This series features writing from inmates at the El Paso County Criminal Justice Center. The articles stem from weekly programming facilitated by the Colorado College Prison Project. Through contact between the CC community and Colorado Springs, this series aims to simultaneously broaden CC’s perception of incarceration issues and provide a platform for incarcerated writers. The El Paso County Sheriff’s Office requires approval of written material prior to publication and the removal of authors’ last names. The opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect those of the EPCSO or the Prison Project.
Technology. The mark of our “digital age.” In many ways, technology is a good thing, as it leads to various forms of advancement. However, it sometimes can be bad because it discourages direct contact. A prime example of both of these points is the advent of internet-based social media. Facebook, just one of many, is a very well-known social media platform. It allows anyone, from anywhere, to collate the thoughts of many into a cohesive form. This is great, as it allows many people to put their minds together across great distances and in vast quantities. Alternatively, it also permits the removal of what many deem “the human aspect” of interactions. For example, a person can post a thought or concern on a subject and then many other individuals can, from anywhere, comment both positive and negative reactions. They can post these reactions instantly. This can create a detachment from the repercussions of these reactions. Many times, people make a negative comment online that they would never say directly, simply because of the lack of interaction. There is also much to be gleaned from the vast encouragement that can occur from people you don’t know. Complete strangers who know nothing about you can reach out, from anywhere, and show an interest in your thoughts.
One major downside of technology in our society takes the form of smartphones. Oftentimes, you see groups of people on a bus, in a restaurant, on the subway, or even at home just sitting and staring at their phone. Many don’t even wear a watch to tell time. Some people are reading emails, others playing games, some even watching TV or movies. No longer do you see people interacting with one another when they are sitting right next to each other. Instead, you see many downturned heads and hear no conversations. Many situations that used to result in people automatically interacting with one another due to mere proximity no longer exist. Nowadays, these are missed opportunities as more people ignore their surroundings in favor of their phones. This disconnectedness can be very dangerous in a mental and physical sense. A perfect example was showcased in the Marvel movie Doctor Strange. In this movie, a very skilled surgeon merely glances at his phone to look at a patient’s information and this glance results in a terrible car accident that causes his permanent disfigurement. I have personally seen many people step off a sidewalk without checking for oncoming traffic because they are focused on their phones. Conversely, the level of convenience brought by smartphones is quite astonishing. Convenience is all well and good, as long as it doesn’t overshadow life itself.