Reflexive Essay

May 6th, 2018

The evolution of computers and society’s way to adapt to them has been, and will continue to be ever changing. I decided to look at my life and what has motivated my computer usage. It seems like advancements and the introduction of new apps and games has encouraged my computer use to grow.. From the bulky computer to my current smartphone, my life is drastically different. The dependence that I have, and that others have on computers is really interesting. I think that this sense of dependence has grown with the urge to have the newest and best product in the market. I think that society plays a huge role in this, which makes taking a closer look at one’s own life that much more interesting and telling.

As far as home computers go, I remember having a bulky white one in my dad’s office. It might have been a Dell, but I really don’t know now. The back of it was huge; really jutted out from behind the screen. I would say that neither me nor my three brothers used it for much other than games. I know that we played 3D Pinball and Solitaire once we figured out how, and we loved doing it. This was probably when I was around 10, so my brothers had Gameboys, and I typically used the computers for games. I would say around this point in my life, circa 2006, our household electronics consisted of that computer, two Gameboys, our home phone and my parents cell phones.

I would say sometime around 2007, so when I was 11 years old, gaming was becoming pretty big in the household. My older brothers (who were 13 and 15) had moved on to having a Playstation and my younger brother (around 6) and I had Nintendo DS’s. I have almost always been closer to my little brother despite our five year age difference, so it made sense that we played the same games. Besides the computer with emailing and phones with texting, I think that the Nintendo DS was one of the first devices that allowed for communication between our devices. Granted you had to be in the same house and in the same “chat room,” but I remember it was really fun to use.I think that this is significant, because although we were not playing on the computer as much, this was the newest form of technology that took up most of our attention.

Also around this time was when Webkinz was getting really popular. Basically you bought a stuffed animal and it had an access code with it. So you would go to, login your code, and that stuffed animal was now your virtual pet. For every animal you had, you would get a new bedroom in your “house” and other perks. So basically, the more webkinz you had, the more money you could “spend” online. There were games you could play to earn money, chat rooms available to talk to other kids, and stores to buy your Webkinz the cutest clothes. My little brother and I both had a bunch, so we would end up fighting over who got to go online and play. At this point, it was the most I had been using the computer.

I was in seventh grade in 2009-10, and I think that a lot of technological changes were happening around this time. My family finally upgraded our computer to a thinner screen. It was probably easier to use, but I don’t really remember now. At this time, I was 13, so I had just gotten Facebook and an email, which upped my computer usage time. I probably did not talk to that many people, I just thought that I was cool to finally have a Facebook. I know for a fact that I pretty much just played all of the games on the site. Even though I was older, I definitely still played Webkinz, I think that all of my friends did, too. We just refused to admit it to each other and played in private.

This was also the year that I had gotten my first cell phone. It was a really basic flip phone, but I thought that it was the coolest thing. My parents had RZR’s around this time, which I remember envying so much. I don’t know why, maybe it was because everyone on TV had one, and since my parents had them, I thought that it was obtainable. Just like how I did not talk to many people on Facebook, I did not have that many people to text. I went to a private Catholic School, so I literally had one good friend who also had a cell phone. I think that I had it more or less so my mom knew when to pick me up from practice.

In late middle school and early high school, a lot of changes were happening; I went from a flip phone to two different sliding phones with the full qwerty keyboard back to back. The newer slide phone and some internet access. I would have had this when I was 16 (2012), because I remember being able to drive. I could access my Facebook but it was incredibly slow. I don’t think that I could do much more than view the homepage and maybe post a status (which I hardly ever did/do), but at the time, it was great because I finally had mobile access to social media. The next phone I had was all touch screen and using the internet was much simpler. Once this ease of access occurred, I began using Facebook much more often, and primarily used that cell phone rather than my laptop.

In either the late spring of 2014, I got my first smartphone, the iPhone 5S. I believe that the 6 was almost available at this time, but I opted out of getting it because the features weren’t make or break enough for me to wait to get a new phone for another six months. I would say that for me and most people, getting the first smartphone is a turning point for a variety of reasons. One would be the ease of having access to information at all times. Another being that it was more convenient to call and text your friends without using up minutes (since most plans didn’t run like that anymore). The integration of the smartphone into the every day person’s pockets is when new communication technologies became extremely prevalent.

Now, after having all the information I can possibly have at my fingertips, I feel completely attached to my phone. I would feel lost if I did not have it on me. This connection we have with our phones is not uncommon; I’m sure that most people feel the same way I do. I try to ignore the notifications when I’m with friends, but ultimately fall victim to that urge to check my phone. I also know that it probably won’t change. The way we as humans function in society requires this convenience and constant access to the outside world. I also believe that this will only increase as the next generation, who grew up with iPads and smartphones, gets into higher education and furthers their careers. Who’s to know what communication will be like within the next few years? The thought of monumental changes is daunting, but with as many changes as I have had in my 21 years, I know that the threat is real.

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