Topic 18: Do you agree that modern technology has given us more leisure time than before?
In the history of mankind, possibly no century witnessed more progress in technology than the 20th century did. People have become increasingly interested in assessing the correlation between technological development and leisure time. As far as I am concerned, people's leisure time has been shrinking as a result of the tremendous advance in modern technology.
Admittedly, thanks to modern technology, people can thus spend less time on compulsoryactivities (e. g., working), but it should also be noted that other non-compulsory activities have come to consume a larger proportion of people's after-work life, such as education. If leisure refers to the time spent in non-compulsory activities, people's leisure time has in fact contracted. The growing concern on education has increased the likelihood that people are willing to give up their leisure lives for educational opportunities. This trend is attributed mainly to competition and fears of job loss, causing people to turn to on-the-job training and education for secured employment. Another incentive is the increasing flexibility of educational institutions. Worthwhile knowledge can bepassed onfrom one generation of workers toanother in different forms of education, such as televised teaching and online courses. It comes at the cost of their leisure time.
People's leisure lives are continuously eroded also because of ubiquityof modern technological tools (e. g., computers with Internet access and telecommunications equipment). It is noteworthy that people now take fewer and shorter vacations following the increase in the number of technology-based activities. For example, cell phones and laptops make people accessible to their superiors wherever they go and wherever they are. People are more stressed than any generation before. Meanwhile, people now have to engage in more everyday processes than ever before, such as shopping, food ordering, and so on. It seems that the time budget is burdened because more time should be invested in activities that were previously ignored or unnoticed.
While posing a threat on people's leisure lives, technologies might on other occasions, give workers more flexibility in controlling their work and more quality time after work. A traditional workweek has been cut, as the amount of manual work continues to decline because of automation. The availability of various means of transport has released working people from lengthy commutes. The line between work and private life is much more blurred, with many workers shopping, checking private emails and reading newspaper online even when working.
From what has been discussed, one understands that the development of technology has tremendous impacts on people's daily lives, although the exact impacts are not conclusive. When the proliferationof new technologies, such as computers, allows people to manage their own working time and accommodatefamily needs and lifestyle choices, it has locked them in a struggle to cope with more tasks in daily lives.
1. shrink = decline = diminish = contract
2. compulsory = required
3. after-work life = personal life
4. pass on.. .to = hand on = transfer
5. ubiquity = prevalence
6. commute = the journey between home and place of work