Saturday, March 20, 2010

Media Fasts.

Yes, I have an iPhone. And a laptop. And an iPod. And a TV. But that's not so different from most college students these days, and most adults as well. One professor from the University of Minnesota thinks my generation's dependency on electronics has spiraled out of control, and her solution is to assign college students media fasts.

Media fasts are when people are told not to use "media or gadgets that didn't exist before 1984," which pretty much includes all tech devices we're accustomed to using every day. I think this idea is completely ridiculous. Yes, studies have shown that the abundance of technological gadgets has lead to decreased attention spans. Yes, although I don't take my laptop to class, I do notice that everyone else around me is on Facebook instead of frantically taking notes on the lecture. Yes, just last week a man was killed in a freak accident because he was listening to his iPod and didn't hear an emergency plane landing.

These are all reasons for us to take a step back to limit our use of technology, but closing ourselves off completely is a rash and unnecessary measure. It's far more important to continue to use these products while also attempting to educate ourselves about their impact in our lives. So instead of a weeklong media fast in which people would not be able to use cell phones or computers, how about having one night per week in which a group of housemates did not have to give up these modern necessities, but chose to hang out together doing something that did not involve Guitar Hero marathons or Nintendo Wii? It's certainly still possible to be tech savvy, enjoy our modern marvels, and still appreciate the moments in life in which we aren't constantly reaching for our iPhones to see if we got a text.


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