AU MA Social Media

A class blog about social media.

IF YOU’RE SO SMART, WHY AREN’T YOU RICHER THAN YOUR PARENTS?

Posted by sgreene68 on June 18, 2011

To follow may last blog, I’d like to address a few more reasons why technology has potentially harmed us a much or more than it’s helped us.

What have we done to the earth? Our earth? What has all this technology done to our ozone layer? Created global warming. Many companies are claiming to be “going green.” When I used a $40,000 budget to purchase software and Mac computers at work, I asked if I could have a user’s manual to guide my way. I was quickly informed that ($40K or not) Apple is going green and the answers to all of my questions could be found online. Now think of this…

For every tree Apple saves by going green, it generates far more digital currents that hurt the environment. It has been scientifically proven that we’re harming our bodies and especially our brains by sending electrical currents through them all day, every day. Cancer rates are soaring. Is this a coincidence? Nope.

When I was about 10 years old (in 1978), from what I can recall, by the time our parents were 30 to 40, most of my friends and I were in families with two married parents, with one undergraduate degree each, who had two cars, one house, and 2.5 kids. By the time I was 30, most of my peers couldn’t afford the same lifestyle their parents raised them in. Although I was making a six-figure income in New York City, I had far less than my parents did at the same age. Now that I’m 43, many of my friends afford the same lifestyle their parents did at their age, but they do it at a much higher price. I know very few people who get off work at 5:00PM or home by 6:00PM. They work all-the-time, and they’re expected to get $30K to $80K in debt to earn advanced degrees, just to stay afloat. Some are single, some are married, and the ones with children (including myself) are forced to place them in after-care, or they have nannies, because the parents are at the office working-all-the-time.

What price are we paying for all of this technology? If it’s so great, shouldn’t it be making our lives easier? Aren’t we supposed to be living better, healthier, more luxurious lives, while working less than our parents, on less money? Shouldn’t our smart devices make us smarter than our parents?

When I was 35, I was annoyed at my well meaning Mother when she asked why I hadn’t saved more money by then. I knew the answer but I could barely articulate it. So I took a tally to estimate everything my generation was “expected” to spend money on that her generation wasn’t. I realized I spent $100 on a cell phone with an $80 monthly bill, $50 on cable TV per month (for those of you who don’t know, TV used to be FREE), $30 on a DSL connection for the Internet, $150 on a printer, $20 a month on ink, $50 on home office supplies, and $1000+ on a desktop computer with software. That’s conservatively $2760 in extra monthly bills a year, and $1250 every two to three years to upgrade new computers, cell phones and printers (since they’re programmed to break down by then) that my Mom’s era didn’t have to spend.
Eight years later, I spend more money than ever on smart phones, laptops, desktops, a GPS, and other stuff. I’m sure I’ve left something out, given the fact that the same things have gotten much more expensive since then, and even more products have been introduced to society as well. I don’t even have an iPad; iPod or Blackberry and I have less money and time than ever to enjoy my quality of life, especially with my son.

In addition, I can’t count the number of times I’ve been seduced by my cell phone provider into lowering my calling plan, for me to discover hidden charges, taxes and fees on my bill a few months later. How could my average bill have cost $80 several years ago, but it’s increased to $150 for the same if not worse service? If I was credited a dime for every time I lost a call I would be a few hundred dollars richer by now. Have we been convinced to waste money on products that haven’t been perfected yet? Absolutely!

A recent blog on Wired.com brought to light the fact that it appears as if Dropbox lied to users about the security and encryption of its services and whether or not the lack of security enables employees to have the ability to view its user’s files. Christopher Soghoian, a Ph.D. student, delved deep enough to reveal data that proved Dropbox can actually see users’ files at any time. Check it out here:

http://www.wired.com/threatlevel/2011/05/dropbox-ftc/

A computer consultant recently convinced me to upload ALL of my files to “the cloud” on Dropbox. I’m not an early adopter, however I respect advances and I try to embrace them. I initially loved the ease of accessing my files from Dropbox on my iPhone (with no access to a computer) at dinner with a colleague. I even saved this document on the Dropbox. But now that I know Dropbox employees can access my files ay any time, I’m still wondering…

Except for making me more spend more money, check my email on the toilet, and stress when a website won’t open in less than two seconds, what has technology done for me lately?

Yea yea, it’s done a lot. But really. I’m curious. Do you ever feel like this?

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