Digital Ethics Symposium

Growing up in a very rural part of Michigan, I saw Amish people and buggies very frequently. I have always been fascinated by Amish culture and was interested to listen to Lindsay Ems’ speech, “Approached to Amish Technology Use: The Body as an Optional, Ideal Communication Medium.”

Prior to Ems’ speech, I was unaware that Amish used any type of modern technology or new media at all. I didn’t even know that Amish used electricity. Ems acknowledged that the Amish culture uses technology, however, they use it very differently than our society does. She explained that they use cell phones, however, they moderate their cellphone usage. Cell phones don’t define their way of life, unlike our culture’s dependency on pocket computers and media.

Ems’ study showed that Amish value face-to-face interaction the most. In the Amish culture, there is a stronger sense of community. So many people are so invested in new media that they don’t look up from their phones to communicate with others or have simple face-to-face conversations. The Amish really do enjoy the simpler things in life that have more value than technology, so it’s no wonder that Amish population is growing.

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