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Technology in America Today—Good or Bad?

By , Smithtown, NY
Toddlers tottering around with iPhones, elementary school-aged children texting, and students struggling to do math without a calculator show us exactly how much Americans depend far too greatly on their technological gadgets. Technology consumes almost every aspect of Americans’ lives. They abuse its use to their own detriment. In modern society cell phones, laptops, educational toys, Global Positioning Service (GPS) devices, BlackBerries, and iPads have become the norm. If these devices fail or afflict us in some way, tourists may find themselves completely lost in some remote location with a broken GPS, children’s brains may develop with a malady, or “couch potatoes” may gain excess weight.

Televisions, computers, and game consoles all encourage the “couch potato” mentality; they prevent children from spending time exercising their minds or playing outside. TV—a common “scapegoat” for laziness, obesity, ADD/ADHD, and the inability to focus—causes all sorts of medical, mental, and physical issues. Leah Klungness, Ph.D., of “TechNewsWorld” states that incessant exposure to “TV marathons,” violent video games, instant messaging, and the always accessible cell phone interfere with the development of the psychological traits essential to positive outcomes for children. On average the American child watches three to four hours of TV a day, despite recommendations from the American Academy of Pediatrics that children should watch no more than an hour or two a day and that children under two should watch no television at all (“TV-watching guidelines for toddlers”). This study also proves that watching TV under the age of two harms brain development.

Furthermore, TV, video games, and other visual stimulants stifle creativity. Children plopped in front of the television use no creativity. According to an Associated Press story published on MSNBC.com, the 2004 study “suggested that TV might overstimulate and permanently ‘rewire’ the developing brain” (“25 Surprising Ways You Are Harming Your Brain”). With iPads, laptops, and cell phones consuming everyday lives, picking up and board game or drawing can seem slow and bothersome. Generally, going on Facebook or listening to music uses less energy and in this “on-the-go” nation, which demands people cut back on time as much as possible. Choosing the path of least resistance must change, or creativity in American children will suffer.

Parents who lack the time to read to their children seek help from educational toys. In a day and age when parents vie for spots in the top preschools before their children have barely taken their first steps, it should come as no surprise that consumers embark in the quest to jumpstart their children's education. Turning to toys and products that fuel the learning process looks like a natural step in that direction. Because so many Americans depend on toys like Leap Frog to read to their children, only approximately four percent of US families spend three hours or more reading to their children each week (Brill). Although Baby Einstein on the TV or Reader Rabbit on the computer can teach early reading skills, at the same time, though, mothers cannot bond with their toddlers. Ever since Reader Rabbit claimed to give children a head start towards reading, the hours parents used to spend reading to their child has diminished.


In the classroom students rely too heavily on use of calculators. Students have become so dependent on calculators that they cannot locate their mistakes, therefore not teaching them how to accurately execute a math problem. ScienceDaily.com titles an article “Calculators Okay In Math Class, If Students Know The Facts First, Study Finds.” This article also explains that students who already had established multiplication skills, using the calculator before taking the test had no impact. But for those who do not have as developed skills in multiplication, using the calculator had a negative impact on their performance. America needs to teach children how to properly workout a math problem before shoving a calculator in their face.

GPS devices can send off unreliable information. As reported by the Associated Press, a couple has faithfully followed their GPS’s directions into Oregon’s wilderness and got lost. Sent to a remote national forest road by their SUV’s GPS device on Christmas day, a Nevada couple, John Rhodes and Starry Bush-Rhodes got extremely lost. After three days lost in the forest, they got a weak signal on their cell and got winched out by Klamath Country sheriffs (Mortensen). This case exemplifies how depending on our “gadgets” can foil the best-laid plans for a nice camping trip.

Americans have clearly become enamored with technology. It has taken over our lives and cursed us with overstimulation, obesity, laziness, and misleading information. Television use has harmed brain development in young children and in adults has provoked bad health habits. Whether devices result in getting us lost in Oregon’s wilderness because of a broken GPS or students overusing their calculators instead of learning their multiplication tables, Americans need to cut back on their use of technological devices. If not Americans run the risk of becoming victims of obesity, overstimulation, ADD/ADHD, or even poor brain development.





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