Cell Phones and Technology: Do we Love it or Hate it? The Role for Entrepreneurs of All Ages
Can you be without your phone for a 24 hour period? Researcher Sergey Golitsynskiy looked into this exact topic in a study of student cell phone users around the world.
The results were surprising.
“It ended up being the most horrible experience many of them had ever in their life, according to what they self-reported to us. The psychological impact was significant,” Golitsynskiy noted.
Participants reported feeling a range of emotions including: “Bored,” “freaking out,” “emotionally detached,” and “dead” when without their cell phones.
A CBS Sunday Morning story on the topic reports many of the students had to drop out of the study.
The Opportunity of Technology
Cell phones and various forms of technology are used constantly by entrepreneurs and the business community at large. It gives the young generation an edge entering the work force, and creates reverse mentoring opportunities. Faxing is now scanning, VHS is now DVD, USB, streaming, and YouTube, email is now texting, typing can be done via dictation, social media didn’t even exist before, the opportunities for efficiencies in day-to-day operations is endless.
The Downfall of Technology
But how much is too much? In the Hidden Work Life Balance Crisis of Entrepreneurs, Dr. Gayle Porter, Professor of Management at the Rutgers School of Business and one of the country’s leading work-life balance researchers, cites technology as “probably largest enabler of work addiction.” We all have the personal stories of texting and emailing at meals, not being able to “flip the off switch,” and other tales of no boundaries between work/school life and personal time.
Do We Love It, or Hate It? Take the Poll.
Is technology a positive or negative force in your life? Are you able to put on the brakes? Or is your phone, computer, tablet, or other device taking over?
In a follow up exercise, teams can take sides of each of the following arguments pro and con technology.
PRO: Use the following as the basis of a “pro” argument for technology.
Technology is the new industrial revolution, changing the face of how we operate in work and life. Major names in business and politics agree investing in computer science is the future, as seen here on code.org.
CON: Use the following as the basis of a “con” argument against technology
A CBS Sunday Morning report quotes technology writer Nicholas Carr on the reasons behind our compulsive need to check our devices and gather:
“People have a primitive instinct to want to gather information, to want to know everything that’s going on around them. And you can kind of see how that would help you survive back in cavemen and cavewomen days. Where it becomes a problem is when we create this new world for ourselves where there’s unlimited amounts of information. We can’t stop this compulsive checking.”
To do: Each team can have 5 minutes to argue pro and con depending on their team assignment.
Suggestion: Organize with a main point and two to three supporting points or three main points. To enhance the business / entrepreneurship element of the conversation, feel free to direct the teams to center at least one of their points around entrepreneurship (e.g., “this is critical for small business and entrepreneurship – a centerpoint of our country – because….” or “this is made worse by entrepreneurship because…”).
Read the two below articles and lead a discussion about the following: While the above discussion is interesting and engaging, there is an element that is theoretical and not practical. On a day-to-day basis, what does the small business owner need to do with technology? Said another way, if a small business owner invests in technology, how might a small business owner want that investment to pay off. Read the below articles and feel free to search for additional supporting articles on the use of technology by entrepreneurs and small business owners.
More from EITC (Entrepreneur in the Classroom)
More: See the free EITC Curriculum, Module3 for more on business history. Is technology the new revolution?
More Information The NFIB Young Entrepreneur Foundation is a 501(c)(3) organization promoting the importance of small business and free enterprise to the nation’s youth. More information is available at www.NFIB.com/YEF. The Foundation is associated with the National Federation of Independent Business; NFIB is the nation’s leading small business association, with offices in Washington, D.C. and all 50 state capitals.
Entrepreneur In The Classroom. The NFIB Young Entrepreneur Foundation Entrepreneur-in-the-Classroom (EITC) supplemental curriculum exposes students to entrepreneurship and the necessary steps to take an idea and turn it into a business. The free curriculum can be integrated into classes teaching a variety of subjects including music, art, fashion, business and many more. Just register for full access to the Entrepreneur-in-the-Classroom curriculum.
Follow EITC curriculum author Kathy Korman Frey on Twitter