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Teens Exhibit Addictive Traits with High Use of Technology

Alexa Conrad, Editor

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Our society is constantly transitioning to accept a higher quality of life through new technologies, yet some of us are left to wonder how this affects our generation.

How are we responding to this exponential growth of technological advancements?

Before us is a wide spectrum behind the integration of technology, and as we continue to get used to the idea of an artificial world, we ignore the possibility that we are promoting detrimental effects towards our society.

Benefits

Various benefits exist to applying technology to your life, since it allows you to complete multiple tasks simultaneously on one device. Whether it be checking through social media or completing a homework assignment, there are unlimited opportunities to using the newest technologies.

Communities are more connected through the use of social media, allowing individuals to connect over long distances. Social media also offers the pathway to fostering new relationships, as people can connect to each other through related friends or interests. A wide array of applications are available to cater to the interests and needs of individuals, offering not only entertainment but tools that can aid those in their jobs or schools. Tasks can be done at faster and more effective rates as everything is available to your demand at any time. We are kept up to date on all of the latest news and trends, keeping us more informed.

“It lets me get through life, and know what’s going on with the news like the latest updates,” Lakeria Austin (11) said.

Many other implications behind our advancements in technology help to better the daily lives of individuals. Research in medicine has soared at an increasing rate in terms of discovery and improvement. As we continue to reach our highest point in medical advancements, we approach breakthroughs that many thought impossible in their lifetime. Bionic eyes, genetic mapping, and more precise/effective cancer treatments all help to prove that we are approaching seemingly impossible goals at a rapid rate.

Obstacles

Our dependency on technology has escalated at an alarming rate. As more alternatives are offered to incorporate technology into daily activities, many find that it becomes increasingly difficult to separate themselves from the digital world. This aggrandizement of the amount of electronics added to our lives has allowed us to become dangerously dependent on the internet, creating an addiction that is hard to break from.

While many seem to deny their heavy dependency to their screens, a majority of teenagers exceed the maximum device time we should be restricting ourselves to.

The average high schooler should be reserving no more than two hours towards internet time in their day. However, we are finding that this time is being surpassed more each year as an increasing amount of apps are introduced to the younger target group.

Nationwide, teens spend about nine hours or more on their devices. As companies further cater to the interests of this younger audience, we are encouraged to be pulled even more into the cyber world. The online times increase, as well as the addiction.

“I agree that teens are most exposed to internet addiction. With new advancements in social media and constantly changing memes, I find myself increasingly distracted from important things, like schoolwork. A lot of times, I actually have to delete my social media apps. Otherwise, I will automatically find my finger tapping the app every time I pick up my phone,” Arianna Gaskins (12) said.

Survey

In order to grasp a better understanding on how severe this issue is at Radford, random students representing all grade levels were surveyed. They answered: how much time do you invest in technology at school, and how much time do you donate to electronics during leisure time. The results were not surprising, as many of the responses corresponded to my own.

In a survey done on 30 students, each was asked to choose the amount of time they spent towards technology in the classroom, and as leisure. The majority of the interviewed participants admitted that they spent two-three hours on technology in the classroom, with a small percentage who did not exceed one hour.

In regards to leisurely use of technology, the numbers skyrocketed past these results. Over 90 percent of students agreed that they used 9+ hours on the internet, not including the time spent for class use. A very small percentage proved to use three or less hours, proving that the two hour time limit on technology is rarely followed by students.

While it did not cover a larger portion of the student population at our school, this study gave an idea of the severity of this issue, showing that many completely disregard the fact that they are actually addicted to their phones, computers, and televisions.

Addiction

Many consequences erupt with internet addiction, ranging from a variety of long term impacts on your health. Mental development is heavily influenced through technology, as newer generations are further exposed to it at younger ages. Early exposure to computers and television screens leave children more vulnerable to dependency later in their life.

I grew up with a computer and television, as well as an Ipad. While this amount of technology seemed astounding to my parents (who grew up playing outside and reading books), this number of screens is far less disconcerting when compared to the number that children today have. Seeing 3 year olds navigating a phone just as effortlessly as me has been a shocking realization, as I witness the serious impact technology has on our younger generation.

This generation will be the most vulnerable to social media’s influence. While this may not sound like a threatening issue, imagine the implications social media can have on their health. While our generation developed alongside technology, this group will be immediately submersed into the digital world. They will be exposed to Photoshop and unrealistic standards, as public figures such as Kylie Jenner and makeup gurus promote unrealistic beauty models for younger children growing up that struggle with insecurity.

“When kids see musically artists in crops tops and girls with skinny bodies dancing to music, it affects them a lot. They want to be just like their Instagram star in the closest way possible,” Khryshondrai Hawkins (11) said.

In pushing the younger generation to be exposed to pictures that promote unrealistic body image and a shallow attitude, we could be teaching the wrong values to younger children.

Many other consequences derive from a lifestyle heavily saturated with media. Many students experience a decline in their grade point average, as their screens become such a huge distraction for them and they lose interest in school.

While it isn’t surprising news, a multitude of pernicious effects are associated with technology use. Not only can using your phone promote tendinitis, it can lead to arm/wrist pain, the straining of your eyes, headaches, muscle spasms, spine/neck damage, and many other complications. