Many of us who live in first world countries understand the importance of technology, even if we take it for granted more than we’d like to admit. Technology is not only our way of connecting with others, but it acts as a way to entertain ourselves and learn. It acts as a conduit to network and share ideas, just like the platform you’re reading on. News has such a huge reach now in this digital age, so much that an issue such as the massacres in Sudan, and immigrant children in cages on the border are almost common knowledge to anyone with wifi and a screen.
What many of us fail to realize is that while there are levels of sympathy (such as feeling heartbroken for a group of people, versus being heartbroken and being near/in the situation), technology gives us a lot us distance if we aren’t directly affected. The way news very quickly skips from one thing to another in order to keep viewers watching distracts people and makes people forget that the issue didn’t stop when they stopped paying attention.
Meanwhile in Sudan, technology is a privilege. The easiest way to think about it is a book called “The Boy WHo Harnessed the WInd”. The african boy who lives in poverty uses books from the library to learn the basics of electrical engineering. He then was able to later provide electricity access for his village and became groundbreaking in his community. He worked from the group up, literally, with little financial help from his parents, and nothing but his brain and scraps of metal he found. He was not afforded much of anything, but what the technology he brought to his village changed the dynamic of the community, and opened doors of oppurtunity for the people around him.
Technology sometimes is the only way we learn about things. For example, on the border of Mexico, immigrants are held in concentration camps and are not permitted proper food and water, nor sanitary supplies. WIthout the news and social media we wouldn’t know that ICE has stopped reporting the deaths that happen in their custody, or they release women and children right before they die so those people “don’t count” as deaths on their watch. The inhumane conditions they live in has sparked a lot of advocacy and increased awareness about what’s going on and how to help both at home and up close to the situation.Technology is a double edged sword, and while this opens our eyes to the reality of the world we live in.
In second and third world countries, technology is extremely important because it informs the masses on what’s happening because most of the time it affects a large size of the population. In first world countries we can easily disconnect to news that doesn’t concern us because we live a lot more comfortably than the rest of the world. Ironically, something that unites the world, as is used to divide us. We (especially us in the US) are afforded the privilege to connect with others on the internet, and educate ourselves, but when we choose to latch onto propaganda and then skip to the next tweet, works to spread shocking information without much to back it up. This can cause many people who can actually help and stand in solidarity to become callous because of the impressions they get from propaganda.
There’s something to be said for taking a step from the screen in totality and refreshing yourself though. And this article is not condemning people for not having a blue profile picture, or constantly talking about global issues. Technology is a tool and a gift we have been afforded, and the better stewards we are to it, the better informed we will be. Information is power, and education is a scepter for all of us to wield.