How Technology Affects Us This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. This work has won the Teen Ink contest in its category.

January 9, 2010
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Everyone has seen the moody, withdrawn kid with music blasting out of his white earbuds, or the girl rapidly texting on her phone. The youth of today are constantly immersed in technological advancements that promote nonstop communication and instant gratification, whether through cell phones, gaming systems, laptops, or MP3 players. But are these technological advancements a good thing? I believe that the growth of technology has negatively influenced the social interactions of today's youth because it isolates individuals from reality, hinders communication, and perpetuates the concept of immediate ­satisfaction.

Technology is a negative influence on us because it separates individuals from reality. The iPod is one example; by putting in your earbuds and immersing yourself in music while in public, you are disconnecting yourself from the real world. “For some people, the main appeal of the iPod is that it preoccupies you so that you do not have to deal with the uncontrollable factors of everyday life,” writes Krystle Song, a University of California, student on her website “Attack of the iZombies.”

The ability for people to surround themselves with the familiar by using their iPod is appealing because it rarely provides the listener with something unexpected or unknown. However, it can be argued that this is a bad thing. By constantly being cut off from personal interactions and new experiences because of a technological device, a generation with substandard social abilities is being groomed. If we do not have to face reality by experiencing new things, making personal relationships, and problem solving, then we will never be able to function as adults.

Technology hinders personal communication, which negatively impacts our age-group. Although “our culture heralds the Internet as a technological wonder, there are suggestions that Internet use has a negative influence on individuals and their social skills,” writes Bob Affonso in his article, “Is the Internet Affecting the Social Skills of Our Children?” Data shows that those who use the Internet frequently spend over 100 minutes less time with friends and family than non-Internet users, according to Norman H. Nie and D. Sunshine Hillygus in their paper “The Impact of Internet Use on Sociability.”

The Internet actually detracts from the communication abilities of society, especially the young. When our communication skills are gradually lessened, we begin “spending less time talking to families, experiencing more daily stress, and feeling more lonely and depressed,” writes Affonso. In our formative teen years, lack of personal communication due to excessive Internet usage can have an overall negative effect on mental and physical health. Communication skills are critical for everyone, yet use of the Internet is undermining this development.

Technology negatively affects us by perpetuating the mindset of immediate satisfaction. The creation of various portable technological devices has slowly ingrained the idea of instant gratification. With gadgets like the PS3 or Nintendo DS, which allow users to play games anywhere, or cell phones that let us keep in touch virtually everywhere and at any time, we grow up learning that whenever we want pleasure or enjoyment, it will automatically be granted to us.

Some argue that the Internet has a positive effect on social interactions because it allows us to form friendships online. However, the capacity to meet “a virtually unlimited number of people through chat rooms, bulletin boards, and other services,” is actually extremely negative, write Jean-Francois Coget and Yamauchi Yutaka in their paper, “Untangling the Social ­Impact of the Internet.” There are dangerous people on the Internet who are a threat to young people. The ability to access anything and everything someone posts without knowing if their intent is malicious is a downside to the open transfer of information available on the Internet. While Coget and Yutaka claim that “the Internet can foster openness, self-confidence, and a greater sense of ease and comfort in dealing with others … the Internet can even provide opportunities by freeing those who are too depressed to conduct a social life in the real world,” it is extremely unhealthy to make and sustain all of your social interactions online. We will not be positively impacted by communicating through a computer screen if we already do not have the self-confidence to socially interact in reality.

I believe the advancement of technology has negatively impacted our social interactions because it detaches us from what is happening around us, obstructs communication, and spreads the concept of instant gratification. Society must be able to utilize technology while not allowing it to impede social interactions, particularly for those who are easily influenced during our formative years. Our world must learn to embrace technology without allowing it to negatively impact the creation of functional adults in society.

This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.

This work has won the Teen Ink contest in its category. This piece won the March 2011 Teen Ink EBSCO POV Contest.

