Effects Of Technology
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The Effects of Technology
There is no escape from technology. In most cases this is not a problem though. Many people respect and admire technology because it is there to benefit them. Without the technological advances we have had over the years, the world would not be what it is today. What people don’t understand is that technology can actually be a bad thing. In society today, people are looking for more and more ways to be entertained, and all it is doing is causing problems. People are doing less and less thinking and more and more watching, listening, and playing, all because of technology.
Forms of entertainment like the Internet, television and even video games seem harmless to people, but they are really not. When the Internet was first introduced, people never thought it would be as big as it is today. The Internet is an easy to use technology that can do just about anything. But what people don’t understand is that the Internet is not all good. Much of the information posted on sites on the Internet is merely opinions, not factual information. When people look at this information, it looks and seems like trustful information, but most of the time, it is not.
Although the Internet is a relatively new technology, television has been around for about fifty years. There are many problems with television though,
mainly with the content of the shows. Many of the shows on television portray violence, drugs, sexual activity, and profanity. People who watch these shows see what the actors and actresses are doing and then feel it is all right for them to do the same things. If a kid is watching a show were one of the actors or actresses use profanity, they will feel it is all right for them to use the same language.
When television first came on the market about fifty years ago, families had one television at the most in the household, and most families only used the television for the news or for an occasional show or two. Today, it is a rarity if you find only one television in a household. Most families have numerous televisions in their house and use it more and more for entertainment purposes. People of all ages are addicted to television. On average, people watch about thirty hours of television a week. But the people who go beyond this mark are known to society as “couch potatoes';.
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The “couch potatoes'; are the people who sit in front of the television for hours on end, and will only get out of their seat to get something to drink or to go to the bathroom. Social gatherings and even family communication is being affected by the amount of television people are watching. At the beginning, people didn’t know what they were going to do with a television, but now the question is how could people survive without a television.
The Internet and Television are probably the two biggest technologies that are affecting people today. Video games though are another technology that is
affecting the individual, mainly teenagers and kids. Much like television, video game problems come with the content of the game. Many of the video games on the market today are structured toward violence. The objective of these games is to either beat your opponent up or kill your opponent. Kids play these games, and much like television, see what the game is portraying and feel it is all right to do the same things.
Whether it is the Internet, television, or even video games, technological advancements have their advantages and disadvantages. People never think that something that is said to be so good can actually have a bad side to it. People get too caught up in things sometimes that they forget what it is there for. People have to learn to use technology the right way so they can get the best out of it without overusing it.
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 piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.
This piece won the March 2011 Teen Ink EBSCO POV Contest.