By Shelby Tiffany
I wake up at 6:41 every morning and the first thing I do is check my phone. I know at this point I sound like a cliché teenager, but I actually check my phone to make sure I am not still dreaming. Once I start to get moving, I make sure my boyfriend, Brandon, is awake, because he is my ride to school. The next thing I will usually do is make sure my laptop is ready for the day. I have several classes that require me to use my laptop, so it is extremely important that my laptop is charged. Then, when I am done getting ready for school, I wait for Brandon to pick me up. I get bored quickly and check my Facebook and Instagram while I wait.
Even though my morning is filled with digital activity, I still would not consider myself to be addicted. Addiction would be saying I only get on the Internet to feel good about myself, and to "keep track of how much people like [me]," Andy Borowitz said. I get on the internet to do my school work and to keep in touch with friends and that is about it.
I make my way through clumps of tired and cranky students only to arrive at my first period class, Fashion Merchandising. Someone, somewhere, decided it would be a good idea to shut down personal computer drives and have everyone switch to Office 365, the SkyDrive, to save school work. Do not get me wrong, the switch was a great idea. Well, except for the fact that the program is constantly crashing on me. The program has its positive side though, I am able to be in contact with all of my teachers in less than a second. This is nice because on days when I am out sick, but have a lot of homework due, I can sill turn it in, and still get a good grade. As much as I do not like Office 365, it has really made my life easier.
Second period takes me to Introduction to Communications, where I am exposed to several different types of broadcasting equipment. Without broadcasting software and equipment, the students would have virtually no way of getting information. In a school as big as Avon, word of mouth usually gets mixed up quickly, like a bad game of telephone. Avon High School needs the Early Bird and all of its technology in order to deliver truthful information quickly.
At 12:28, I arrive at yet another class that requires me to use technology, Photography II. My grade depends on how well I demonstrate not only my camera skills, but my ability to edit photos as well. I use Adobe Photoshop the whole 70 minute class period. Besides a couple side comments from students here and there, the class is dead silent. Students stare at their computer screens as if there life depends on it. Personally, I took the class because I cannot draw with a pen and paper. The computer allows me to explore my creativity without needing to get messy. Without programs like Photoshop, I could not create what I have come to call art.
Finally, I make it to my last class of the day, Yearbook, which also happens to be my favorite class of the day. In order to produce a 232 page book, my staff and I must use an online program called eDesign. For the next 70 minutes, my staff uploads photos, designs spreads, and writes captions and stories. Without eDesign, the yearbook would be produced through paper, a lot of glue, and snail mail. That method is not only slow, but it requires a lot of dependence on other people. The most important photo could fall off in the mail and never make it in the yearbook. Through eDesign, we are connected with the printing plant in Kansas, which can let us know immediately if something goes wrong. Technology in the yearbook world makes things so much more efficient.
I will admit, as soon as the bell rings at 2:54, I check my phone. Not because I am addicted, but because I need to see if my mom or boss texted. On the ride home from school, I will usually check Facebook, Twitter, and my Instagram, just to what has been going on the world while I was at school.
"One of the early flags for addiction [is] spending more than 38 hours a week online," Tony Dokoupil said.
Just because I spend a lot of time on the internet does not mean I am addicted to it. I also spend a lot of time doing homework, yet not a single person will call me addicted to homework because it benefits me. Well, social media websites benefit me as well. Because of Facebook, I am able to stay in contact with friends from old schools, friends that have moved away, and family members that live far away. By keeping these connections, I am becoming a more well-rounded person, thus benefiting me.
My best friend Hiedi usually texts me around four o'clock everyday. We typically have conversations that continue on until one of us falls asleep. Many older adults would say texting that long is horrible for my health and I should get out and do something productive with my day. The ugly truth is, with text messages, I am able to still be productive while talking to someone. Back in the 80s and 90s, teenage girls would sit and talk on their landline phones for hours on end. Phones with cords did not allow much movement, thus no productivity from those teenagers.
In addition, through texting, I do not have to answer back immediately; I can wait three or four hours to text Hiedi back and it will not effect her at all. Text messaging also allows me to quickly message all of my staff and know that all 18 people got the message. With a landline phone, there was absolutely no certainty. Calling a person did not ensure they were home and leaving a voicemail did not ensure they would listen to it. My staff will check their phones one time or another in the day, letting me worry about other things. Yes, some teenagers do go overboard in texting, and will ignore their great-grandmother on her dying bed to look at a funny cat photo a friend had sent. But I said some teenagers, most are level-headed, they just have not been giving a chance to prove their worth.
I know I have done a lot of preaching in my paragraphs about how technology helps rather than harms, but when it comes to Netflix I have no excuse. My dad got a subscription to Netflix about three years ago. The company began adding TV shows to their database, and that is when I really go into it. Most recently, I have been watching Breaking Bad, because I heard it was a good show. I do not really have a definite reason for watching shows like Breaking Bad besides the fact that someone came up with a great storyline, and I believe their creativity deserves to be seen or heard.
I do not really see a downside to watching a couple hours of Netflix once a night, as long as I do not get too carried away with what is going on in the show or movie. I think that is what happens to some people, they get to caught up and lose sight of reality. No one can be mad at these people though, because there is not really a course to take on how not to become obsessed with a movie or video game. It is not fair to assume everyone will lose their mind from watching a television show though.
At the end of the day, Brandon always calls me and we talk for a little bit about our day and other random things. Perhaps it is not the most productive way to spend my time, but it is something I enjoy doing. Without phone calls, Brandon and I probably would not be as close as we are, because we would not talk as much. I am not saying we only talk through the phone, I am saying, we both have extremely busy lives and without the phone, we probably would not even know each other. My cell phone allows me to have this connection with Brandon.
In conclusion, a majority of the time I spend with technology is because of school. Our society is gradually moving towards more technology, simply because it makes life so much easier. There will always be people opposed to newer technologies, but that is just a part of life.