We are part of a country that is focused on making life easier and faster. Technology is something that is constantly on the rise, we are always looking for that new gadget better than the last that is meant to facilitate the everyday life. As a result, many people are starting to lose the ability to show emotions or even carry on a face-to-face conversation, therefore making it difficult for those individuals to develop appropriate social skills. Unfortunately, we fail to see the damage that is being caused by the amount of time being spent on texting, playing with video games, or spending countless hours on social networks as an alternative to making new acquaintances or spending quality time with their loved ones.
Let’s start with text messages, known as one of the most popular method of communication these days. It is an unavoidable fact that the text message has become a necessary part of our lives. Like with new couples, who are unable to attain an appropriate sense of what their new partner is actually like. These couples often prefer the convenience of texting as a way of getting to know each other, as opposed to talking on the phone or going on dates. What they fail to realize is that, by trying to maintain a relationship mostly through texting and with barely any physical interaction they are truly inhibiting their ability to assess reactions, expressions or feelings shown by the other person. Sadly, these couples usually choose to end their relationship before knowing if it truly had a chance to flourish into a something meaningful.
Although talking on a cellular phone while behind the wheel of a car has been proven to be dangerous, it has now taken a back seat to those drivers who surf the internet and text while on the road. According to a study done by The American Automobile Association, forty-six percent of teens who were interviewed admitted to being distracted behind the wheel because of texting. Many parents will instruct their children not to text while behind the wheel, when in all reality they are not following what they preach by continuing to put us all at risk. Overall, it is a real source of concern that these individuals are consciously adding to the increasing number of accidents on our roads today.
Then we have video games, which have been around for decades. In recent years, the popularity of video games has sky rocketed amongst our youth. Our children are learning how to hijack a car from a pregnant mother with her two kids, shoot a gangster with an automatic weapon, and even drag race down the streets of a quiet neighborhood, all from the comfort of their couch. The days of going outside to play with friends and bike riding have been replaced by sitting in front of a television set and playing with your Nintendo, Xbox, or PlayStation, just to name a few.
Homework and chores are often overlooked, but worse are the many parents that are using these gaming devices as babysitters as an alternative to spending quality time with their kids. Many parents remain satisfied by simply knowing that their children are safely in the house, dismissing the possibility their children are becoming couch potatoes with no social skills. Sadly, many of these children are not receiving any other exercise than what is given during their P.E. class in school. These are the children that will likely end up as obese, anti-social members of our society.
Lastly, we are now surrounded by social networking sites like Facebook, Myspace and Twitter that are dedicated to connecting friends and family that live all around the world with the intentions of increasing communication between them. Friends can post pictures, write about what they are doing at the moment, and surf other friends profiles. While we cannot deny the benefits that these sites may provide, we should also not fail to realize the many dangers that can be linked to these social networks. Computer viruses are one of the most common disadvantages seen with social networks, one wrong click and you could send all you personal information to some crook across the country.
But more damaging are the ill effects that our children are likely to encounter. Cyber bullying is much more intense and malicious than what some of us may have experienced in our high school hallways. Teasing, harassing, and name calling are now posted on the internet for everyone to see. In 2006, a teenage girl committed suicide for the constant bullying she received from her classmates and even one of their parents, her mother never suspected any of it. More importantly, many children and teenagers are now sharing too much information with strangers that they meet online, believing they are someone of their same age and with their same interests. Unknowingly, they are making themselves easy targets for predators of all kinds. This could possibly be avoided if parents were to limit the time spent online and diligently monitor their internet usage.
I understand that some people may disagree with my views on the damaging effects that could be associated with allowing too much technology into all aspects of our lives. At the end of the day, what are the benefits we are receiving from allowing technology to play such a large role in our lives? Are we coming together at the end of the day? The days of “family dinner time” are slowly becoming memories of the past. Fewer are the families that sit around a table to share a meal, socialize, and relate stories about their day. We are missing out on opportunities to bond with our children and watch them grow. As well as new couples that would benefit from more phone conversations and dates, perhaps giving themselves a better chance at a more meaningful and stable relationship, possibly reducing the current divorce rates.
It is a fact that we live in a world that technology has become a must in our lives. We are now dependent on cellular phones, and computers, while our children are consumed by their games. I also agree that all of the advancements made by technology are simply indented to somehow improve the way we function on a daily basis. But there should be a limit to how much technology we allow in our lives. Maybe we should make an effort to dedicate time to our families by turning off the cellular phone and put aside the computer a few nights a week. The benefits we will receive for maintaining a loving and nurturing relationship with our loved ones will continue to be evident for years to come.
Courtney from Study Moose
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