Sunday, February 12, 2006

Are you in control of the technology you use daily or a slave to it?

The other day I was talking to a computer specialist about technology and how it is such an integral part of the work I do. He surprised me by asking “People are always looking at the good side of technology but why aren’t they looking at the downside?” I never thought I’d hear that from a computer specialist!

But he’s right. And he asked me a valid question which I have been thinking about ever since. When he can turn to me and tell me a friend’s son at the age of 3 knows how to turn on the computer and insert a game to play, that is worrisome. He’s right. That child should be out in the playground or in the fresh air socializing with other children as this is a prescription for societal problems down the road. Besides which, it’s common knowledge that kids aren’t getting enough exercise because they’re too busy with video games and computers.

Let’s leave that for a moment and look at adults. We are so used to technology and if you think about it for a moment, you’ll realise computers and technology are integrated in all aspects of our lives. That won’t change, only increase. Truthfully, when I look at the impact it’s had on my life and that of my son’s, it’s immeasurable. Half the success of his rehab after his surgeries was because of medical technology, from a CPM (continuous passive motion) machine he wore for weeks on end which moved all his hand joints on a continual, programmed basis to prevent internal scarring to biofeedback to retrain, neuro-muscular stimulators to enervate, and laser and ultrasound for scarring. That is just one small personal example as medical advances are taking place almost daily.

For another example, because of technology, this blog now has subscribers from 74 countries and I have a dialogue with people from all over the world. That would never have taken place before. The wonders of the BlackBerry help me process emails through the day so I’m not inundated with hundreds when I get home at night. It facilitates my work and keeps me one step ahead of the chaos. I do turn it off at night, however.

Bottom line is, technology, computers, cell phones etc are tools, period. They are used as effectively as the people who use them. It helps us build our futures and reach out farther than we ever thought possible, but we are still responsible for determining our own fates.

Learn how to use it, update regularly. Don’t be afraid of it, embrace it. But don’t let it be a substitute for life. Let it enhance your life. Use technology as a way to take back your life, not take over.

Donna Karlin

*Note: Welcome new subscriber from Slovakia. We now have regular readers from 74 countries!

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