New technologies are just tools

Last Thursday, my calendar saying was true—and at the same time untrue.
“I welcome new technologies. My mind is capable of easily learning new skills.”
As far as being capable of easily learning new skills–that statement is true. All I have to do is put my mind to it.
And there was a time when I welcomed new technologies. But that was 30 years ago.
In the early 1980s, I was eager to get the new technologies as soon as possible. I had a bulky car phone long before cellphones became available.
I bought an early computer with a floppy disk and no internal memory. And I had e-mail before there was anyone to e-mail.
Over the years, I learned to use a database, designed my own website, did early desktop publishing, and put my accounts in Quicken.
But when I bought my second computer two years after the first, I learned the true cost of computers. The trade-in value of my $3,000 computer was now $25 and my second computer cost $2,000.
Fortunately for my peace of mind, I’ve never totalled how many thousands of dollars I have spent on computer hardware and software. And I have no idea how many computers I’ve bought in the past 30 years.
But some years ago, I said, “Enough is enough!”
My current computer is five years old and it does what I want it to do. My black-and-white laser printer must be at least 10 or 12 years old, but it still puts out excellent copies.
I have an old-fashioned cellphone–no texting, no Internet connection. And we depend on our landline.
While pondering this issue, I wondered what other people were thinking, so I typed a question into the Internet: “What is BAD about new technologies?” And got 244 million results.
But that was nothing compared to the 998 million results that came up for “What is GOOD about new technologies?”
Clearly, technology is a fabulous tool for getting work done and communicating. But it is, after all, just a tool. And we need to be aware of when technology begins taking a non-productive and possibly harmful role in our lives.
Here are a few examples of technology gone wrong:
•Motivating people to spend money they don’t have, or worse
A recent Huffington Post headline was “To kill for.” This shocking article talked about the rash of killings to obtain smartphones.
•There is little privacy left
A few years go, for instance, my credit card was violated twice in two months. Later, I read that my credit card company had been hacked and thousands of numbers stolen.
•Technology can serve as a barrier between people
Notice in the grocery store how many people are talking on their phones while carelessly steering their carts, unaware of the people around them.
Face-to-face contact is endangered.
Technology is useful and amazing. But, on the other hand, we have to use it responsibly and no one can decide what is right for anyone else.
The next time you’re confronted by the latest tool, remember it’s just that–a tool. If it won’t make your life better, you don’t need it!
Write Marie Snider at