It is weird to reflect upon that less than thirty years ago, in 1989, Tim Berners Lee created what mainstream society today has become highly familiar with and arguably dependent upon: the World Wide Web. Granted, I know that era came before I was even born, but when put into context of other modern technologies, this development of the World Wide Web, or Internet, was not long ago. Technology has come a long way and develops quicker than ever – think Moore’s Law. Interestingly, computer technology was relied upon even in World War II, although, was not the same type or functionality our society knows nowadays. The average computer during WW2 was a massive piece of technology and was the size of a room. With pocket-sized smartphones, smartwatches, fitness trackers, mobile tablets and laptops, it is truly amazing living in the genre of a magnificent technological era!

So why is technology important?
Well for starters I wouldn’t be able to digitally type this document out if it wasn’t for the desktop computer and monitor I am focused upon. Marvellous instances occur every single day all thanks to the power of technology: our drive to work was safe due to the signalling capabilities of traffic lights, the music I listen to on my smartphone was made possible by technology, and so forth.

Is the advancement of technology beneficial to the average consumer?
Yes, I personally believe technology positively influences our lives in so many ways. I can’t even begin to list the advantages modern computer technology contributes toward my day-to-day tasks. I wake up on time for work due to my phone alarm, I pay for my train ticket via my phone, I have the ability to call the office if I’m ever late due to my phone. A large portion of my life would not subsist without the power and capabilities a smartphone provides.

But why are many individuals against the increased rate at which technology is moving forward? 
I can’t even begin to state the number of times my mum has said to me “I didn’t have all these things when I was your age. I had to play out in the sun when I was bored” to which I always reply with “well times were different back then and it’s raining outside now anyway”. Alas, I do consider the fact my parents really did grow up without technology apart from those often times colourless, boxed television sets with a handful of channels. Even when I’m out with my friends for a drink and I see everyone attached dearly to their phones having to post that perfect selfie or well-crafted tweet, it definitely ruins the atmosphere. We are all here to talk, not be looking at a five-inch screen! And in my opinion, I can safely say that this is one of the biggest turn-offs when it comes to technology, particularly smart phones. Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat are several of the most well-known social media platforms being used with collectively over a billion active users. 

What does this mean for everyone?
Statistically, it demonstrates the ‘bigger picture’ of how many people actually use and rely on modern technology. But does a higher use of people using social media help? What about everyday social skills? It has been said that the increase in people spending more significant times with their technology, or smartphones, is causing a deterioration of interpersonal social skills.

Internet addiction disorder (IAD) is classed as a disorder where a person is prone to the substance of prolonged lengths of time spent using their devices. So already we have come across a negative effect that is occurring. Some people may point out and say, “they need to just spend less time on their phones”. Unfortunately, it’s not as simple as that and the psychological reasoning behind why someone might suffer from this addiction is a problem that is not going to be cured overnight. Rather, just like any addiction it will take time to heal and process.

One of the first studies to research IAD occurred in 1996 by Penn State University researcher Steven John Thompson. His research at the time led to him stating “Internet addiction was often the way people felt rather than what was actually transpiring clinically”. With the younger generation being brought up in an era where modern society almost obligates its youth to know how to operate a computer, it makes you kind of wonder how the world might be when your grand-children are growing up. Will IAD be the norm for everyone then in the future? Or will technology be something to fade away into the past?