Blinding us with science

The introduction of the smartphone in the early 21st century has transformed our society. 

According to ABC News, a new research study from the Pew Research Center’s Internet and American Life Project found that 61 percent of Americans own a smartphone. 

The study also mentioned that 35 percent of Americans owned smartphones in May 2011, and by February 2012 that percentage had jumped to 46. 

All of these statistics show our society’s increased reliance on technology. Technology can be effectively used with a balance of entertainment and education.

 With the invention of the iPhone, and other smart phones such as the Android, has come the creation of various applications. Applications are used for social networks, study aids, games, etc. 

According to USA Today, Facebook was the top application downloaded for smartphones. Facebook was followed by Instagram, Vine, Words with Friends, Snapchat, eBay, Pinterest, Twitter, Angry Birds and many others. 

But going down that list you begin to notice that all of these applications have uses for social networking and entertainment. The only educational application was Google Search, which can help you make quick searches for homework and research topics. 

While it is great that our generation has found new ways to interact and to entertain themselves, many of these applications can contribute to the great art of procrastinating.

We all do it whether we like to admit it or not. I know for myself I’ll tell myself, “I’m just going to quickly check all my social networks as a study break.”

That quick five minute study break turns into a half an hour or an hour of looking through photos of people’s food or puppies on Instagram, reading people’s complaints on Twitter, or seeing where people are checking in on Facebook. 

While all of this can bring loads of entertainment, it is surely not helping you with your essay due at eight the next morning, or the big anatomy exam you have coming up.

Not only do we rely on smartphones, but we also use laptops, tablets, MP3 players, and gaming consoles. According to CNN, in 2011 90 percent of Americans owned a computerized gadget, such as a cell phones, MP3 players, tablets, computers, and gaming consoles. I myself have a smartphone, laptop, and gaming console and most of my friends have at least three of the items listed above. This shows our generation’s constant use of technology.

But the advancement of technology in our society is not all bad. Laptops, smartphones, and tablets allow us to make further research, and to answer questions within 30 seconds of searching. 

According to the Washington Post, a U.S. group called One Laptop Per Child dropped off 20 tablets last February in a village in the East African country of Ethiopia. The goal of the project was to see if the kids could use the tablets to teach themselves because they have no teachers or schools. 

While the advancement of technology and the creation of applications has led to further procrastination for our society, it has also helped us to quickly do research that we could not do even 20 years ago, and to help educate those without any resources for schooling. 

Strive for balance between using your gadgets for social networking and entertainment, and using it for educational purposes.