Whilst new technology is great, are we paying the price socially? (or how, once it's gone, you can never get that time back)

There's no getting away from it, every day we're becoming more and more obsessed with technology. Whilst it is great and clearly the way to go for the modern day recruiter on the go, I am starting to think too much of it can, at the relatively harmless end (apart from the risk of an iphone becoming your best friend rather than your dog or partner) zombify people, and, at its worst, put you in danger.

At the harmless end of things, take my wife's colleague. Put simply, she has a blackberry twitch. What this means is that she can't go on any journey without frantically checking her blackberry every few minutes just to see if their are any emails or messages for her. My wife and her might be on the way to a business meeting and in the course of say an hour's train ride, this woman will have picked up and put down that blackberry maybe 40 times.

That's the lighthearted side of it, it won't do her any harm, but on a more serious note, a friend's son the other night got surrounded by a gang who asked him to hand over his phone. When he refused he was threatened with being stabbed, then chased and beaten around the legs with iron bars before the gang ran off - all this in broad daylight at 6pm in the evening.

Without wanting to put a downer on the whole technology thing, i think we are in danger of the next generation losing some of their social skills. I also think this is why we are seeing more violent crime. iphones, blackberries and the like aren't cheap and represent a perfect target for a theft. They are the new Rolex if you like. It's one thing being put into a trance by them, quite another getting beaten up or threatened with a knife just because you enjoy keeping up with technology.

Me? I refuse to have anything other than the very basic mobile and apart from that I am inaccessible whilst travelling. No camera phone, no iphone, no blackberry, no web access. Some say I live in the dark ages, but to me, it's me clinging on to the last bastion of normality. I spend plenty enough time online, but that's the beauty of my job, it can be done from home with nothing more than a keyboard and a computer, but I positively refuse to work whilst travelling. It's a no no and always has been. When I see people who appear to be working on a train or in other 'free time' I just find it sad. And what did we do before we had all these devices? I'll tell you. We switched off, quite literally.

These days people just don't switch off enough in my opinion. Many have become slaves to all this new technology. It has overtaken some people's lives. If they're not on their laptop they are busy tapping out a text message or playing a game on their iphone. I read somewhere the other day that there are something like 900 apps hitting the market every day. I think we need to ask ourselves how many of them we actually need in our lives though. We also need to take a look at how all these gadget hours are in danger of impacting on our personal lives and our social interactivity, becasue, before we know it, we'll all be so busy browsing and texting and generally entranced by technology that we will forgot that there are other, more important things in the world. After all, once it's gone, you can never get the time back.

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