Opinion: Do apps help or hinder?

Skyler Chill is a sophomore organizational communications major and a columnist for The Kent Stater. Contact her at [email protected].

Skyler Chill

When browsing the iTunes App Store, you can find thousands of apps to download to your phone. Everything from Map My Run to Yoga Studio is available for download at any time. However, many people argue that apps are taking away from humans having to think for themselves. Whatever the case, apps are everywhere.

When was the last time you physically read a map to figure out where you were going? I personally have never navigated a map to find out my location. Instead, I plug in my information to my Maps app and end up right where I need to be. At the touch of a button, I know how many miles I have to go, my ETA, gas stations nearby and my speed. I don’t believe using Apps like these is wrong; however, I believe that we still need to be able to master the skills that apps do for us. What if your phone died? What if you were stranded and didn’t have a phone, only a map? Would you be able to make it where you needed to go? By having the skills these apps do for us, we can survive without technology. Another example of this is a calculator. We use it all the time, but if push came to shove, would we be able to add, subtract, multiply and divide?

Apps, such as Mobile Banking, Candy Crush, Compass, USA Today and Calorie Counter, enhance our lives with their easy-to-use structure. These tools help benefit our mind and our lifestyles. Apps catering to children and learning include Flashcards, Sight Words, Reading Comprehension and Music Skills. There has never been a time in history when learning is so available and easy. Education through apps is hands-on and so easy to navigate.

However, how much info is too much? I feel our generation is consumed by constant entertainment. When is enough, enough? We go through phases (Flappy Bird, Twitter, Clash of Clans, etc.) where it seems like the whole nation is participating in the newest game. With the number of apps on the rise, there’s going to be a time when there is nothing we can’t solve through the simple download of an app. For only 99 cents, we can translate words, create a flashlight, cook a delicious recipe and read the newest People Magazine. We form habits of not having to work very hard for anything (i.e. not having to go get a book to translate, not having to use a phone book, etc.) and it’s very scary. We are proving that if technology failed, we would too. I hope it never does because honestly our generation isn’t taught the skills to carry on. Remember to never get too wrapped up in your phone. Apps are fun — don’t get me wrong — but we need to make sure we live in the present. We only live this life once, so we might as well make the best of it.