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Is Our Society too Dependent on Computers? Computers have found their way into just about every aspect of our lives, and in most cases, they make things easier for us. They allow people to work from home, socialize with friends and family, and they provide an ever-welcome stress relief from school or work. Since their invention, people far and wide have become increasingly dependent on computers. Children today are growing up in a world where computers are needed to do everything from controlling vicious heat seeking missiles to saving lives.
The computers role in education is growing with increasing investments and technological innovation. The computer is a good thing, but the world must proceed with caution and a critical eye. As people increasingly rely on computers to get through the day, the question begs to be asked: is our society too dependent on computers? Despite the many benefits of computers, there are also a number of arguments against them, one of which is the negative effect some believe they are having on children’s education. Illiteracy is a growing issue, and many say that computers are to blame.
In the past few years, many teachers have taken to shuffling their students off to a computer to type out short, quick assignments that could easily be written out by hand. While this is not much of an issue for older students, it is an issue for the younger students who are just learning to read and write. Regardless of how much we are coming to rely on computers, printing and handwriting are a necessary skill to have. But typing out assignments has an effect on more than just the ability to print; it can also negatively impact their spelling and grammar.
While most programs now have spelling and grammar-check, they are not foolproof; they cannot differentiate between groups of words that have the same spelling but different meanings and will often times suggest corrections that are not, in fact, correct. Furthermore, information is often more easily and accurately remembered when children have to spend a little time writing it out by hand, rather than a few quick minutes typing away at a keyboard. Because of these factors some believe, computers in school should be reserved for older students, longer assignments, or classes which specifically teach how to use a computer.
Another case against computers arises when a person’s interest in computers goes too far and becomes an obsession. Computers make it possible to do many things from the comfort of our own home; we can shop online, keep in touch with our friends online, even go to school online. They make it easier to record and organize information and entertain us with a nearly endless variety of games. However, it is still important to maintain a life outside of the cyber world.
When a computer becomes the central point of a person’s life, they undergo a change in behavior; they become idle and develop anti-social tendencies, and, in some severe cases, simply cannot function without a computer. It is a common thing seen in children who have been allowed to spend too much time on the computer, watching television, or playing video games but when it comes time to walk away, they throw temper tantrums. But it is not just a matter of behavioral changes, when a person cannot tear themselves away from the screen long enough to take part in any other activity, it can take a toll on their health.
They may experience weight gain, strained eyes, and headaches, among other unpleasant side-effects. Computers can also have a negative effect on the environment. Firstly they are a major source of energy consumption. Whole buildings are full of desks running computers day and night, causing a major drain on our natural resources. New computers become outdated far too quickly. Manufacturers are developing hardware at such a vast rate that people feel the need to upgrade. After upgrading the old hardware is obsolete and is usually disposed of.
There are a lot of harmful substances that make up a modern computer, and these should, but are not always disposed of correctly. Many end up in landfills. These are just examples of issues with household computers. Instead of writing a check, people whip out their debit/ credit cards to pay for things when they are short on cash. What happens when the internet goes down and they are stuck in the checkout line with two hundred dollars worth of groceries, and no way to pay for them because they do not have a blank check?
What happens when everyone is driving their fancy, futuristic cars that run on a computer chip and something goes wrong? In a few hundred years, will anyone know how to drive the cars of today? People put their computers through a lot of grief because they don’t quite know what they’re doing when they decide to fix a problem or clean up their hard drive, but there are also errors in programming, bugs that need to be fixed long after the product is out on the market, and there are always people trying to ruin a perfectly good thing with nasty computer viruses.
Perhaps the most convincing argument, however, is the issue of safety. Aside from the issue of sharing personal information such as full names and addresses, there is also the bigger issue of stolen personal information. As our dependence on computers grows, so does our comfort level with them, people are more likely to save personal information to our computer. While it would be nice to think that it is always perfectly safe to do so, the fact is that there are predators that have any number of ways to gain access to personal files, and therefore, any personal information stored on your computer.
