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TECHNOLOGY HURTING TODAY’S YOUTH Essay

Technology Harming Today’s Youth

Technology Harming Today’s Youth

The 21st century is a remarkable time where everything is changing from tradition to technology. This has a profound effect on our youth and will have a greater effect on future generations. These times will shape the future generations for either a technology-reliant generation or shape and mold the future of tradition. The effect of young people having technology is overly apparent to teachers and their parents. Their kids get bored with things they loved to do as kids. The difference is they have television and many other technologies growing up that have shaped their minds into being entertained.

If they are not they will ignore, throw fits or simply not learn from the experience. Neil Postman warns in his book Amusing Ourselves to Death that education presented as entertainment undermines tradition. Traditions like learning from your teacher instead of an online application. Traditions like learning from the outside world around you by exploring it instead of digitally exploring the internet. Today teachers are attempting to turn technology into learning devices but much like Postman’s “rear-view mirror thinking”, the iPad and related devices are used for entertainment. The impact technologies like the iPad and iPod and introducing video games for “educational benefit” are not helping them socially, emotionally or educationally as much as harming them.

Social and Emotional Development
Technology has presented a new path to children and adults. This path allows them “escape into a virtual world” (Berkco, 2011, p. 1). Allowing kids to have devices at a young age permits them a lot of freedom to explore and get distracted by more entertaining things than the educators or parents intended to. They can find many things in this virtual world that will consume their lives including distracting them from education. This of course keeps them sitting at a computer accomplishing meaningless tasks with little or no educational benefit and turning them into internet addicts which often leads to obesity. One such example of a trend going on into today’s world is that our children are becoming more and more obese due to technology addictions that cause poor eating habits, low self-esteem and low self-worth. Often this is referred to as an epidemic by health officials.

In one report, parents voice their opinions that “children were choosing computer games over outside play and that this could lead to obesity” (Hollingsworth, 2011, p. 353). A study conducted in 2005 on the average time youth spends on media concluded that in the age groups of 8-18 years old spends “6 hours and 47 minutes with electronic media” (Wack, 2009, p. 241). Not only does technology aid in children becoming obese which leads to social problems, it also decreases social time conducted with others giving them poor social skills needed to be successful in life. Anand stated conclusively after a study done in 2007 that video game and internet use could be negatively associated to young adults “perceptions of self-worth” (Padilla-Walker, 2010, p. 108).

Video games and “educational” technologies via iPad only encourage young adults to use advanced technology on all aspects of their lives which has been linked to negative performance socially and leading our youth on a dangerous path to greater drug use, alcohol abuse and lower relationship quality. Introducing technology into education harms children who are supposed to be using it for education but will instead use it to text each other or play video games on their phones instead of learning. It gives them the option of escaping into their virtual world and damaging their capacity to socialize and emotionally connect to others.

Educational Development
Education is primarily taught by our parents. Teachers are just an extension of our parents and both play an enormous role in our education and shape how we view education for the rest of our lives. The tradition of listening and doing as you are told is fading away into technology being more of a priority to children than values of respect and discipline. It is easily visible to pick out attributes of children now versus our generation. Bercko (2011) found during a study conducted in Slovenia that students behavior ages 12-14 now compared to a generation a decade earlier were “less focused and worse in communication” and that “a great number of them are internet addicts” (p. 2). Bercko (2011) also reflects that when this generation is presented with a challenging problem that requires the internet, that his students after some time would start to watch YouTube or play video games instead of problem solving. This generation growing up as kids now with iPads will only carry this trait of solving problems with play into their future and make it hard for them to accomplish goals and succeed as adults. In America, kids are more than addicted to technology.

Every kid it seems has a cellphone now and is on it constantly without parental supervision. It reduces their attention spans and makes them incapable of concentrating on any one thing for too long. Mark Kelly (2012) wrote an article An apology to the 4g Generation and talks about the effects of constant cellphone usage and what it does to us. Kelly (2012) tells us it affects our lives terribly “when you can’t pay attention to any one thing for more than a few minutes, you can’t learn as well, you can’t communicate as well and you can’t think and write as well.” (para. 3) Research done by Anand in 2007 concluded that there was “a negative correlation between time spent playing video games and academic performance” (Padilla-Walker, 2011, p. 104) Implementing these sorts of addictions into an educational environment will not have the intended effects educators hope to gain.

Kelly (2012) states that people are doing poorly in school and in their personal lives “just because they’re addicted to gadgets.” (para. 4) Parents and teachers who think it is acceptable for young adults to have iPads and cellphones for education in their children’s early lives are dooming them to developing poor study habits, poor social interaction skills and lack of attention spans in all aspects of their lives, present and future.

The potential to have a positive effect in education is there and showing through in some places. Having an iPad to access online digital libraries is certainly one of them. There are ways to make technology conform to tradition; it just takes discipline and research. We use laptops and computers in dedicated settings most of the time even though we primarily use them for entertainment. Laptops and computers however are not iPads in the hands of grade school students. As adults we have learned control and discipline from our teachers and parents.

We have these traits instilled into us from upbringing and time developing them. Grade school students do not have this yet and to just give them such power and freedom to do what they want whenever they want at that age will make it hard for them to change into socially developed adults. Communication with others and developmental discussions with peers is critical in developing a good broad thought process and social networks and iPads do not provide that. It only distracts from learning through trial and error with friends. Making friends and losing friends is not something that can be done via Facebook. We, as adults, use these advances to keep in touch with people we do not see every day anymore like we used to. We use computers and technology to improve our own education especially in the military where we only have this option.

Technology in education can be beneficial to the right audiences such as the military or overseas students. There are some disadvantages and more problems with technology in education and should not be overlooked by parents or our educators. The lack of attention span, problem solving, critical thinking, social isolation and addiction that iPads and cellphones offer young adults and children outweigh the benefits at this current time. There are too many negatives to the future of these young adults. Technology such as iPads and cellphones in grade school students present too much of a distraction from learning and creates learning blocks. A time is coming for those things, it just is not now. “We have to find right solutions and to use them in most efficient way preventing young people from becoming technology addicted” (Bercko, 2011, p. 4)

References
Bercko, S., & Blatnik, S. (2011). NEW GENERATION LEARNING — OPEN QUESTIONS Technologica Acta, 4(1), 1-4. — Bangor Daily News — BDN Maine. Maine news, sports, politics and obituaries — Bangor Daily News — BDN Maine. Retrieved June 5, 2013, from http://bangordailynews.com/2012/05/13/opinion/an-apology-to-the-4g-generation/

Postman, Neil (1985, 2005). Amusing Ourselves to Death: Public Discourse in the Age of Show Business. Penguin Books.

Hollingworth, S. S., Mansaray, A. A., Allen, K. K., & Rose, A. A. (2011). Parents’ perspectives on technology and children’s learning in the home: Social class and the role of the habitus. Journal Of Computer Assisted Learning, 27(4), 347-360. doi:10.1111/j.1365-2729.2011.00431.x

Wack, E., & Tantleff-Dunn, S. (2009). Relationships between Electronic Game Play, Obesity, and Psychosocial Functioning in Young Men. Cyberpsychology & Behavior, 12(2), 241-244. doi:10.1089/cpb.2008.0151

Padilla-Walker, L. M., Nelson, L. J., Carroll, J. S., & Jensen, A. C. (2010). More Than a Just a Game: Video Game and Internet Use During Emerging Adulthood. Journal Of Youth & Adolescence, 39(2), 103-113.


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