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Afraid of Your Smartphone? You’re in Good Company

Today, it is almost strange to see someone without a smartphone in hand, uncomfortable to be in a place where there is no WiFi, and unnerving to imagine a day without Google. Humans worldwide have become so dependent on the Internet that some don’t know what to do with themselves if they are not online. It’s how they get their everyday jobs done; how they learn, read, figure things out; how they connect with others in their daily lives. But while there are billions of people who heavily rely on the Internet as a main resource for jobs, daily tasks, and communication, there are hundreds of sub-cultures that do not wish to connect with others online. This article will explore some of those sub-cultures and the possible reasons that technology may not feature in their everyday lives.

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They Just Don’t Know
For one, some people don’t use social media networks like Facebook or Twitter, use a smartphone or computer, or even use the Internet at all simply because they don’t know how. Some people just don’t have the resources to get onto the Internet; some have never even heard of it. Have you seen the movie Avatar? Pre-industrial societies like the Navi do indeed exist in small corners of the human world, and for them, the Internet may seem like something akin to interstellar flight or cold fusion to us. But for those who have access to the Internet and or smartphones and just don’t know what they’re doing will sometimes just give up and result back to a more simpler way of dealing with social interaction, like, you know, in person.

Private People
Some people want to protect their privacy, and, let’s face it, social media networks are essentially online phone books connected to a server. Even photo-networks such as SnapChat save your ‘timed out’ photos to their server. This might freak a few people out, especially if they are trying to apply for a new job or want to hold their current position. People will protect their privacy online by using a different name or pseudonym, different pictures to represent themselves such as anime characters or pictures of trees, etc. There are also the people who choose to get rid of technology all together to protect themselves and/or family members from a previous stalking or abuse situation. However, the small font warnings about Privacy settings that come with smart phones and online social media networks don’t always attract the human eyes. It is so important to review your current privacy settings and remember to never share too much information. Example: Don’t tweet or post “I’m home alone tonight” when you’re privacy settings are set for public viewing. People get stalked this way.

The Religious and the Anarchists of Technology
People from long ago and until this day have continued to hold various religious convictions against technology. These sub-cultures find that technology will ruin a community and mankind. Modern-day transportation and gadgetry really started taking off during the Industrial Revolution. During this time, a group of British lads and ladies known as the Luddites held social stances and techno-anarchist schemes against the engineering of technology as they longed for a simpler and more pastoral life. Machines that replaced human hands and hard work left many jobless and frustrated. Those same machines were attacked and left broken in many cases by the anarchists of technology. A more calm example of people who choose religion over technology are those of The Amish cultures of today. The Amish still prefer a life more pure and precious, one without violent media and dirty rap.

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Technophobics
People are just plain scared to get involved. Really, Technophobia is a term used to express both the fear and dislike of technology. It started with the Luddites during the Industrial Revolution. The fear of technology grew even more around the world after weapons of mass destruction were created and used during World War II. It has been depicted in films like Frankenstein, Fern Gully, Skynet, The Terminator, and Demon Seed that technology is something to be scared of. Whether it is a lightning bolt that awakes a dead man, a poisonous tractor that kills forests, a half-robot half-man that kills human beings, or a computer that becomes a human – they all mean the same thing – never underestimate the power of technology. Not only in fictional films are computers, phones, machines and digital systems taking over. In reality, all of technology has taken over the world. It has replaced the gumption in humans to sit up and find a real book. It has information upon information upon lost photos and messages stored in servers and now the Cloud! Even worldwide famous band U2’s latest album became lost in a Cloud, (yes, there are multiple Clouds) and was instantly on everyone’s smartphone, for free. Do any of us really even know what the Cloud is, or how many there are? At times, I even find myself fearful of technology; what it has done to our world, the way we communicate, and a possible future online war. Technology gives me anxiety. Am I technophobic?

Anti-Time Wasters
Some people won’t use Facebook, smart phones, or the Internet at all simply because they think it’s a waste of time.  For instance, why spend your entire vacation snapping photos and uploading them to Facebook; updating Twitter about your cat and Justin Beiber; gawking at YouTube videos for two hours… the agony! Spend time enjoying REAL LIFE happening around you! I remember becoming annoyed when I’d sit down with a group of close friends to watch a movie together, and everyone was updating their statues and posts online about it. Why?! Why does it matter to Uncle Greg and Elizabeth from ninth grade what you ate today or how your dentist has bad breath? Yes, even in the exciting world of technology and the Selfie, people still really don’t care about your every day and every minute updates. Do something for someone else instead. Get offline and smell the air, pick up a leaf, paint a picture, make up a new dance. When I say ‘People’, I guess I mean ‘I’. ‘I’ don’t always believe that the Internet benefits everyone, especially when meditating on time spent well. And at the same time, if we didn’t have the Internet, it would take so much more time to personally hand write and mail your letters and notes to others. This paradigm shift (return) leads to some really interesting possibilities, and I’d love to see what other think about the communicating through the Internet, online social media networks, and smart phones: Is it more of a time-saver or a waste of time?

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Do you think you could go a day without any online communication or updates?
How about going a day without the use of any technology at all?

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Written by Rachael Bogdans

I am a recent graduate from Grand Valley State University where I studied Film/Video and Anthropology. My goal is to serve the world with communication of and about other cultures; the many different practices, alternatives to cooking and medicine, and to enlighten those who may have suffered from xenophobia.

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