Even if you do not knowingly keep any personal information on your computer, if you bank or shop online at all, it is possible for someone who knows what they are doing to gain access to delicate financial information. There is also the threat of younger computer users being introduced to violence and sex. As many negative aspects as there are against computers there are also positive ones. The first computers differed drastically from the ones we are accustomed to using. They were so massive that they occupied whole rooms or buildings and were also relatively slow.
Nowadays they can perform many complex operations simultaneously and there are numerous jobs that could not be done without the aid of a computer. Imagine how much paper would be wasted and how many trees would have to be cut down just to save the information that is today saved on a computer. Computers can also calculate and process information faster and more accurate than a human. There is an ever-increasing desire to get children started learning early, even before schools start.
Pre-Kindergarten programs or parent teaching is necessary for preschoolers to be prepared for a kindergarten curriculum that no longer starts with the absolute basic skills and knowledge. Kindergarten has a more advanced curriculum than it did years ago, and technology is available to help parents teach kids the basics before they ever go to school. There are many educational websites that feature games based on math, spelling, color recognition, reading and other basic educational necessities that children enjoy playing.
Getting practice in this way, prior to enrollment, allows school systems to start at a higher level. The easy access and sharing capability of the Internet allows students to access study guides, tests and even grades through their computers. In addition to making these materials available to students on their home computers, there is the fact that this technology allows schools to save money on printing and save time on distributing paper copies of everything a student needs to know. Not every student has the same mental and physical ability.
Therefore, there must be ways to convey information and allow for completion of work that vary with some students. Technology plays an important role in providing assistive devices to learning or physically disabled students. The computer era has unveiled new career dimensions. Specialists are required by companies, organizations, governments and other bodies to run the computer innovations in these areas. Globalization has resulted to a more search and availability of international career opportunities. Through the Internet, organizations can advertise their job vacancies to the society regardless of border limits.
They can source for manpower from all the spheres of the world. Timely and up to date information is now moved from one point to another in order to reach the intended audience. The core issue is that, there is faster and convenient transmission of this data to the destination point. Think of for example, the Internet, you log on to the Web and minutes after, you have written down your content and placed the send button and instantaneously its delivered to the another part of the world. This is truly amazing. Another area computers impact is the entertainment area.
Most people like science fiction or action movies, especially the ones with the neat looking effects. Well, those graphics were mostly made by computers. Most of the movies today use computer graphics to make things more realistic. Computer graphics are mostly used to create spaceships, aliens, monsters, and special effects. Movies like Jurassic Park, Starship Troopers, Star Wars SE, and the latest Star Trek Movies used computers to make them look more interesting and realistic. There are even movies completely made by computers like Toy Story and A Bugs’ Life.
Finally, the most signigicant role computers play is in the medical field. Their uses include storing patient related data, housing knowledge bases, scanning and imaging the body, and facilitating speedy communications. Patient records are stored on computer databases in the medical field. Details of the medications prescribed are stored together with details of any that cannot be prescribed. Appointments are scheduled using a computer database. Billing information is also stored. Hospitals and surgeries depend on computers for administrative and financial functions.
Hospital monitoring equipment is often based on computer programming. Emergency alarms, bed beeping systems and X-ray machines are all examples of equipment using computer technology. Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and computer tomography (CT) employ computer software. High-resolution images are achieved with the use of sophisticated computers and infrared cameras. Some surgical procedures are even computer guided. Computers also monitor heart rates, pulse rates and brain readings. It would be virtually impossible for a human to do this.
Computer networking facilitates fast communication. Doctors on opposite sides of the world can communicate instantly via the internet. Images and messages can be exchanged in seconds and conclusions can be reached speedily. Computers are also used in the medical field in the manufacture of medications. Patients benefit from readily available information on the internet. Computer applications help in research studies. Computers are a must have in every medical profession. Computers have impacted the way we live on a large scale.
You will find computers in hospitals, libraries, schools and banks, each running tasks that would be difficult for people to do on their own. The computer has been widely considered as one of the greatest inventions of the 21st century, but it also is blamed for many day-to-day problems and even tragic events. As computer technology advances, the effects will continue to change the world for better or worse. One thing is apparent computers and the technologies they possess are not going anywhere therefore society will become increasingly dependent upon them.