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The world has found itself in a narrow tunnel which has been filled up by chaos and technological clutter. People have integrated technology in their lives to the extent of forgetting their first regular life matters. As technological advances exist, people often think that it is all good and fair. They say that technology has made their life easier by taking charge of various responsibilities that seem bothersome. However, the truth is, technology has become an obsession mostly in America, (Rosen n.p). Worse is that people have depended on the innovations that seem to be a world changer. They think technology makes them superior over nature and psychological issues. The key question remains; has technology made people's lives easier? Is the world a better place now? Although the use of technology has brought tremendous changes in the society, I argue that technology has brought both social and psychological effects because people have increased their dependability and obsession while some has personified technology.
In The Veldt, a short story written by Ray Bradbury, technological obsession seems to have taken effect for the better part of the story, (Reid n.p). It has offered a Happylife Home to George, his wife, Lydia and the children Wendy and Peter. This home is mechanically automated to function as human including that of imagination. The intended use of this Happylife home was for children to share their thoughts which would help psychologists in determining their results towards their clients. However, George used this mechanization and changed his family's life to that of machine dependency. The device helps them in the bath, shoe shining and tying of races, serving food to taking them to their beds when they want to sleep.
Later, the automated nursery created in that particular home brings the technological obsession to George and his family. They feel bad and even behave in a strange way when they hear that their father wants to shut it off for good. That obsession to the nursery graphics made the children lack the physical parental attachment which results in the development of arguments between the George and his children. Lydia at one time got taken to a virtual tour in Africa through the nursery. She sees lions and becomes paranoid which makes her ran away when she sees as if the Lions want to come and attack them. The lion's imagination in the mechanized nursery shows the children thoughts and has also created a psychological problem to the children according to the psychologist character, David McClean. McClean explains to George that he has built his life around the comforts of dangerous creatures such as the lions. George is forced to switch off the nursery, but to his amazement, his children become chaotic and cry as they want the nursery not to be closed at all.
Most people in America have been on the verge of technology obsession from the usage mobile phones to the internet. They young generation has been the worst lot hit by this epidemic. Technology has become a world disease, and people can feel its effects though we keep being obsessed with it. The rise of social network sites such as Facebook, Twitter, and MySpace among others has brought socialization on the virtual basis as people can communicate anywhere anytime. The significance of technology is making things easier; however, its obsession has produced effects to the normal living and socialization, (Warschauer n.p). Focus on the things that matter like education has been altered due to technology. People are becoming lazy and cannot focus on their healthy lives without the help of a machine. Teens are becoming obsessive with the game videos until some lose their concentration in school. The working class people have to use technology to promote their business and ran their services to increase their business volume. However, some of them tend to lose their common life focus such as taking care of their children, doing home chores as well as involving in the community-based programs. A parent would be comfortable leaving their children in the living room watching un-educative videos instead of refocusing them towards developing their curricular and co-curriculum activities. Acquiring education has become easier in this new era of technical advancement. Moreover, students get their reading materials from multiple sources online which have promoted easier access to information. However, many students have become obsessed to the use of the internet in doing their assignments leading them to plagiarism crimes which result in them losing their grades while some lose their degrees.
Bradbury has brought light to the Americans on how technology can ruin people's lives and force them to lose focus on their natural abilities. He portrays the struggle between humans and technology. In America, when the parent wants to dismiss their responsibilities towards their children, they leave that role to a machine. Whoever has the mandate to control that particular device holds power. In The Veldt, the story demonstrates a two-sided story: the dehumanization of children and the ‘death' of parents. Man's adoption on the usage of technology obsessively is an awful thing. Things would have the same consequences like on Bradbury's, The Veldt if people keep technology involved with their daily lives. The story focuses on children's behavioral change due to high usage of technology. The parents got in when it was too late as Wendy and Peter were already drawn into the use of the Happylife Home in doing all their roles. Peter says to his father, "I don't want to do anything but look and listen and smell; what else is there to do," (Bradbury n.p).
Statistics has it that about 50% of people in the U.S prefers to communicate digitally instead of personal engagement. The average website user is said to have around 40 site checks daily with an average of closing and switching programs 37 times hourly. Around 61% of Americans admit their addiction to the internet. The number of texts sent monthly by the average American stands at 400 texts which are four times that of 2007 while an average teen sends around 3700 texts monthly which is double that of 2007. These statistics shows how an average American uses technology and not mentioning the use of helping machines like washing machines, lawn mowers, and vehicles. 88% of the parents who are under 40 with children regularly use the internet, (Mitzner 1719). Such rates are very high and show that the world has fully changed into machine obsession life, and the society is in chaos. Technology makes people depressed, lonely and even addicted to it according to the above data. The rate of technology usage in the 21st century has risen rapidly as innovation keeps popping out daily. People have been diagnosed with Internet Use Disorder which has emerged to be the world's first technological epidemic.
Technology has also made kids rude and ungrateful. In The Veldt, Peter, George's son, talks rudely to his father when he threatens to close the nursery. Both children, Peter and Wendy, are very upset with their father creating a parent-child conflict issue in the narrative. Later on, the kids end up throwing a fight killing their parents. In real American life, children are often found having conflicts with their parents over a video game, phone usage and keeps complaining also forgetting to focus on their jobs. The author has satirized these phenomena giving a plausible insight into what the world has turned into.
Technology has ushered in a double-edged sword analysis. It has proved to appear both useful and harmful. Depending on how people use technology, the outcomes might be negative or positive. Bradbury has given his insights on how technology obsession can become dangerous to those obsessed with it. It is a severe epidemic which has deep-rooted itself in the faces of many people who might have knowledge or none on its effects. The Veldt is an eye opener to the tech-addicts who has left their normal life thinking that technology has saved them from being tired and busy. In fact, people are tired, and technology keeps them busy more than ever. Physical, social life will become extinct soon. American's needs to develop policies and measures over technology availability and usage. Bradbury has played his part, have you done yours?
Bradbury, Ray. The veldt. Dramatic Publishing, 1972.
Reid, Robin Anne. Ray Bradbury: a critical companion. Greenwood Publishing Group, 2000.
Rosen, Larry D. iDisorder: Understanding our obsession with technology and overcoming its hold on us. Macmillan, 2012.
Warschauer, Mark. Technology and social inclusion: Rethinking the digital divide. MIT press, 2004.
Mitzner, Tracy L., et al. "Older adults talk technology: Technology usage and attitudes." Computers in human behavior 26.6 (2010): 1710-1721.
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