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Everyone has seen the moody, withdrawn kid with music blasting out of his white earbuds, or the girl rapidly texting on her phone.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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Setizia said...
Jul. 16, 2012 at 3:19 am

I'll be perfectly honest with you: so far, your essay is the only I've seen that follows the general 5-paragraph essay format, though each support is split into 2 paragraphs.

Extremely well written, with a strength that is perfectly balanced with formal prose. Great uses of quotes and published sources! I would also compliment the sentence variety and grammar, but that would make me sound like an English teacher.

However, I would also like to mention that, some people swear upon... (more »)

laiba replied...
Jul. 24, 2012 at 1:17 pm
 your essay is well help me alot in my work thanks!
ChickenLegHouse replied...
Sept. 20, 2012 at 7:06 am
Earbuds are good. They come in handy when I listen to music in public because then I can just put in one ear and still hear what people are saying to me. They also fit in my pocket if I need to do something. So I don't think that listening to music is makeing me any more anti-social than I already was.
alexboss said...
May 9, 2012 at 4:35 pm
I personaly think this is dumb because technology is a good thing it has also helped some people i know stay out of trouble and saying people listening to music means they are trying not to communicate with the world is like saying makeing a building isnot communicateing with out world if it wasnt for technology you would be stupid as !@#$ so makeing assumptions about people who do certain things is dumb just means that s/he wants to listen to music because they like it or it keeps them from doi... (more »)
VeggieLoverForever replied...
Sept. 21, 2012 at 9:01 pm
Um okay. Technology is good, sometimes. But if your constantly texting or listing to music, it can be harmful. Too much of anything is not good for you, especially when you are developing. Technology is not a nesscessity. When you are excesizing or relaxing, or maybe, even studing having earplugs in is helpful and beneficial, but not all the time.  
pebbles22854 replied...
May 8, 2014 at 10:02 am
TECHNOLOGY has goods sides and Bad sides to it !!!!!!!!!!!!!!
fabme said...
Mar. 30, 2012 at 6:48 am
i wanna know when was this article published? and i wanna know also the complete name of the author because her article really suits our research.. please reply :) i badly need the information 
chesnie replied...
Jun. 26, 2012 at 3:16 pm
I would really like to know the full name of the author also so I can use this article in my speech
Vixenfur said...
Feb. 14, 2012 at 10:04 am
I agree with this article, it is very well written and intelligent. But I will bring up a few points. The entire internet isn't created by fake people. Yes, there are weird people out there who fake their identity. But, if you are an intelligent teenager who uses the internet maturely, you can easily tell the difference between an internet-created person and a real human. I've met some friends in real life that I've met only online before- with hesitation. I make sure I video-chat with this pers... (more »)
MaxRide said...
Feb. 13, 2012 at 7:40 pm
In my opinion, I think we should go back a couple years where there is no facebook, twitter, or anything like that, but there is this website, some ipods (not ipads), and people still call each other. Techonology makes talking to people face to face awkward. Nowadays, kids aren't used to growing up playing outside and calling people. They are used to play "outside" on a computer game and texting everyone. I totally agree with this, and even though I love my iPod, i think Steve Jobs should ... (more »)
memalloy said...
Jan. 30, 2012 at 1:29 pm
im doing an article reveiw on this article and i need to know the authors name. anyone know?
emma_rogate14 said...
Jan. 13, 2012 at 7:08 am
I agree that technology can be bad for people, but it's also very useful now days to have all those things since the world is adding more high-tech things into it.
galfam said...
Jan. 11, 2012 at 7:06 am
While I agree that technology has its negative side effects, the positive outcomes greatly outweigh the negative, in my opinion. Think about life without it: in hospitals, while driving, everywhere in life you use it.
bthrower said...
Sept. 29, 2011 at 8:26 pm
the internet is anarchism in its purist form
Pumpkinscout said...
Sept. 12, 2011 at 11:51 am
I agree it is unhealthy to have all online relationships. I mean, someone could be chatting with you and say they are a 13-year-old girl in Florida when they are a 40-year-old man in South Dakota! Not a good thing! And I have noticed when I text my friends, I tend to sometimes say things I wouldn't normally, because I would be too shy face to face. So I think I need to cut back on texting and work on talking more :)
bthrower replied...
Sept. 29, 2011 at 8:27 pm
i don't though most of my offline realationships are "healthy" the brotherhood of the riot, brothers in arms, warriors of the black bloc
Yours sahil replied...
Apr. 8, 2013 at 10:41 am
I agree that do happen to ppl some times technology is good but not alwayz
JusticeLiberty said...
Aug. 21, 2011 at 8:04 pm

I think cyberbullying is another big issue that needs discussion and solution. It's a big problem and it's LEGAL in the UNITED STATES! :( Kinda depressing that such a wonderful nation seems to enforce such acts of cruelty.


pianoman95 said...
Feb. 27, 2011 at 7:39 pm
I don't think technology is that big of a problem. I definitely think it has some pros and cons but things like the DS or PS3 or whatever are things we eventually grow out of and moderate when we get older. Its not like teens don't know the difference between reality and non-reality. We get reality everyday at school, thats where alot of our stress comes from. Plugging into our iPods and playing videogames is the way we take a break. Escaping from reality is not a bad thing, in fact its probably... (more »)
musiqqlvr31 said...
Feb. 6, 2011 at 8:56 am

Totally agree with u..but the problem is 

How can we live without it? Its everywhere! From the grocery store to our rooms to school.I wish it wasnt so complicated

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