Barney: Take a Tech Timeout


Adam Fondren

Day care center on the University of Utah Campus, Salt Lake City, UT on Tuesday, Aug. 22, 2017 (Photo by Adam Fondren | Daily Utah Chronicle)

By Autumn Barney

There’s no question that technology rules the world. Nowadays you can locate anyone, anytime, anywhere — which is extremely creepy. It does not, however, stop me from using my iPhone.

I loved when there were no smartphones or iPads to track my every move. I didn’t know the difference back then, but I am incredibly grateful I didn’t have those things, especially in high school.

I look at the generation currently in junior high and high school and I feel bad for them. I was lucky enough to have missed the smartphone craze by a few years in high school. I remember dial-up internet and rushing home to Instant Message my friends. I remember my mom yelling at me to get off the internet, because she needed to make a phone call. I also remember my first Nokia cell phone I got at 15, which was also known as a “brick phone.” I couldn’t use the internet, I didn’t have unlimited minutes or text messages, but I survived.

Simply put, technology did not rule the world, and I wish everyone got to grow up that way. In school, my friends and I would write notes to each other in class. We would fold them in creative ways and then deliver them to each other between classes. Imagine having to wait to get to talk to your friends instead of being able to text them constantly in class. I still have some of those notes, and they are fun to look back at sometimes.

I do not envy the grades a few years below me or kids now. I know cyberbullying is huge and kids have taken their own lives because of it. I know phones are extremely distracting and social media is used constantly. I didn’t have a Facebook until I left high school, and even then I never used it, but it is a double-edged sword.

I joined the military out of high school and I didn’t get my first smartphone until after coming back from my first deployment, but I used Facebook and Skype to communicate with my family back home. I can’t imagine writing letters and then having to wait for so long to get a response back. By my second deployment, I had a daughter and I don’t know how I would have survived not seeing her face for six months. Technology is amazing. It’s the norm. I wouldn’t survive without GPS, I get lost driving places even if I’ve been there a million times. I enjoy seeing what my friends and family are up to. I love being able to stay connected to my military friends all over the world. Smartphones have linked us to anywhere and everywhere.

The thing about technology is this: I wish everyone was able to experience life without the world in their palms during their junior high and high school years, and I guess in this era, even elementary school. It helped me have a better experience. I wasn’t as distracted. I got phone calls from boys instead of texts. There was more face-to-face fun, because when I hung out with my friends we weren’t all in a circle texting and swiping, we were in the moment. Technology is truly amazing, but we should all learn how to take a break from it and show our children how special life can be without it.

[email protected]