinemagram, Facebook, Linkedin and tons of dating sites. These social media sites also have “Check in” Options where your location can be updated constantly which would let your friends know where you are at all times. These are just a few of the hundreds of social sites one can sign up for. One person alone can have a profile with over 20 different social networking sites. I myself have Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and google plus. I just recently signed up for twitter again because I deleted it months ago. I was beginning to get too distracted from work so I decided that one of my social sites had to go, but like a good little addict I couldn’t stay away for too long and signed up for it again. What do we do on social sites you ask? Well, of course we socialize no? We make friends online, we converse online and we even find dates online. Is this normal? Maybe this type of online life would be normal from a person suffering from agoraphobia. Typically people suffering from agoraphobia are afraid to leave their homes so living in a cyber world is ideal for them. But what about us normal folk? Why are so many people spending so much time in front the screen and on these social sites instead of real life. I mean even when I'm out to dinner with friends I still find myself on my smart phone checking up on any new activity going on, on my Facebook, instagram etc. People are spending 700 billion minutes a month on Facebook alone. On twitter people are tweeting their thoughts all day long and tweeting about what their doing and just giving their followers updates on their daily life. On instagram people are picture documenting absolutely everything. From the outfit they are wearing today to the food they’re eating. Is that really necessary? People are also going on sites like E-harmony to meet the man or woman of their dreams but what ever happened to meeting someone at a nice lounge or in the supermarket? Oh wait, no one goes out anymore because everyone’s to busy living life digitally so we have no other choice but to find dates online because that’s where everyone is. Social networks are consuming much too much of our daily lives. We need to go outside and live a social life in real life. How is developing a relationship online with out incorporating real life meetings normal? There’s even a new show on MTV about meeting your online love in person. This one woman on the show said she’s been dating this man online for over five years and they have never met in person! How is that even in the least bit normal? But what’s normal anymore anyway? Things are so different then they were forty years ago. People used to actually enjoy real life. This virtual living is just promoting people to live a sheltered life at home preventing them from venturing out and experiencing life. I can’t help but be reminded about the scene in Paxir’s movie “Wall-E” where two men where sitting right next to each other but communicating through a screen that was in front of them. That’s just preposterous! Pretty soon that’s were we will be. Communicating with each other through a digital screen instead of actually facing each other and that eventually will lead us to living very lonely lives. No one will care about nature because no one will be going outside anyway. Just like in the movie Wall-E there were no more plants. What a sad little life. One definition for social is “the interaction of organisms with other organisms and to their collective co-existence.” Is a computer an organism? Almost two in five people spend more time socializing online than they do face-to-face. Facebook doesn’t come to bed with you unless you stay up all night surfing the net jumping from one social media to the next. I sure many do take their computers to bed. I used to sleep with my laptop on my bed just to I can have easy access to it when I wake up. Online is a great place to stay connected with family and friends and it is a good place to interact but to a certain extent. It’s just not the same as being around people and actually listening to them speak, watching their eyes and all that other good stuff. I mean people can even have cyber sex, ok great that’s nice but after a while how fun can that be? I guess looking on the bright side it’s a form of safe sex. One can really live out their entire life from home filled with friends, lovers’ even education. We can even get a college degree online!!! Online dating is certainly risky business as many people can create phony profiles to lure people in and scam them. I just feel that online dating scene is a dangerous one and people choosing to go that route should be very cautious. What ever happened to blind dating? I think those can be fun and exciting. Sure the allure of going through peoples profiles and reading their bios about the kind of person they are is a great way of eliminating the kind of person you don’t want, but people do tend to elaborate. What I'm trying to say is lets log off of Facebook and log into real life!!! I only know one maybe two people who don’t get involved in social networking everyone else I know down to my grandpa has a social network.

            I carry with me everywhere a digital screen. What screen I speak of you ask? Well that’s my smart phone. I will admit that I have an unhealthy addiction to my phone. I even sleep with it next to me every single night, which, according to doctors is not the best thing for your health. Electromagnetic radiation emanating from cell phones and cell phone towers can cause skin rashes, headaches, migraines, skin irritation, insomnia, dizziness, nausea, heart palpitations, heart pain, concentration problems, fatigue, tingling sensations, anxiety attacks, memory problems, vision problems, swollen lymph nodes, indigestion reddening of skin. Sounds pretty scary, but am I too worried? Clearly I’m not because I still sleep with it right next to my head and so does 44 percent of other American cell phone owners. Why? Why are we so addicted to the screen why is it so fascinating? Last weekend I was in Miami crossing the street and I didn’t even realize the light changed and cars starting moving because I was too busy checking my instagram. It wasn’t until my friend grabbed my arm that I realized I had to run across the middle of the street to avoid getting hit by a car. What do I do on my phone all day? Well I google everything for one, I check my emails, I check all of my social sites but half the time I'm just clicking the screen on for no particular reason. Even though I didn’t get an alert to a new message or anything I still click my screen on. I see my friends do the same thing all the time. We just want to see our home screen lit up. I want to change this about myself. Humans are continuing to expend the horizons and develop bigger and better forms of technology. It’s a wonderful thing but we must incorporate some primitive things to the new life that’s to come in the future. I tell people all the time in order to function with all these screens and devices we now have you have to have some form on ADHD. Its like we are all attempting to do fifthly million things all at once. I also fear that virtually reality will become the only reality. This reminds me of the movie Surrogates starring Bruce Willis. This movie like Wall-E is a perfect example of how our future may look. In this movie humans live in complete isolation. The only way people interact in this movie is through surrogate robots. The humans stay at home and connect to these robot avatars and that’s how they live their everyday life. Even the married couples in this movie live like this. Husband and wife in the same house but in separate rooms never seeing each other. That’s the type of relation Bruce Willis’s character had with his wife in the movie. In reality the wife was sickly and looked appeared more beautiful in her robot form. I remember at one point in the movie Bruce Willis went to his wives room and she didn’t want him to see her because she felt ugly. In the movie Men posed as women with women robots. These men would engage in activity living as if they were women in their robot form. Which brings me back to people hiding behind a screen and pretending to be something or someone they’re not. They never see each other only the robot form of each other. I think people who are already addicted to everything virtual wouldn’t have a problem with this lifestyle and would actually embrace something like this happening in the future but I'm not ok with that. Time is one of the most precious and important things a human has. I don’t want to waste my time on the computer, or on my phone, or on my Ipad. I want to go out and really live. I wonder how it’ll be when I’m ready to having my own children. What will society look like in about ten years?

                                                    Works cited



  1. Once again I'm convinced now that our semester is close to over that we need to go through a 12 step media recovery program that involves taking each day "one chip at a time"....Don't call it AA but perhaps an AC/DC recovery program....maybe even MMA....Media Monsters Anonymous...I need a drink....

  2. It's funny that you came up with this name for our blog, because we are definitely New Media Monsters.. I am.. Social media is a drug yo.. It's kind of scary to think of what life will look like in 10 years, probably something we never imagined. SMH

  3. Gernique I am very afraid for us hahaha!!!! and I love the acronyms I love AC/DC and I might need a drink as well.

  4. I enjoyed your video with the crying toddler over the Ipad, I'm surprised he learned how to use it so well. He going to be a future genius or just a crazy game freak. It's hilarious when he can't figure out how to play that robot game LMAO.