Western Technologies: Impacts Home and Abroad

Not All Western Ideas Are Universal

Did you ever think that your convenient, portable laptop that you take everywhere is not used in other countries, or that the fundamental ideas behind a laptop stems from Western technology that is often not supported or used in other countries? We think of laptops and computers as universal tools, but in many cases, in developing countries, computers and the Internet are a foreign thought.

English Does Not Always Translate

Computers were designed for the English speaking world. If you think about the layout of the keyboard and the icon display on the screen, each is designed with a Western influence. But in developing countries, many people do not understand the Western culture, so hence, they would not be able to understand how to operate a laptop.

One Laptop Per Child (OLPC)

Nicholas Negroponte founded the One Laptop per Child organization. The organization had good intentions for helping children in developing countries become better educated with new technology such as a laptop. This organization was not a success, and the results failed to accomplish the intended plan of meeting the needs of children in developing countries. OLPC was blinded by its influence of Western ways and did not factor the idea that laptops need to adapt to the appropriate needs of the children using them in developing countries. Another factor that OLPC needed to understand was that the importance of education is not always valued in these developing countries. For example in Africa, the AIDS virus is a more pressing matter than computers for children’s education. One study concluded that one computer per child could be one laptop per clinic that could serve many more people in a more beneficial way. Some of the OLPC computers were never used or distributed by the goverment.

48 Hour Of Peril

Have you ever lost your cell phone and had that gut feeling that it is gone and never will return? Doesn’t it feel like someone just turned off your lifeline, and you have lost your only identity? I know that when I lost my cell phone, I found it impossible to live for those 48 hours until I could replace it. I hunted high and low and called it from my mother’s cell phone at least 93 times. Even though it was replaced, I lost many memories, such as pictures, videos, messages, and my all time highest score on Temple Run.

A Social Revolution

Cells phones have created a social revolution in our society. They have created new means of communication and entertainment. Cell phones have also altered social patterns, not only with young adolescents, but with people of all ages. Lines are blurry between what is private and what is public communication. Not only are cell phones essential for communication and for maintaining social relationships, but they also can have a negative impact on family relationships, peer relationships, identity, socialization, and other norms. Some people feel the use of cell phones has taken away face to face interaction and other interpersonal skills.

LOL, G2G, HMU, BRB, TTYL

Texting has become an easy way to communicate with others, but it has taken its toll on students’ grammar skills. The letter abbreviations are handy at times for quick responses; however, young students often lose practice in writing correct sentence structure. For example, a student might text: “lol b4 u go to class can you grab my binder 4 me and drop it off at the lib? Thx ttyl! ” Most teenagers can translate this symbolic language; professors, on the other hand, refuse to acknowledge this new system of language.

Here To Stay

This new method of socialization is here to stay. Teenagers transform their identity through their cell phones. Cell phones may have some negative impact, but they are just a new way of life for this generation and the future ones to come .

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