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This article has 82 comments. Post your own now!

awesomesnook said...
May 11, 2014 at 8:17 pm
You write save the trees on a piece of paper.
blake 72 replied...
Sept. 8, 2014 at 2:41 pm
yes u should that is a good idea :) nice thinkin 
john swifter said...
Apr. 11, 2014 at 9:43 am
nice one hey....u really got that person hey...
ali12345 said...
Apr. 7, 2014 at 12:18 pm
ya  you are right 
Anonon said...
Mar. 26, 2014 at 1:47 pm
I think your definition of technology in this case is wrong. I think what you're trying to talk about is celluar devices, and the internet. Keep in mind, cars, trains, even many of the equipment you use to see the world is a result of technology. Don't get me wrong,  I agree with the idea of your essay.
bombbass replied...
Apr. 30, 2014 at 10:11 am
first of all technology is cell phones and internet  yes you are right on your part of this conversation but the article is useing technology as in cell phones as a subject setting 
your mom replied...
Nov. 15, 2014 at 4:51 pm
technology is transortation not just cellphones and stuff  
sevenstar said...
Feb. 18, 2014 at 10:12 am
good job guys
john swifter said...
Feb. 12, 2014 at 7:22 am
if technology is bad how did you comment you used a laptop how do you stay in touch with family and friends you use a phone 
Deej6595 said...
Nov. 10, 2013 at 6:44 pm
I agree with your stance. This is short but, gets to the point and provides enough information for the reader. Great job!
sunshine said...
Aug. 16, 2013 at 1:13 pm
i agree with you. I think this is a very good comment.
lxxney said...
Aug. 16, 2013 at 9:10 am
i liked it it was really good
DoriAnKai said...
Apr. 22, 2013 at 4:45 pm
i completely and absolutely agree with this article. Despite technolgoy being a driving force which has encouraged a world-wide development and enabled easy and fast communication, the mis uses of technology is costing today's society, specially to the young. Experiencing new things every day is vital for our learning (im 17 years old) and, as others have said in previous comments, technology is ment to make thing easy, and has facilitated everything too much. Try leaving your phone at home ... (more »)
Doctor said...
Apr. 16, 2013 at 11:01 pm
Look if you're going to write an article that badmouths' the internet and, new technology in general I think you oughta pay attention to the language you're using. Technology, well... is sort of a broad term. Every single thing you mostly use throughout your lives is a result of technology or, even is a seperate form of technology itself. So when you are trying to write about, how well people are spending too much time in front of a screen rather than, outside with friends and, f... (more »)
Football25 replied...
Jan. 30, 2014 at 12:24 pm
Yes you are completely right
TrollingDummies_YOLO said...
Dec. 3, 2012 at 8:06 pm
I'm terribly sorry to burst everyones bubble, but you do realize we wouldn't have even seen this if it wern't for technology.. Just saying.. You contradict yourself when you say to lay off technology..
Slahsberg replied...
Dec. 25, 2012 at 1:43 am
All they are saying is that technology holds us back from having better social interactions. Technology has great tools for productivity yes - but it is used WAY too much for entertainment if you ask me. We neglect so much... it makes me sad.
VeggieLoverForever said...
Sept. 21, 2012 at 8:54 pm
Exactly!!!!!!! Young people need to take their eyes off the screen for a few minutes and see the world in natural view!!!!!!!!!
Slahsberg replied...
Dec. 25, 2012 at 1:46 am
It's not just young people. It's everyone. Most everyone that has a smartphone has to have it with them constantly and that really bothers me   
Winky Zhe said...
Sept. 20, 2012 at 5:56 am
I appreciate this article, for lots of quotations and some datas are shown in the passage to support the author's ideas. However, I think the opinions were a little bit extreme. Apart from some disadvantages, the development of the technology has really brought our human beings many benifits. So I think the author can also give some positive ideas at the beginning and then talk about the weak points of this development.
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Aug. 6, 2012 at 10:20 pm
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