Television was my window into the world. Growing up in Dorchester, we were poor. We didn’t have cable. We didn’t have cell phones. When I was a little girl, I saw my mom use a rotary phone. I thought it was the strangest thing.

My grandmother’s generation lived and they thrived in a low-tech society. There was a much greater sense community. People weren’t glued to screens. Kids went to the park. Libraries were the social hangouts. In today’s world, nothing is hidden. Secrets can be discovered in a few key strokes. Television is old school. People have internet lives.

Technology has made us less private and more vulnerable. As a teacher, I witness the vulnerability first hand. If some ill-informed gossip is posted on Facebook, my students are consumed by the drama. Arguments start online then escalate in the real world. Education grinds to a halt.

Technology can help us and it can hurt us. Technology can bring us together or tear us apart. People use social media for hate speech and body shaming. Technology can make us the best of friends or the worst of enemies. It all depends on how we use it. We’re in control. We should not let technology control us.

Shirley Jones-Luke is a poet, writer and educator from Boston, Massachusetts.