Take the time to learn

Staff Editorial

Technological developments of recent years have made our gadgets increasingly central to our lives. We have taken smartphones, tablets, computers, and game consoles and all the other bits of technology in our everyday lives for granted.

When they fail, they can be seriously disruptive. People have gotten frustrated when an unfamiliar error message or “unable to connect to network” alert pops up onscreen, without much explanation of how to fix it. As we increasingly take the technology around us for granted, we also expect our gadgets to keep up with our rising expectations.

To many of us, they are largely black boxes – neat little packages of metal and circuits that work in mysterious ways. There are two approaches to electronics that can help avoid being let down when our technology doesn’t work for us. One is to learn just how exactly these devices work and how to best use them.

The other is to avoid being too dependent upon them in life. It can often seem as though our digital devices can be confusing and oftentimes work in ways that don’t make sense to us. That shouldn’t frustrate us, though.

Gadgets are generally designed to work in logical and predictable ways. Taking the time to learn how these devices work can thus make life much easier.

This can take the form of a formal lesson, such as the Hour of Code or an office applications class. But it can also just mean taking the time to work through problems when they come up – say, by searching for solutions to a problem online.

Alternatively, we can be less disappointed by our gadgets by simply asking less of them. We spend vast amounts of time in front of various screens. Removing them when possible also removes the possibility of being let down. In our increasingly digital world, it seems impossible that we can really get rid of our gadgets. But both approaches can be combined.

Make sure that technology helps you experience life instead of overwhelming you. But, when it is necessary, it helps to be prepared to be familiar and ready to engage with it.