Without any of this “new technology” (the internet, video games, TV, etc.), where would be? Some may say that we’re better off without all these newfangled devices because kids never get off their phones and it’s a waste of time when you could be doing something to change the world, but others would say that it’s all for the better and that we wouldn’t be connected without social media, wouldn’t have fun without video games, and wouldn’t be as entertained without TV; some might say that this technology is helping to change the world because of how fast you can promote an idea through all of these medias. And yet others would fight both points by agreeing that it can change the world, but that media now isn’t living up to that potential as much as it should, or that we’re maybe just spending too much time on our devices and not enough time in the real world, although it’s still a good thing.
I myself spend a lot of time utilizing these different forms of entertainment. Of course I, as a stereotypical teenager, feel the need to update my Facebook or Tumblr all the time and sometimes I worry more about the likes and comments on my Instagram than compliments that people in the real world give me. But I also know that I can’t spend too much time on the internet, and I need to spend time with my family. That’s when I realize that even then, when I’ve told myself to stop playing around on my laptop and to go downstairs, I take my phone or my iPod with me. I check it all the time, if I’m not just constantly playing on it while talking to my mom. Sometimes, my mom will ask, “Do you wanna do something, maybe watch a movie?” and I think it’s great that I’m spending time off the internet and doing something else, but I’m really just continuing to eat up media.
When I’m out to dinner with my family, I realize that we’re all on our phones doing one thing or another and I always laugh because it’s so silly to me that we think that’s a form of “family time”. Even when we’re with other people, being social, we all have our phones on us, don’t we? And we’re all just dying to check the time because evidently we can’t read clocks, or we have to know if so-and-so responded to that hilarious message. While we’re eating this entertainment up, entertainment is eating us up.
On the other hand, these forms of media have done amazing things. Take my grandma, for example. She always had to call and be called so that she could stay in the loop of what’s happening with her children and grand-children. Once she got a Facebook, it got a lot easier for her to keep up on her family, and it’s also really convenient for her to be able to see the fun pictures that we post instead of us having to show her the next time we see her. We also set her up on Skype, so now she’s able to talk face to face with her grand-kids in Texas and Ohio. That’s just one example–people who have long distance relationships are very much benefited by social media.
They can still see each other often through Skype, can chat over text or facebook or email, and are therefore able to keep their relationship no matter the distance. Although there are a lot of TV shows that are useless and irrelevant to the world, news that’s not just on paper is important to keep everyone updated. Not everyone watches the news, but those who do may call people they know if something’s happened and say, “Hey, are you watching the news? This is crazy!” It helps when there’s any sort of crisis, and it keeps people informed by the minute whereas a newspaper keeps you informed of the day or even the day before.
I feel like popular entertainment can go both ways. It does offer a lot of value, but it can become a worthless distraction. It depends on who is using it and how. Popular entertainment is not a bad thing, but if someone is too attached and uses it too much, it turns out like a brainwashing–you may want to stop using your computer or put down the video games, but you wouldn’t have anything else to do, so you just keep doing it. If people can find the right balance of using the internet or watching TV and going outside or being genuinely social, then I think we would all be fine. My biggest standpoint is that you can have too much of a good thing when it comes to popular entertainment.