Opinion: Technology users need to practice digital responsibility

Opinion: Technology users need to practice digital responsibility

As citizens of a developed country, we are privileged to be able to have access to technology, and as students, we need to take responsibility for using it to further our studies.

It’s no doubt, digital technology has allowed us to make advances in the areas of academia, medicine, transportation and communication. Digital technology is not all good, however, and the ever-expanding use of it can cause an ample amount of negative effects.

According to a 2011 article in The New York Times, 137 Apple factory employees in Suzhou, China, were seriously injured by n-hexane, a chemical they were exposed to while working. N-hexane left one worker with nerve damage and “made him so hypersensitive to cold that he now must wear down-insulated clothing even indoors.”

A report in 2012 by the Pew Research Center found that only 62 percent of people in households earning less than $30,000 a year used the internet. In contrast, 90 percent of people in households making more than $50,000 used the internet. This information is not surprising, considering the expensive nature of digital technology.

Risks to health and safety also occur because of smartphones, especially when users text while driving. According to Edgar Synder & Associates, texting while driving leads to 1.6 million crashes a year and the death of 11 teens every day. Companies like AT&T have started campaigns to combat texting while driving.

While there are a seemingly infinite number of problems caused by digital technology, many students and members of developed countries depend on digital technology for learning, employment, transportation and healthcare.

This makes it obvious that attempting to eradicate the world of digital technology is unrealistic and could possibly harm just as many people as it would help. Still, there are many steps that need to be taken to make the world a more digitally responsible place.

One major step that students and consumers can take is holding corporations like Apple accountable by protesting and boycotting to raise awareness, even if that means having hard conversations with those close to you.

American citizens can also make a difference by electing government officials that pledge to hold corporations accountable by working to enacting laws that will end the exploitation of workers overseas and raise the minimum-wage at home.

Another action to be taken is to recycle electronic waste, which can be done at centers designated specifically for e-waste — such as the Atlanta/Marietta Computer Recycling and Electronics Disposal located on Chastain Road in Kennesaw.

Perhaps the most simple steps cell phone users can take is to learn to take a break from their devices, especially while driving. The future is digital and ensuring a positive future is left to our responsibility.

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