Computers, cell phones, iPods and cameras. What do all these gadgets have in common? For starters, society would be lost without the aid of all these modern inventions that have become a part of our culture. They are means of communication as well as sources of information and entertainment. However, the over-arching theme between these gadgets is not necessarily our dependence upon them, but their ability to threaten the safety of our daily lives.
Despite the necessity of technology in our modern society, many flaws in them have the potential to lead to dangerous situations involving lack of privacy. Such a situation has recently arrived regarding a company’s security cameras for homes and businesses. This company, Trendnet, provides security cameras for countries all over the world. A coding error in Trendnet’s security cameras has been discovered which allows others on the Internet to access one’s camera with the camera’s IP address and possibly determine the location of the camera user, all without a password. Currently, Trendnet is informing its customers of the coding error via email and stopping shipments of potentially damaged security cameras, but Trendnet has yet to issue a formal statement concerning the error in the cameras. This poses a risk for the 50,000 Trendnet security camera owners in the UK, where affected units were sold, whose privacy has been violated and exposed to Internet users around the globe since April of 2010. The purposes of security cameras are obvious: to protect one’s home and one’s loved ones. Yet, with the possibility of such flaws violating one’s personal life, even ‘helpful’ technology can be detrimental to society.
Not only does our privacy have the potential of being transgressed, but the aid of technological gadgets may have a drawback on everyday life skills, such as navigation. Without the aid of gadgets like GPS, global positioning systems, or a map application on their smartphone, most individuals would be unable to navigate the streets. Most wonder why navigation would be a necessary skill to learn when technology is available all around us. However, it is important to consider how necessary it was to learn how to navigate oneself several years before these inventions were introduced; after all, simple navigation skills can save lives.
Junior Mia Pitsironis explains, “GPS has many problems: sometimes it takes you through longer routes, it doesn’t work, it dies, and you don’t know the exact address of where you want to go. You can’t just rely on GPS, something I have seen based on my experiences as a new driver. GPS can’t read road signs for me- but I can.”
Also, technology, including cell phones and iPods, has begun to take its toll on students in school, specifically on the psychological health of many individuals. With a source of hours of entertainment in our hands, these gadgets lead to many cases of social isolation and solitary confinement by the will of the individual. As an example, popular social networking sites including Facebook and Twitter may allow one to believe that one is in contact with real people and connected to the world. Nevertheless, the truth remains that some of the 138.9 million users of Facebook alone in America who spend a total of approximately 53 billion minutes per month on the site, as provided by multiple online sources, are isolated and deprived of real contact and socialization with others around them. Lizbi Bosua, a sophomore at Hills West, disagreed, “I like that there is free [long- distance] communication and [that Facebook has the] ability to inform me about recent events.” Not only could these social networking sites affect the emotional health of an individual and his or her academic potential, but also the constant use of communication via computers or cell phones could affect one’s “people” skills, or ability to socialize with others in person. Are these effects truly worth the few wasted hours of poor entertainment?
There are those out there who do resist the temptation to join Facebook, citing reasons such as Facebook being a distraction and a danger zone. Without taking safety precautions on Facebook, each user is posting his or her personal information on the Internet, which could be seen by whomever views that specific user’s profile, including college admissions boards. Mrs. Goldin, a guidance counselor at High School West, says, “[Admission boards look for] a balance between academics and character.” With the help of Facebook, any public account is open for colleges to discover one’s true character and whether the student belongs at a specific college or not. Nonetheless, the potential effects of Facebook is not only limited to students; many cases have been reported of employees being fired from their professions due to inappropriate content on their profile, such as misconduct or inapt handling of drugs and alcohol. An additional result of the widespread use social networking sites is the concern of “creepers” or “trolls,” individuals who are known to harass others by posting irritating or pugnacious comments on other user’s account. This behavior, although seen widely across the Internet, can serve as form of cyber bullying in extreme cases by causing disputes to antagonize users.
Finally, the Internet is not only exists as a collection of resources, but also as a source of many varying opinions and beliefs with the potential to influence anyone who views it. Mr. Bowen, an English teacher at Hills West, stated, “[Students] do not formulate personal opinions without the help of the Internet.” The frightening fact remains that students are unable to solely rely on themselves to make decisions. What is posted on the Internet may be seen as ‘cool’ and students may feel inclined to copy what they see on the Internet. This not only impacts the ability of students to originate innovative and novel ideas, but the varying degrees of negative influences on the Internet may persuade many teenagers to make imprudent decisions. The popularity of Internet blogs has already manipulated teenagers into feeling insecure about themselves, therefore resulting in an increasing amount of acts of self-harm and eating disorders. These negative influences have taken a major toll upon society’s youth and continues to influence individuals to act rashly.
Although our society depends almost entirely upon technology gadgets, each good thing comes with its drawbacks. Society has become reliant on the Internet, but the fact remains that the Internet is a major source of distress among individuals, either from the consequences of irresponsible decisions or due to the concerns pertaining to a lack of privacy. Regardless of one’s security measures, the Internet remains prone to individuals whose sole determination is to harass and irritate others. As a result of increasing dependence upon technology, we are more susceptible to risking our safety and confidential information to our employers, college admission boards, strangers, and those simply seeking to antagonize.