Saturday, June 25, 2011

On Electronics and Our Mental Horizons

Here are the results of my one-month survey. After seeking out 50 people chosen completely at random, some of my conclusions for several questions (one of them being: Do electronics decrease or increase the quality of our lives) are indeed, rather obvious.

The overwhelming majority of people who use electronics for 5 or more hours a day rated their lives lower than those who use electronics much more rationally as to use it only four hours a day. Though I did find a link between the hours spent on electronics and religion, it was not significant in the sense of what religion you had, but how deeply it was implanted in your life. Because the overwhelming majority of my 'volunteers' were Mormon, I may not be able to provide exact information on the link between religion and the amount of time spent on electronics. However so, still studying Catholics and Protestants, I had seen that if the Christian religion, especially the Mormon religion, was a greater part of the volunteer's life, usually, the smaller the number of hours. I do not fully understand the link, but I speculate that this is due to the volunteer's life being more thought out, per se, and therefore being more focused on other things rather than electronics. I also found that most of the people who were more deeply involved in religious activity, played less violent and more educational games and did more constructive things with their time than those who were less deeply involved in religion. Obviously, due to the mindset proposed upon the volunteer's mind.

However, those not as deeply involved in religious activity, were not necessarily less intact of themselves, just usually, more potent to change through the social environment around them. Meaning that their opinions could be more easily swayed by peers, teachers, and parents. Another thing I found is that the results were the same with people of philosophical activity in the place of religious activity.

Now, here are the approximate percentages (I could not forge exact ones due to the complexity and emotional difficulties of the task): A large percentage of about 65-75% of people said that they spent 5 or more hours using electronics and of course, Facebook. The other 25-35% of people said that they did not use electronics for more than 4 hours and most all of them said, more than 3. The average 'rating' of overall life quality for those who used electronics for 5 or more hours a day, was 7.5 in a scale of 1-10. Now, the average rating for those who used electronics for less than 5 hours a day was an incredible 9.5. That's an incredible jump of 27%. I still have other questions I wanted resolved, however. This does not mean that electronics cause a bad life, it only means that the way we use them may change our life.

Since the beginning of time, man has searched and searched for the meaning of life. Though I personally believe that the meaning of life is unique to each person, these results show that there is a 'lower' meaning of life that is permanently implanted in the entire human race. Every single person I interviewed said that their absolute favorite thing to do was, at its essence, having fun. Basically, enjoying life and mostly, making it worthwhile. This means that while we each have our highest loves and regards as personally and absolutely unique, as members of the human race we all share a certain element of similarity regardless of race, gender, religion, or anything else that you can think of. I found no respective link between the time spent on electronics and this.

Another thing I wanted answered was the basic attitude towards school and people in general and if it was changed because of the basic activities done during the day by the person. I interviewed 50 people, and it seems that those who spent a lot of their time on electronics also spent most of the remaining time that they were awake, talking to other people. Now, here is where everything comes into place. The reason that I describe the link between the time spent on electronics and the quality of life is not to find out how much time people spend on electronics, but how they use their time with them. If you spend your time doing constructive things on these 'blessings of God' as I describe them, your life can be dramatically changed for the good. What I saw in virtually all of the people who spent most of their time on electronics was that they were focused much more on the changing society and on electronics than religion, academics, sometimes exercise, and many of the things that truly make us rational human beings. Those people who spent their time on electronics, rather than reading books or doing exercise, were slightly less tolerant to new ideas, change, academics, and all of the good things I mentioned above. What I have seen is that though this is rather a phase in the ages 11-13, because of the exponentially growing use of commercial electronics (basically using electronics to have fun and play games) might mean that these 'cyber teens' may NOT grow out of this phase but instead, dedicate even more time to it.

Another thing I found in my research is that kids/teens who use electronics for more than 5 hours a day usually have more family problems and their lives are less thought out than those kids who do not spend so much time on electronics. The link between electronics and family problems is currently unknown to me. However, I speculate that this is due to the social environment that kids are exposed to while using electronics. Those kids who use electronics frequently usually have more independent personalities and more disregarding of parents' suggestions than those who limit their electronic use. Yet still I found that kids who frequently use electronics are slightly more aggressive, gossip more, and bully others more. These things have existed far longer than Facebook or electronics have, but the environment produced by electronics makes these behaviors flourish much more than before. This is not due to Facebook or the electronics themselves, as I have much respect for both, but the way that kids use them. Vulgar language, inappropriate material and even threats are usually passed around through these devices. I find that if kids appear truly 'obsessed with electronics' they are not obsessed with the devices as such, but the things they do on them. What I realize (and this is in part directed to parents) is that you don't have to limit your kids' use of technology, but raise them in a manner of which they feel comfortable talking to you about anything and everything and of which they feel safe and secure telling you when something is wrong. If you do so, then they will feel more self-confident and be less prone to this 'cyber revolution'. Of course, keeping them away from technology would be a crime, but to make them understand what electronics really are not only keeps them away from this vulgar social environment, but encourages them to act for the future, to save up cash, and to study academics instead of stalking their boyfriend's/girlfriend's Facebook profile. My conclusion for this entire survey and my main question, do electronics decrease or increase the quality of our lives, is basically this. If you don't know how to use electronics, I'm sorry. They are the future, but they will only be a good future if you make it so.

Technology is the future, there is no doubt in that. The question really is, how will you use it?

Notes: This survey interviewed people ages 11-13 with one exception being a fourteen year old. This survey is not intended to replace any scientific research or disregard it, but the interviewed volunteers were approached in a mannerly, polite, way and their beliefs were not threatened. The information in this survey may not be completely accurate, but the survey is not biased. All volunteers were chosen and asked at random. This survey is meant for educational reasons only and personal information shall be kept completely secret from anyone and everyone who asks for it. This survey does not keep computer or written files of any personal information at all, and all information of the volunteers is kept either secret or shown above anonymously. No harm was intended in the making of survey and no harm shall be brought.

- Once again, your fellow friend,
Alejandro Rocha

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