|This study examines how the positives and the negatives of technology work in today's society. It further researches if the negatives that come from technology are worth it in the long run. Starting off with a literature review of Aja Monet's "Mobilizing a Movement of the Mind" we see her views on how technology has affected society. Continuing on with the methods of my research, a focus group was used to gather ideas. This focus group was allowed to freely speak about their thoughts on the topic presented. The focus group jumped back and forth from one idea to the next, even relating it back to their past experiences. By the end of the focus groups time, a consensus about the topic was reached. The conclusions of my research have led me to believe that there is a cause for all the negativity that is associated with technology, leading to a final thought that perhaps us as a people can fix the problem.|
|Keywords: technology, society, focus group, Aja Monet, problem|
Have you heard of the Amanda Todd story? Most people have it is one of the most recent cyberbullying cases that took many people by surprise. Amanda Todd was a sixteen-year-old female who committed suicide after years of being cyber bullied and feeling like she was alone in the world. Cyber bullying has become a problem since 2008, a time where kids were introduced to social media websites such as Myspace. If one stops and thinks, the only reason cyberbullying exists is because of advancing technology. Cyberbullying was never an issue before computers, cell phones, and tablets. So it is safe to assume that technology is bad... but is that really true?
From my experience, technology has been good to me. Thanks to social networking sites such as Skype or Oovoo, I can stay connected with family and friends in another country that otherwise I would not be able to see face to face. Sites like Facebook allow me to stay in touch with friends who went away to college a lot faster than if I wrote them letters and mailed it to them. Technology has allowed me to write this very paper, where if I were to make a mistake I can just press the backspace key and it would be as if nothing ever happened. Without technology, every mistake I made would have resulted in me writing this paper all over again from the beginning. So obviously, technology is good...right? The answer to these questions is technology has both its good and its bad sides that in a way balance each other out creating the world we live in today. This is the world that would not be able to exist without functioning technology.
Aja Monet’s Voice Through My Words: Literature Review and Methods
Aja Monet’s “Mobilizing a Movement of the Mind” uses style and rhythm to repeatedly go back and forth between the negatives and positives of technology. She starts off her spoken word poem by stating that all the new technological devices have brought us closer to people, being able to communicate more with each other and share a common cause; then the theme of the poem changes. We start to see a more negative view of what technology has taken away from us as a society. Monet explains how sharing a photograph online, having people look at it, is not the same as having the physical picture in a photo album. The physical picture would have resulted in people having to go outside, get together, share conversations, and look at the physical copy of the picture. Meanwhile, the digitized copy took away from that experience. Monet continues throughout the whole poem just going back and forth between positives and negatives, balancing them out, giving the listener impressionable lines from each side to decide for themselves what technology has caused.
According to Aja Monet's "Mobilizing a Movement of the mind"(2011) "Children in Dakar with huts for homes have cell phones” and “A soldier watches his son grow through an LCD screen” both of these lines I believe showed the extremes of both the negatives and the positives in technology. Just the idea of a child in below average living standards having a cell phone stays with a person. Different questions arise such as how can they afford a cell phone? Has the need to have technology reached the point where it outranks better living conditions? Has it gone too far? Then on the other hand, we have the image of a father that without technology would have missed out on so much of his son's life. Does this image outweigh the questions?
Research, in this case, asks a person to thoroughly know and read through an article dealing with digital culture. Through this article, we will come up with a question to further see how the public of today reacts to digital culture. By following all the guidelines presented when using human subjects and using ethical practices, a focus group was created to generate ideas about the question asked: Do you believe the positives of technology outweigh the negatives? This question shaped the conversation of a four-person focus group in the fall of 2014 at a large, public, urban university of first-year college students. The focus group was encouraged to speak their mind without any interruption from myself.
Time to focus: Findings and Data Analysis
The conversation began with Frank, a seventeen-year-old male from Queens, New York who stated that yes the positives of technology do outweigh the negatives because without technology we would still be riding horses. After a few seconds of thought, he continued to say “...but before we got things done.” The focus group then came to discover a recurring theme that technology has caused, technology has made people lazy. Bobby, a seventeen-year-old male from Manhattan, New York added on by saying that back in the day manual labor was more common compared to now where people can spend the whole day indoors doing nothing but being on their electronics. Frank then continued on by stating that technology has taken jobs away from people, giving the assembly line as an example.
Once Frank's point was uttered, another theme came into the light, with all the negatives that came with technology, so did positives. Anabelle an eighteen-year-old female from Bronx, New York stated that yes technology may have taken jobs away from people, but the jobs it took away were dangerous low paying jobs. The robots created saved lives, in the best case scenario, it saved someone from having a dismembered body part. She continued to say that with technology, we can now do more and have a sense of a little bit of everything since we now have the information of the world in our hands. Frank added on by saying that perhaps since technology removed a lot of the need for people to work menial jobs, it has encouraged people to go to college in search of an education that will provide them with more job opportunities. At this point, Lesley, an eighteen-year-old female from Long Island, New York, reminded every one of life before going to college. High school was a place where technology was limited you could not have laptops or tablets without them being confiscated. The technology available in high school was low grade, nothing comparable to now in college where you are allowed to have tablets in class or rent a laptop from the school. It was agreed that the larger amount of technology offered on college campuses is the better option. By the end of the conversation, the focus group had come to a consensus that the positives and negative of technology balance each other.
Putting Things into Perspective: Discussion and Conclusion
Multiple questions have been asked, and although I cannot give a definite one hundred percent correct answer, I can give my opinion. Technology has two sides both of which balance each out but a trend that continuously is seen by the negative sides of technology is that it occurs because of the misuse of it by people. The technology was created with the idea to better humankind, to make a life for us easier. It has successfully done this but sometimes when technology is put into the wrong hands it does the exact opposite. This creates things like cyber bullying, credit card theft, identity theft, and the list can go on. It even got to the point that a new crime unit was created, the cyber crime unit because some people were just abusing technology. Most of the negative connotations that are associated with technology occur because of human error. Which leads to the question of, does this mean we as humans aren’t ready for this much technology because we will just end up abusing it? Technically no, most of us, meaning humans, have been handling the movement into a new technological era quite well. We as a people welcome it, creating apps to help us and more social networking just to stay connected. Yet, there is a percentage of people that feel the need to make something good into something bad. It does not always have to be an illegal act, sometimes people can just misuse technology because they overuse it, spending days on end stuck to a television or computer screen. The most important takeaway is if you see someone abusing technology, being abused because of technology try your best to put a stop to it as long as it does not endanger your well being. We as a society need to learn how to do our best to exterminate the negatives that technology has caused.