Technology: Is your behavior being affected?

“All human beings have three lives: public, private, and secret.” ― Gabriel García Márquez, Gabriel García Márquez: a Life
We are sacrificing our privacy everyday. Possibly, the best place to start is by defining privacy. Merriam-Webster partly defines privacy as the following: “the quality or state of being apart from company or observation”. People  today would probably agree the part of privacy we must be concerned with today is observation. Think about the number of times in 2018 that you hit the “agree” button on a EULA (End User License Agreement), this is the page that appears as you are loading in software or apps, the one that you cannot install the software unless you agree.  Have you read a EULA in the past year? You would need a law degree from Harvard to have a remote chance of understanding this license. You are signing an agreement, you are agreeing to terms you might not understand. You are agreeing to things that will affect your privacy. I consistently tell my kids the following “With everything that is given, something is lost. It is alright to sacrifice things to obtain other things, the problem lies with giving away something you didn’t know about”. Are we sacrificing our privacy and well being on the alter of convenience? Is technology adversely affecting our behavior? I hope to answer this and other relevant questions in this blog post. 
      The digital world is a pseudo existence where some people spend a great deal of time. It allows you to be popular or anonymous if you should desire. Everything from false identities to making claims that would be challenged by anyone that knows you personally. This creates, in some the desire for altered reality, a place that previously could only exist in their imagination. What is the harm with a little fantasy here or there? The problem can surface when we intersect with the real world and must deal with people face to face. Living in a gaming world, a world of social media, is understandable for short periods of time. As I write this piece, it could be read by almost anyone, to include people that have no idea about me. Any of the afore mentioned things are not inherently bad; caution must be taken to ensure we spend equal amounts of time with real people, one’s that will hold us accountable for our actions. 
      We are all creatures of habit. I have watched my wife wash her face at night before bed for many years. I have never actually counted but I am sure she splashes her face with water the same number of times each night. Think about some of your habits and routines, (i.e. getting ready for work, going to bed) you can see we are people of repetition. The new apps being used on our cell phones are tracking more of your actions everyday. This data from your devices tells the developers when, where and how often you repeat your routine. This might not be detrimental, but what if I told you the person tracking you is a 19 year old male from San Francisco? What if I told you he also has a restraining order the was swore out against him last year? These statements are of course hypothetical but hopefully, my point is obvious, we don’t know the people collecting our information. Could future software contain algorithms that try to minutely influence when we do something? You need to look at your electronic devices closer, you have given up more information than you can imagine. One last point before we move on. I often tell people the risk with such software is the following: It remembers details long after you have forgotten them. Let that stew for a few minutes. A device that never forgets anything about your life.  If you don’t remember what companies and apps you have given access to your personal information, it might be time to tidy up your digital world. 
      Finally, let’s talk about time. Time is the one thing that cannot be carried over, borrowed or redeemed once it has been used. If you live to be 90 years old, you will experience 4,680 weeks. This sounds like a really long time, but realize every Christmas another 52 weeks is deducted from that total. This number is a great old age, many of us will not live to see the age of 90. I am not trying to depress you but to help you realize, there is an amazing life happening if you look up occasionally from your digital devices. Anything that distracts us from an amazing life is controlling us to some extent. In the past 2 years we have seen a resurgence in sales for paper journals and day planners. This is not an anomaly, but a trend to reengage with the real world. We have all witnessed and maybe experienced people eating dinner together with phones in their hands. No conversation, each person engrossed in their own digital world. I watch people taking selfies with celebrities, political figures even the Pope. They do not take time to engage with the person, they try to capture it on a digital device, and in turn miss the great event. If you are looking at your phone every 5 minutes, your life is being controlled by the device. If you look at it more often you are obsessive and need to rethink this habit. Our devices should complement our lives, not hijack them. 
      Technology is a wonderful thing. I can sit in my living room and talk with someone face to face on the other side of the world for free. Maybe sometime in the future, I should get a card and write them a note in my own handwriting. I hope this blog post has raised some awareness of the danger in letting our digital world control too much of our time. Privacy is a wonderful thing, and something we all need, just be careful not to give away what privacy you have left. Finally, be present with those you love. If you go to dinner, turn off your cell phone, don’t silence it, turn it off. Take control of your life and how you spend your time. In the end, this is the only life you have to live, make every moment count. 


Author: duanew2

I am a retired Marine that believes in the power of conversation and learning. I hope this site allows all of us to do both.

One thought on “Technology: Is your behavior being affected?”

  1. Great subject, I feel like this is a very real fear, I keep my data turned off on my phone along with the location. At least I make my phone tell me it is off but who really knows. I have an email account and a linkedIn account, because there are things I need to do that the world will not allow without these things. There are people I know that will come into the room stay awhile and then leave the room and never say anything, but they were on their phone the whole time. I know every time I go on-line there just happens to be an add about something I am interested in, just because I looked at it yesterday. I cannot imagine what would happen if I had an Alexa listening 24/7.

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