It’s an interesting distinction and one that doesn’t seem overtly complimentary. Indeed, when I first read this it brought to mind images from John Wyndham’s Day of the Triffids, full of people who rely so heavily on modern conveniences that when the end comes they simply cannot survive. These are the people who don’t live through season one of The Walking Dead or the first 30 seconds of a Hunger Games. When the apocalypse arrives they will be more concerned about snapchatting than surviving.
And maybe that’s true. Maybe if and/or when we are all blinded and overrun by evil walking plants or an army of zombies, we Millennials will be the first to fall. I would like to think that our excessive viewing of apocalyptic films and tv shows has helped to prepare us for these scenarios. But until that time, is it really such a bad thing to be “tech-dependent”?
I may have come to a point in my working life where I rely so heavily on technology that in those brief periods when the internet connection drops out on my laptop I am at an almost complete loss as to what to do. I look up from my screen and stare blankly around me for a few seconds (before playing Google’s excellent “dinosaur game”) while I wait for the internet to return and for my life to begin once more.
But at the same time we are now more connected and interconnected than we have ever been before. Because of these technical developments and changes we, as a generation, are much more adaptable than our parents and grandparents generation. We (to my stepmum’s amazement) can order and pay for a taxi from our mobile phones without having to say a word. We have Uber. We don’t rely on bumping into old acquaintances in Tesco to find out what our school friends are doing now. That’s what Facebook is for. Or Twitter. Or Instagram. We don’t unerringly trust words printed in textbooks or encyclopedias. We are the internet generation. We Google it and know better than to blindly believe Wikipedia. The world is at our fingertips. And the most exciting thing is that it is only just beginning.
A study from the University of Maryland asked 200 students to give up all technology for 24 hours. I know I would struggle with this. Just thinking about it makes me nervous. The last time my phone battery died I completely panicked, despite the fact that I was only five minutes from home. Unsurprisingly, the students complained about feeling disconnected from their friends, or the realisation that they “had less information than everyone else”. Of course they felt disconnected. We live in a connected world. We may be tech-dependent, but so is everyone else that we know.
It’s not that we couldn’t survive without tech, it’s that we choose not to get by without it. We choose to stay connected. I have friends my age who aren’t on Facebook, friends who refuse to connect with the digital world in the same way that most do and they make that work for them. We are only as tech-dependent as we allow ourselves to be. And we are choosing to rely on tech because we understand that it is the future.
We are adapting and evolving and embracing it.