Last Tuesday, I went out for my afternoon walk with George with a plan to really enjoy what could be the last sunny day of the year. Unfortunately, 5 minutes into it I realised I’d left my mobile phone at home and the mood was ruined.
I could not help feeling uneasy. Bad and worrying thoughts started going through my mind against my will and I could not brush them off. Why had I not checked my pockets before I left? What if we bump into that vicious Husky that attacked George last year? What if George gets scared and runs away? What if he breaks his leg or I slip and twist my ankle? How am I then going to contact my family and ask for help?
I felt exposed. I also felt really upset and disappointed with myself for feeling this way and thinking all those horrible thoughts. As a sane, reasonably intelligent person (which I’d like to think I am), I was completely aware that it was all silly. It was just another normal walk on a beautiful mid-autumn day. Nothing was different and nothing was going to change just because I’d left my phone at home. I don’t even answer my phone when I’m out with George anyway. It’s only there, in my pocket, in case I need it.
So, then, why this feeling? I tried to work it out in my head. I didn’t even have a mobile phone until about 10 years ago, and neither most of the people I know. We all coped OK without being ‘connected’ every second of our life. My mum trusted me to go out by myself and come back for dinner without worrying too much, but my husband and I got Brianna a phone for her 8th birthday. How much has the world changed in 10 years?
Technology has taken over pretty much every aspect of human life and we cannot live without it. We’ve been conditioned to use it and think we need it in order to survive. We can’t take one step out of the comfort of our homes without a phone or GPS device on us. This way, we can call whenever we want and will never get lost. Which is a sweet thought, but I’ve met too many people who can no longer read a map or find their way around without such a device in their pocket or stuck to their windscreen. And what about the spirit of adventure? The thought that we could get lost during a hike used to excite my friends and I when we were younger.
Whilst I’ve been resistant to the whole GPS craze and can still read a map, I have succumbed to the mobile phone. Because I hardly ever use it, I hadn’t even realised how much I’ve come to depend on it until I accidentally left it at home. I’m not entirely happy about it, but I’m not going to fight it either. I like the feeling of knowing that I can contact another human ‘if anything happens’.
Having analysed my own behaviour and the behaviour of other people I know, I am amazed how, although we know we can be tracked wherever we are and our personal freedom is a concept of the past, we’re happy to embrace technology because it makes us feel safe. I’m pretty sure that I’m not the only one who feels this way. This is a global issue. And I’ve got to ask: How do you feel about technology? Are you dependent on it? If so, to what extent?