We live in a world where technology is a given; a normality; something we use everyday and couldn’t function without but somehow still manage to take it for granted.
We are a generation who have never been given the opportunity to fathom a world without it. And consequently hold no knowledge in what it might be like to await a reply that doesn’t arrive in the timeframe of less than a minute.
We base the entirety of our lives on the wireless, the hands free and the two-touch accomplishments that technology provides. And oh boy watch us tantrum like three-year-olds, when it goes down.
I’ll be the first to admit that I spend too much time on my phone.
From the age of fifteen my parents readily made the joke that my phone must have been surgically attached. I detested the joke at the time, but looking back now, they might have had a slightly valid point. The thing could have made a Motorola-shaped indent in my hand with the amount of time it spend there.
Of course, I’m not nearly that bad anymore (once the boyfriend of two months becomes the boyfriend of almost seven years – you tend to feel the need to text each other a little less). But still to this day my phone never quite makes it further away from me than the next room at the best of times.
Maybe I’ll blame it on my generation, or perhaps even sustaining a severe case of FOMO (‘Fear Of Missing Out’ – Google it, it’s a thing apparently?)… Either way, I haven’t quite avoided establishing an addiction to technology in my short life.
I’m not alone in my technological addiction however. There are many others in this world who have lost the ability to make it through one day without feeding the habit – and well I guess it’s almost unavoidable in this day and age.
For me, my technological addiction stems from my phone. Hello, my name is d and I’m addicted to my iPhone 5.
It’s not that I can’t spend a day without it necessarily, because I know I can. It’s just that it’s become an acomplice to life for me.
Something that I rely on to remind me of when bills are due, or what my work roster is for the next two months. Somewhere to store my 10828296 passwords I’ve created over the years, and my many to-do lists. It keeps track of my steps each day and reminds me constantly to eat less sugar (annoying yes, but necessary). I can access my bank account in a second, and I know exactly how much data I have left for the month on my phone bill. I make plans and budgets, and I know just how the weather is going to turn out each day by simply ‘swiping down’.
The entirety of my life compiled onto a device that is undoubtedly the most unstable facet of my life itself. And that is the problem. Technology is fantastic until it does the whole ‘I’m going to spontaneously combust’ thing.
Two weeks ago I gave into the constant reminders and the little red number one icon on the corner of my settings square, and updated my phone to the new iOS9 update. Bad idea.
It took approximately 20 minutes to render my iPhone unusable, frozen on a white screen that simply refused to finish the update.
I mean this thing was difiant. I tried resetting, and it still managed to bring me back to the white screen of pain. I even tried calling my own number from another phone, which momentarily broke the white screens defences but ultimately I lost the battle. You’d think a hard reset would help, but nope, it’s a white screen domination yet again.
I spent almost 3 hours on the phone to Apple, which resulted in the end solution as being (and I quote), ‘Sorry, it’s shit – but there’s nothing we can do’.
Eventually, the combination of a hard reset to factory settings and setting it up as a brand new phone conquered the white screen. But left me staring at a phone which sure, had maybe more rounded font but seriously what other improvements was I looking out for? Why not go through personal torture on a week night to come out the other side with a phone which had literally wiped my entire encyclopaedia for my life, but at least now has a text prediction bar right?
Safe to say, I was not a happy camper. In fact, I’m probably still stewing over it.
But what surprised me more than anything, was my reaction. I literally became like a small child who was told no in the chocolate aisle of the supermarket. I don’t know where it came from, but there were tears and even a small amount of hysterics.
I couldn’t understand how I could feel so upset over a phone. You would have thought by taking one look at me that something terrible had happened.
The reality was, I was so reliant on my phone to be the Robin to my Batman that I simply failed to cope without my sidekick. I felt an actual grievance for the data I had lost. I didn’t know that was even possible?
The worst part though in my opinion, wasn’t the time spent trying to defeat the White screen. Or even losing everything off it without being able to back up things like photos or contacts.
The worst part by far are the tiny little aftershocks you get for days after when you slowly start to realise the severity of what’s been deleted from your phone.
Some of the aftershocks aren’t too bad, like trying to Shazam a song playing on the radio, but realising you haven’t got that app anymore and then rapidly trying to download it before the song ends in T minus 30 seconds. Or going to find a picture to show a friend and realising it’s not there, or anywhere for that matter, just a little lost moment in time.
The worst aftershock for me however, came to my realisation the night after the update. Stored in my phone prior to iOS9 were the texts I’d received from my friend who passed away almost a year ago. I’d treasured them and kept them safe knowing they were the last piece of her I had left in this world. They, along with everything else, had been deleted. They were simply just gone.
I remember feeling such a huge pain rip through the middle of my chest when I realised I had lost them. The last tangible piece that I had of her had been wiped as if it never existed in the first place. Her words that were just for me were gone, and I couldn’t get them back.
I felt completely shattered, it was almost as if I had lost her all over again and I couldn’t bare it. I just lay in bed crying until the phantom ache in my heart lessened enough to sleep.
Naturally, I’ve thought a lot about this whole ordeal since that night. I’ve thought about our dependence on a very undependable aspect of the twenty first century and wondered how we are supposed to draw the line between addiction and necessity when it comes to technology.
And I guess I’ve come to this conclusion. Technology isn’t the villain, but rather how we rely on it is.
Albert Einstien once elaborated that he feared the day that technology would surpass human interaction. And there is a very real chance this day has already been realised.
I know that people have developed campaigns against mobile phone use in public such as ‘Look Up’ or published social etiquette games involving the first one at a dinner party to pick up their phone to be the one to buy the table a round of drinks. But I really don’t think this is something our generation knows how to acknowledge just yet, or maybe ever will.
As technology grows and becomes more integral in our lifestyles, we are quickly losing the ability to turn this reliance situation around. And I really don’t know what lies ahead for the big world of technology, but I’m sure it’s not going backwards from here.
So maybe we just need to find acceptance in the fact that if its not written on paper, or cemented In stone – there will always be the chance that one day it might cease to exist. So just be prepared for the spontaneous combustion thing that technology is so professional at.
In other news: there’s a new update – iOS9.02. Hard pass.