-- In this world of 24/7 always-on communications, where the workday ends around 6 but continues through the evening, we asked consumers whether technology has improved their lives.
Sports fans had a lot to say when we stopped by a Minneapolis Wild hockey game during a recent visit to the Twin Cities. We opened the question up to USA TODAY readers as well.
Here's their take.
" Calling or texting your parents if you're in trouble. You can just contact them easily."
— Chris Tomzak, Minneapolis.
"Knowing our daughter can use a cell phone if her car breaks down is a big deal to us. We simply have less stress knowing she's a bit safer."
— Mike Wight, Lincoln, Nebraska.
"My wife and I are both Army officers. This means we spend a lot of time apart from each other and our kids, who are both teenagers now. Since September 11th 2001, we have only been able to live together for 27 months. She is in Afghanistan now while I am taking care of the kids. Skype and email have enabled us to maintain a close relationship. Kindle books have enabled us to share books over great distances."
— James Carlisle, Washington, D.C.
New tools for the old tools
"With cell phones, I no longer need a landline. With Netflix and Internet TV, I gave up cable TV. With iPhone news apps, I gave up newspaper. All of these have made life easier, less expensive, and more "instant."
—Bill Stewart, Charlotte, NC.
Reviews from friends
"The ability to research restaurants, hotels, movies, etc. based on real people's feedback through things like Yelp, IMDB, and Trip Advisor has also been very valuable. I feel that I make much more informed decisions on what I spend my discretionary income on now."
— Joseph W Krolikowski, Detroit, MI.
Better travel data
"I can find anywhere I need to go with my phone, GPS, maps, so I never get lost."
— Jacqueline Andrade, Toronto, via Tout.
"You get to play video games."
— Griffin Norcia, Minneapolis.
Education that brings us closer
"Three years ago I began a project called, Chatting Across the USA. My students researched information about our state of Maine then used Skype to connect with third-grade classrooms around the country. Our first year, we conferenced with classrooms in all 50 states. My students teach other classrooms about the state of Maine and the reciprocating classrooms teach us about their states. Students write about what they learned in their 'Chatting Across the USA' journal. Technology is allowing these students to better understand how diverse and interesting our country is."
— Cherrie MacInnes, Brewster, Maine
Poor people skills
"I feel like it's dampened communication. It's made it more awkward to talk to people in person. We're so used to texting people that we can't sit down and have a good conversation."
—Marissa Miller, Minneapolis.
Work never ends
"The line between work and play keeps getting grayer, and it becomes far easier to goof off with the click of a button. Instant communication is great, but it is a pain for anyone who has your number to be able to contact you at anytime. It is a process to learn how to tune your phone out at times, but over time it gets easier."
— Jack Lanzi, New York City
Can't turn it off
"I love my iPhone, but sometimes I get a little distracted by it." J.R. Leupke, Minneapolis
Third-graders "are into video games, and in their seats they'll pretend like they're playing video games. It's very distracting."
— Jenna Dick, Minneapolis
"It's probably hurt us more than anything. There's so much information out there. You see what the kids are exposed to these days, I think it hurts. Maybe sometime it's information overload."
— Mike Gentle, Minneapolis.
On Monday's Talking Your Tech: Comedian Steve Harvey (Family Feud) talks about how he couldn't live without his iPhone 4S.
Next week on Talking Your Tech: Texting and Relationships. Tell us about how big a role it plays in your romantic lives, for a chance to be featured on USA TODAY.
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