Published: Monday, October 17, 2011
Time is the governing force of all we know, and the way we fill our time can directly affect the direction life takes us.
Have you ever taken a mental note to your time allotment during a typical day? I have, and it showed my day is full of time in front of some kind of visual technology. This kicked off this article's poll.
I did an experiment polling students on how much time they spend viewing visual technology during a three-day period. I used a total of 19 students from my classes and friend groups.
The average time spent viewing visual technology was 5.6 hours per day over the three-day time frame. If each student had a normal amount of sleep (eight hours), then each student would have 16 hours of awake time.
Does the 5.6 hours out of the 16 hours seem like a lot to you? It did for me, but then I took time to think about it.
I was raised around visual technology. I viewed movies, video games, computers, TVs, screens and more screens. It is the same for the rising generation, but the technology has evolved.
I didn't see how seriously injected visual technology was in my life until I had to live without it for months. It showed me how much time is spent on visual technology, but more importantly, how wonderfully blessed we are to have it.
Visual technology is a part of our culture. It is used everywhere we go. Laptops, iPads, iPods and smartphones are owned by almost everyone. For us college students, it is applicable even more.
What type of visual technology is viewed the most? My poll showed computer use at the top of the time list. The computer topped my time usage as well.
Computers have revolutionized the world. This should not be a shock. The amount of information accessible boggles my mind as much as when I look at the stars on a clear night away from civilization. But most of all, it saves us time.
I can't imagine what college was like for our parents. If researching, writing and editing a college paper feels like a chore now, imagine what it was like for our parents.
I don't even know how much time it would take to visit a library, hand write a paper, and then type it on some sort of typewriter.
Computers, and most visual technology, are great for learning information quicker than before.
According to the educational company Inspiration Software, "Research in both educational theory and cognitive psychology tells us that visual learning is among the very best methods for teaching students of all ages how to think and how to learn."
All of my current professors use visual technology in class as part of teaching. They do this because it enhances the ability of a student to learn in a tight time period. Isn't the purpose of class, at any level, to enhance the level of a student's knowledge or ability? Visual technology helps accomplish this in an intense college schedule.
Some may say visual technology is used too much. Look at how much time Americans watch TV.
According to an economic news release done by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, Americans spend an average of 2.7 hours per day watching TV. Honestly, this is more time watching TV than I would choose, but that's just it. The ability to choose is a privilege.
Any claim on the dangers of visual technology comes down to an individual's choice. The claim of watching too much TV is erroneously skewed in my opinion but should be directed at the choice of TV content.
The real critique of visual technology should be directed at the content choice of the user. Does a person fiddle away time by pointless visual indulgences or does a person use it as a tool of production, time management, composition and knowledge enhancement? This is the real concern at hand.
I spend just as much time using visual technology now as I did as a teenager. The only difference is my choice of content. I use the time to enhance my knowledge, tune up my skills, fuel my creativity and, of course, have a good laugh.
The time saved from the benefits of visual technology outweighs any negative sides.
So go ahead and use visual technology for long periods of time during the day. If you're using it as a tool you're most likely saving time.