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Consumerism: Slaves of Technology?

By Edited May 9, 2014 1 0

   When you hear or see the word “Apple”, what comes to mind?

apple store crowd

   If surveyed, I would have to take a guess and say that most people would automatically think of the iPhone sitting in their pocket. It is no question that in such a technologically-driven world, almost everyone, if not the entire population, owns at least one electronic device; Whether it be a cell phone, laptop, television, music player, or gaming system, it is hard to argue that there is not one household in the country in which one of these electronic devices does not exist.


   Of course, as we move forward in time, the way we live and our world is forever changing and so we must adapt to keep up. We have come to terms that cell phones and computers are basic necessities of everyday living, though in just a few decades ago, this was not the case. It seems in only just the past twenty years that the sales and ownership of various electronics have been booming. Anything and everything from iPods and MP3 players to 3D televisions and lighter than air laptops.

    Why do we feel the need to buy so many electronics?

    It is also just as equally important to ponder and analyse why we devote so much time to our electronics, and more importantly the possible risks that arise from our usage and what some people would call “addiction”. In this day and age, the importance and dependence we place on technology and electronics is higher than ever.

cell phone addiction


      As an active consumer of many types of electronics, it seems as though they hold some type of power or control over people, including myself, and though the basic ideology of electronics is to make life easier and more enjoyable, which does hold true, there are also possible negative and unhealthy social issues that can emerge with overuse of electronics and technology which should not be overlooked.

    Honestly, I do not know how I could live without them, as I feel like they are the highest form of comfort and anxiety and stress relief. Obviously this is not unique to myself, as many other people have the same attitudes towards video games, as video games have become the largest increasing platform of entertainment.

    Perhaps the fact that video games are becoming more and more popular is because that game developers are creating games with a deeper psychological impact on gamers, as in creating games with an emotionally compelling storyline and characters, versus the classic mindless shooting and killing games, thus providing a game that is more than just a basic video game. This idea could raise some issues concerning the social and psychological behaviour of the gamer.

    If games are being made that aim to strike human emotion and provide a connection on a deeper psychological level, could these games then hinder social behaviour of the player?

    From personal experience, I mostly like to play games with that type of development. Games such as The Legend of Zelda Saga, Shadow of the Colossus, and most recently renowned by many, The Last of Us. The Last of Us, for example, is an extremely emotional game. Even though I have played it through countless times, I still find myself always picking it off the shelf when I want to play something, the main reason being that I do feel some connection with the game and it’s characters, which is exactly what the developer Naughty Dog has intended. Of course, there is no problem with this, but there is a point where you start to choose a virtual world over real life itself. I am not embarrassed to admit that I have turned down offers to go out and socialize with friends because I would much rather be alone in my room playing video games.

    In this case the social issues argument could be raised, but if I would prefer to do this and I feel more comfortable, is there anything wrong then?

    Personally, I do not think so, but of course on a much larger scale, this could be troublesome.

    Video games I know from experience can cause isolation and social and behavioural issues, but also are one of the highest forms of entertainment, stress relief, and real world distraction. Similarly, cell phones also feature both negative and positive effects, though I feel that since more of the general population own and  use cell phones, we are more inclined to embrace the negative effects such as dependence, image problems, detachment and ultimately, mental health issues like depression and anxiety.

     Even if we are aware of these risks, we still continue to use and buy electronics almost like a compulsion to do so. A certain status comes along with the next iPhone or the newest video game or system. Also known as conspicuous consumption, people associate a certain status with iPhones, basically that you are not cool or hip if you do not own an iPhone. Both iPhones and video games are not necessary for living, therefore a want not a need, and I am guilty of owning both.

    That being said, people are obsessed with buying electronics and all the “perks” that come along with them, even there are possible risks. Even though we see cellphones, video games, and other electronics as necessities and forms of entertainment, we must loosen the control that they have over us. I believe that most people would get a lot more out of their lives if they stopped devoting so much wasted time to electronics and began to experience life for what it is.


conspicuous consumerism

 Then again, everything and everyone is our world, for the most part, depends on technology, so it is almost as if there is no escape and we are being forced into being consumers of electronics.

    We need to stop looking at the world through a screen.




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