Blog Feature

By: Jennifer Devitt on October 28th, 2014

Print/Save as PDF

How hiding behind technology is making us fat, rude and abusive.

Uncategorized

We talk a lot on this blog about the pros and cons of technology. More often than not, we discuss an app or way of using technology to enhance your business or make your life easier.  Well, as we all know there are also major pitfalls when it comes to technology usage in 2014.

One area that bugs me is hiding behind a tech shield and using it as an excuse for poor judgment or bad behavior.  These days in addition to raising kids and teaching them table manners and how to behave in public you also need to teach them how to behave online.  It's important to stress that they should never say or do something online that they wouldn't do in public or in front of their parents, grandparents or teachers. But, adults need to practice what they preach.

Yesterday, I read this article, "How Ordering Food Online is making you Fat".  Really?  To say I was intrigued is an understatement. You see yesterday there was also the news of Taco Bells new app that allows you to order and pay for your food online.  I wondered what implications one article might have on the other. How on earth can ordering online contribute to your weight and or health?  Well, in fact, I don't believe one has anything to do with the other.

In my opinion, this is just another form of hiding behind technology.  This is a way to behave in ways that are either abusive to ourselves or others. You can blame technology all you want. But ultimately it is the individual who is choosing to overeat. It doesn't matter if you are ordering via your device or not. The article cites that the lack of "social interaction" cause less shame. Really? Well, there is still social interaction when your food is served or delivered to you. Your delivery person or waitstaff knows full well what you ordered. If you wouldn't order it face to face to do someone judging you, then chances are you know its probably something you shouldn't be doing. I get it, it's not that easy. But if you want to hide it, you know there is a problem. Maybe if you are too embarrassed to do it face to face you shouldn't online either.

How is hiding behind our digital ordering any different than cyberbullying that occurs on apps such as Ask.fm? This is also rampant on online review sites such as Yelp. People think that if they are hiding behind a computer screen, tablet or smartphone screen they are free to behave in ways that are harmful or socially unacceptable. We all need to go back to thinking before we act. Sure we are all really brave when we hide behind a device or an anonymous name.

Ordering food online isn't the sole reason we are getting fat any more than online bullying is on the rise. Both of these behaviors stem from a lack of responsibility. If you want to order a huge meal even though you know it's unhealthy, do it. If you want to pick on a classmate or bash a competitors business online, do it. But, don't use technology as your excuse. It the world that is so dictated by technology it is the time we all behaved online like we would face to face. If you would be embarrassed to order something to your servers face, be embarrassed to order it on a device to, after all, it gets delivered to you ultimately anyway. If you can't say something to someones face, don't say it online either. Ultimately your diet and your behavior are your decision, e-commerce and websites or apps are not your enabler or conscience. We should always remember the advice given to Pinocchio "Always let your conscience be your guide".

Most of us have been affected negatively online in one way or another. Either by an anonymous review, cyberbullying, etc. Let us all go back to the lessons our parents taught us. Treat others has you would like to be treated. You make a choice, it's your choice, live with the consequences. Technology shouldn't be a scapegoat. It is an always evolving entity that aids in cures for diseases, makes tasks easier, aides in research creates new jobs and more. What ways have you seen technology being abused or used as a shield? How do you combat it?