The technological advances witnessed in the last 30 years have impacted in one way or the other on the quality of life that people have today. On one hand, at the family level, technological advances have arguably drifted family members apart as each indulge in the world of technology. On the other hand, the world has shrunk into a small village as technology simplifies the way people, who are thousands of miles away from one another, can communicate at almost instant mode. The majority of people who have been greatly affected or even benefited from technological advances are the Generation M, whose use of technology causes jitters among the older generation. In making use of the three terms given, this paper discusses whether the technological advances have had effects on the modern American life in the last 30 years.
Effect of Technological Advances on Modern American Life. According to the researches conducted by various anthropologists, advances in technology have affected the way of life in modern America both in a positive and negative ways. Technology has redefined the way human beings are able to multitask during the day and also increased the number of hours that people are “working” a day. One of the major impacts of technological advances on the modern American life is the level of interaction that family members are now experiencing with each other. It is as though family members are dedicating less time to their close family members while increasing the amount of time that they spend engaged either on their iTunes or simply chatting away with a stranger on MySpace and Skype. Evidently, the American life has become more of an interaction with technological devices and applications than humans.
The level at which people are now multitasking in their families depicts that the work that they are doing is not normally done thoroughly. With over 82% of kids going online by the seventh grade, the family life has changed to the levels when parents cannot interact with their children as it was previously done. This is because the kids are so much multitasking with their devices and applications on the computers to be able to pay any reasonable attention to their parents. As such, technological advances offer the family a wide range of choices, including games, movies, e-mail, IM, Google, and MySpace. Therefore, each member is involved in different activities and spend time on the multiple activities that require his or her concentration. Generally, technological advances have created an environment of “media multitasking–listening to iTunes, watching a DVD and IMing friends all at the same time” that has reduced the level of interaction between family members (Wallis 1).
The world of technology is moving at a speed that forces people to completely transform the way they interact with each other, either in close proximity or in remote locations. The effect of modern life has drastically changed to the levels that indicate a lack of unification that previously was common among the family members. According to Wallis, the use of electronic gadgets among young people in modern America has reached the levels where “one gets obsessed with one’s gadgets”. From chat rooms, Instant Messengers to Googling, family interaction has evolved so that it is no longer abnormal for the family members to have their meals separately.
Additionally, technological advances have influenced the level at which people are multitasking in their activities. Nowadays, it is a common to find schoolchildren completing their homework while at school, so that when they arrive home they can engage in other activities through the Internet or can listen to music on their iTunes. Under the condition that they have not completed their assignment, children are now able to juggle between their school assignment and other personal activities, ignoring or paying little attention to their parents who are also often engaged in their own world of technology.
Technological advances have also changed the way people learn to interact with their environment. As revealed out by Brown and Thomas, most people are now able to learn useful skills through online games in a virtual environment, where they join guilds that transform the way they look at problems. The skills that people are acquiring using modern technology tools and applications in a virtual environment are turning out to be useful resources in real life. For instance, Stephen Gillett got himself a job at Yahoo! for having mastered skills in an online game. The game developed in him those useful skills that the employer was not expecting and therefore he was hired on the ground that he had skills that would be applicable in a real environment away from the online environment.
A further effect of technological advances on the modern American life is that technology has changed the way people perform their functions, simplifying the way people are trained in their manual skills. For instance, simulation games, such as X-plane, have redefined the way how pilots are trained in their field. Some of the regulation authorities have allowed the use of such games to train professionals in various fields, thus capitalizing on the benefits of the accidental training, which in itself is powerful of learning. In essence, technological advances have transformed the way people learn to a level that enables people to acquire extra skills in the area of their profession. Technology is thus instrumental in allowing learning to take place in a more challenging environment that transcends the normal learning setup, where learning is structured.
Another benefit that technological advancement is bringing to the modern American life is the nurturing of leaders, entrepreneurs, and innovators that are able to come up with solutions to the problems that exist in the society. Through online interaction and the use of other technological devices, people are now able to develop leadership skills both in homes and in the places of work. According to Brown and Thomas (1), “once the experience is explicitly educational, it becomes about developing compartmentalized skills and loses its power to permeate the player’s behavior patterns and worldview”.
This means that technological advances play a crucial role in ensuring that human beings have skills and knowledge, useful in various areas and fields, some of which they would not have been able to join if they relied on the intentional learning only. In fact, advances in technology have helped to nurture and incubate skills that are useful in the real world by allowing people to learn through accidental means. Management in real world are now going to experience a proliferation of self taught entrepreneurs and leaders that have relevant skills in the areas in which it might be difficult to find a qualified person.
From the above analysis, technological advances have had both positive and negative effects on the modern family life in America. The frailties of it comprise the fact that advances in technology have led to the family members drifting apart through their engagement in the use of devices and applications that require their full concentration. In addition, advances in technology necessitate the need to multitask and thus increase the chances for the work not to be done excellently.