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Technology and Teenagers

The typical day of a teenager consists of the following: shortly after rising out of bed, blasting music from our iPods to help us wake up. Then we drive to school while quickly checking Instagram on the way. During school we tend to check our phones between classes, and spend about 20 minutes in each class on our laptops, adding up to approximately 2 and a half hours total of looking at a screen in school. After the final bell rings, students check their cell phones yet again, and once home promptly turn on the television.

We open up our laptops to begin our homework, but instead of studying Algebra we study status updates and rants on Twitter. After finally finishing homework, Pinterest is the source of fascination for about another hour or so. Dinner is the only time when the whole family can be together during the day. However, factoring in the fact that we might have sports, there are some days when we never have the chance to see the faces of those closest to us. After dinner, the videogames commence. Whether it is Call of Duty or Dance Central, we all spend time playing these mind-mushing games.

The only break we really have from technology is sleeping and even so, most teenagers sleep with their phone (just in case an important Twitter feed pops up). With all of this updating, texting, tweeting, chatting, uploading, downloading, following and typing, we teens seem to lose sight of what is truly important around us.

A recent Penn State study shows that the average child (aged 8-18) spends 7 and a half hours looking at a screen per day. According to this study, “There is a direct correlation of amount of hours spent with gadgets and obesity, poor grades, impatience, violence, and a loss of family interest”. Today, over 9 million children from the ages of 6-19 are obese. Elementary students consume 20% of their daily calorie intake while watching television, usually because of enticing ads for junk food. And I know many of us have watched “The Biggest Loser” while eating a bowl of ice cream; quite ironic.

Multi-tasking on electronics also does not help with children’s academics. On average, 16-18 year-olds do 7 different activities all at one time. These activities include searching Facebook, Twitter, texting, watching television and working on laptops while trying to finish homework. This may seem like it would help us teens learn to multi-task. However, in reality, it restricts us by only allowing us to pay partial attention to everything. According to a study at the University of Rhode Island, distracting ourselves with so many electronics draws us away from focusing on one subject. When it really matters, teenagers will be incapable to concentrate when needed. All of this technology is stealing away our creativity, as claimed by Oprah. It turns us into “mind-numbing zombie-like creatures”.

Too much technology for teenagers has a detrimental cost to family life. Electronics hurt relationships that are the most important to us. Because technology is so addictive, especially to younger children, it pulls them away from family as well as intellectual growth. Because gadgets break face-to-face communication, we are beginning to lose understanding of how to verbally interact. Parents now send texts to their children telling them that “It’s time for dinner!” or to “Come downstairs I need to tell you something”. Studies have shown that when children today grow up, it will be very difficult to connect with their spouses. Our first instinct when we are idle for even just a moment is to pick up a gadget and occupy ourselves. We do not understand how to carry out a full conversation without busying ourselves with something else. Even my 11-year-old brother claims to be “obsessed” with his iPod. He is known to be one of the most athletic and smartest students in his 5th grade class. This just shows that even the brightest children will face problems with oral communication someday.

I find this information to be quite disturbing, really. To think that we probably could not survive a week without seeing some sort of screen or electronic must change soon. It is vital to our wellbeing for they are distracting and drawing us away from everything that really counts in our lives. Everyone falls victim to it, but we can also limit the amount of time spent on these gadgets. Some ways to replace technology are by playing games in the car, going on outdoor adventures or picking up a good book. Motivation is key, and it isn’t necessarily about losing electronics totally, but instead restricting the time spent on them. In this way, we can all focus on what is truly important in our lives.



Works Cited
Hatch, Kristina E. "Determining the Effects of Technology on Children." Digital
Commons. Honors Program at the University of Rhode Island, May 2011. Web. 14 Feb. 2013.
"Negative Effects of Technology on Children." Personal Penn State University. N.p., 21 Mar. 2010. Web. 14 Feb. 2013.
Newman, Stephanie. "Does Technology Harm Teen Relationships?." Psychology Today. N.p., 16 Jan. 2012. Web. 14 Feb. 2013.
Winfrey, Oprah. "Children and Technology ." Oprah. N.p., 1 Jan. 2008. Web. 14 Feb. 2013.



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