Beyond The Screen

“The advancement of technology generally evokes a range of emotions in people from all walks of life. Some view technology as a great evil that slowly diminishes our humanity, while others view it as a way to bring the world closer together and to help solve some of our greatest challenges.” -Albert Einstein

Hi. My name is Luz. I’m a Junior at Somerset Academy High. I am student, dancer, sister, daughter and Grey’s Anatomy fanatic. Most people would say that my generation is consumed by technology-that we’re addicted to the screen. In these situations, I find myself wondering- what if we didn’t have phones or computers or televisions or even WIFI…?

The society we live in is fast-paced and continually advancing; if you blink you miss it. We have come so far not only as a nation but as a world. The technology available to us today can scan our fingerprints, record our messages, remind us of our daily duties and even allow us to communicate thousands of miles away within a matter of seconds. We literally have the world at our fingertips.

Despite the remarkable strides our society has made in the terms of technological advances, we have lost so much more than we have gained. – and I’m not talking about economic losses, but lost connections. In the English language alone, there are about 171,476 different words, but what happens when those words become replaced by a single smiling emoji with a winky face. One of the most powerful phrases in the English language, “ I Love You”, has simply been substituted for a red heart that has little to no meaning. Humans are the most remarkable creatures to have set foot on this earth. Each and every cell, tissue, organ, nerve or body part has a particular function that works all on its own. We are a beautifully intricate masterpiece capable of making over 10,000 unique facial expressions. We exist to create, not to re-load, re-connect or sync, but to cultivate, develop, love, feel, see, smell, touch, taste and explore.

The world is so much grander than our Instagram feeds and viral hashtags. The technology accessible to us allows us to communicate, learn and travel. Technology has transformed our world, our culture, our lives- but for the better? As Christian Lous Lange said, “Technology is a useful servant but a dangerous master.”

Technology has numerous benefits, but its negative aspects are what concern me the most. Our environment is slowly declining, mass shootings are taking the lives of innocent civilians, countries are suffering from hurricane damage, people around the world are dying from starvation, but the most we can do is tweet, “Sending Prayers.” I am guilty of overlooking the cruciality of the situations at hand. I am guilty of disregarding the needs of others because I’m too focused on my Instagram likes or my Snapchat Streaks. I am responsible for the downfall of my society just as much as you are. Some may disagree that technology has done nothing but create more opportunities for us and made us more equipped to solve problems, but the knot in my stomach tightens because we much rather tweet how we feel than stand for what is right.

I am not demanding that you give up technology or look down upon our society, but what I ask of you is to take the courage to put down the phone and breathe in the air surrounding you. I’m asking you to go to lunch with friends and forget to take a selfie. I am asking you to ask the girl out in person, not over text. I am asking you to hand write a letter, not share a post. I am asking you, the leaders of the NOW, the generation of change, my people, to inspire a new trend, HUMANITY.

I am nothing short of grateful for the opportunities and privileges I have as an American Citizen with access to world-class technology. I know the struggles of not having resources and living in an environment where time is frozen and technology is decades behind. I understand, but with what I have seen and experienced, I am called to make a difference. I have a voice, a right, a choice. I represent the future; I represent the now. I am Luz Michelle Hielscher.

“While technology is important, it's what we do with it that truly matters.” -Muhammad Yunus

Luz Michelle Hielscher is a Junior at Somerset Academy High School. She is a company dancer at Academy of Arts and the reigning Miss Broward County's Outstanding Teen 2017. She enjoys reading, writing, scuba diving and volunteering at her local hospital. Luz Michelle is very passionate about Health and Medicine and attended the NSLC Harvard Medical Summer Internship for Medicine and Health Care. She is very involved in her community, especially her school, where she is an officer and member of several clubs and honor societies.