Teenagers today don’t comprehend the nuisance of shutting down technology. How bad it feels to hold down the off button without waiting for “It’s now safe to turn off your computer”. Growing up in the 90’s, I managed to hang outside, feed my Tamagotchi, play Nintendo and create sea monkeys. Young millennials grew besides tech; we harnessed gadgets while maintaining freedom. We’re the last generation to not have our lives digitally absorbed. Is technology ruining society?
90’s tech vs. now
I have vivid memories of ringing my mum from a pay phone and praying she answered to arrange driving me home. I remember my dad’s £30 credit vanishing after my hour call to another mobile number. Text limits meant most teenagers found solace on MSN messenger. Though I was seven in 1999, I understand the implications of digital consumption. I’ve seen and felt the change young people experienced because of 90’s tech boom.
Especially with Disney. Am I the only person to not think the world of Toy Story? My friend and I discussed yesterday our love of 90’s animation. Before CGI, when animators drew their creations. Toy Story became the first entirely computer animated, Pixar film. 2017’s live-action Beauty and the Beast does nothing for me. The original cartoon Beast looks more realistic than the strange-looking edit the film produced.
Despite Nintendo and Play Station obsession, getting hooked to tech wasn’t an easy task. The 90’s slow-moving, basic capability meant bike-rides and outdoor leisure overtook indoor sofa living. When I turned 11 however in 2003, Sims and MSN addiction flourished. Me and my sister requested Sim expansion packs ahead of new clothes. Each year in school, mobile phones advanced. No one cared about the quality of their phone’s camera, it meant something just to have one. People began to focus on photography after Myspace, Bebo and Facebook arrived.
Technology ruining society – lost freedom
Millennials tend to affectionately romanticise the 90’s; adoringly admire the trends and shows. How innocent and fun yesteryears always seem. It’s easy to forget the annoyance of waiting a week to receive Kodak photos; the frustration of not knowing when to press play on a VHS. Not to mention, the lack of internet and Google Maps. I can’t imagine walking round with a book map to reach a destination. The New York Times published an informative piece on life during the 1990s.
With that said, it’s difficult to dispute the freedom technology has robbed. Unable to sleep, I found myself at 1am watching The Story of Diana. One person commented how life’s “no longer fun and free”; dressing how you like. The impact of technology ruining society showcases when you summarise social media stress. We use to buy clothes to wear throughout a season, now we want garments for free to wear on one occasion. In February I shared a post on Social Media Pressure to Look Stylish.
The silliest things get notarised. We can’t step away from celebrity culture and gossip. “Cookies” munch at our privacy and corporations keep track of our spending habits. It doesn’t matter whether you’re okay to oblige, if you’re caught in drama happening, people will film and upload online. The dark web deepens criminal activity and “keyboard warriors” recklessly release digital threats causing home bullying. What’s more, we’re glued and clutched to our phones. Many can’t sit or sleep away from their devices. We have to always feel present – you can’t dine, gym or shop without followers knowing.
On a grand scale, technology ruining society – a search term popular on Google, isn’t a fair statement. Connecting with others across the globe and having a platform to lift my voice – that’s something I don’t take for granted. As a blogger and writer whose benefitted from digital publications, I appreciate the career opportunities tech has placed before me. I love how my phone soothes anxiety in public – though probably not healthy. I adore photography and although film quality outweighs digital, it’s nice to instantly snap moments. The internet educates and entertains. Creative minds on Ted Talks and YouTube videos; how much more we know.
I believe too much of a good thing is always bad. The problem with technology lies in our consumption. Mental health still lags behind physical, and who truly knows the damage we’re doing by relying on tech for almost everything. When will it end? Companies keep telling us to update – to demand more and more. How much more is good? I’ll forever possess 90’s nostalgia – artistic music videos and MTV awards people actually watched. Maybe we have to accept the side-effects and stick to YouTube for flashbacks.
Is technology ruining society in your eyes? What gadgets do think pointless?