Wednesday, April 01, 2015

The "Ping Factor": Are you Like Pavlov's Dog?

In her book, Alone Together: Why We Expect More from Technology and Less from Each Other, Sherry Turkle quotes an economics professor who wrote this…let’s see if you relate:

“I’m trying to write…My article is due. But I’m checking my e-mail every two minutes. And then the worst is when I change the setting so that I don’t have to check the e-mail. It just comes in with a ‘ping.’ So now I’m like Pavlov’s dog. I’m sitting around waiting for that ping. I should ignore it. But I go right to it” (227).

Turkle then notes, “Our neurochemical response to every ping and ring tone seems to be the one elicited by the ‘seeking’ drive, a deep motivation of the human psyche. Connectivity becomes a craving; when we receive a text or an e-mail, our nervous system responds by giving us a shot of dopamine. We are stimulated by connectivity itself. We learn to require it, even as it depletes us” (227).

Technology is part and parcel of our lives, there’s no way around that and, in itself, it’s neither wrong nor evil. However, we must control it or it will control us. So how are you doing with the “Ping Factor”? Are you, like the professor, Pavlov’s dog in human form? What adjustments can you make to increase your health and well-being? How can you help those around you keep technology in its proper place?

May the Lord help us as we seek to have a healthy relationship with technology!

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