Every so often, old beliefs are replaced by new beliefs giving rise to new gods, while the old gods become forgotten. “American gods” presents technology as a new god, a god that realizes that times are changing and grows stronger as people believe in the possibility of technology.
Is technology an American god? According to an article published by Time Magazine in 2013, of the world’s 7 billion people 6 billion people have access to cell phones. Of the world’s 7 billion people only 4.5 billion people have access to working toilets. In the United States 91% of all adults have access to cell phones. Americans spend 35% more on technology per month than on utilities.
Technology affords us the opportunity to stay connected to those we love, research topics of interest conveniently, pay bills, navigate from one place to the next, allow us to work effectively across a multitude of platforms, and provides news and information in real time. Our reliance and dependence has created an addiction, a need to be constantly connected to our devices. 1 in 6 individuals use wearables. In restaurants and public places someone can be seen charging their device, wanting to ensure their connection to the grid is not severed. Technology has taken the place of face to face conversations, young children are often seen reaching for their mother’s cell phone in order to play a game, and note sections of our phones and tablets replace our memory. I have recalled many conversations where someone has said, “I don’t know anyone’s number… It’s in my phone.”
Aside from creating Digital Dementia ; tech has caused us to be less social and less emphatically connected to others in situations where we should be engaged. Take a look around. When you are at dinner and you see a couple or group of friends out for a bite; someone is usually talking whilst scrolling or scrolling and not talking. Moreover, where does our virtual world end and reality began? Virtual headset allow us to be anywhere at any time. Chat bots like Luka allow us to talk to the dead including celebrities like Prince. Our world is a blur between the virtual one that exists in our palm and the one in which we live.
Our addiction to technology creates hive like behavior or as I like to call it “cell phone assimilation behavior theory.” This occurs when one person’s cell phone rings or receives a notification others in the group will scroll through their phones well after they have discovered that it was not their phone that received the notifications. With every tap, with every notification, with every extra charger we carry our dependence and addiction to technology grows.
by Dr. Priscilla Wright, Ph.D., LPC, NCC
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