It’s finally here: the moment in history when wearable technology crossed the threshold from niche to mainstream. Today it’s watches; tomorrow we’ll see glasses, contact lenses, virtual reality, AI, and implantables. Coaches and teachers fret over their students’ smartphone addictions. That concern will soon become obsolete.
I am a champion of technology, a perpetual optimist that each new technology makes the world just a little bit better. It also makes the world just a little bit worse if we’re not wise in how we use it.
Yesterday I had a student-athlete sprint away from her warm-up because her Apple Watch indicated she was getting a phone call that might be important (it wasn’t). The day before I scolded a student-athlete for staring at her Apple Watch instead of focusing on her workout (again, not important). That was only in 72 hours, and that was only what I noticed.
Last week I published an interview with Fredonia’s Director of Counseling Services about the rise of anxiety in college. It’s easy to understand the rise in anxiety considering we’re now wearing stimulation on our wrists.
It should be telling that Steve Jobs would not allow the iPad in his house, and that Bill Gates would not allow his kids to have cell phones until they were 14. Some of the highest-ranking tech professionals in Silicon Valley send their kids to schools that prohibit the use of digital technology. They know the technology they produce has a dark side: that it pulls you away from the very happiness you thought you were getting by using the technology.
In short, it pulls you away from the people in front of you. That’s where happiness is.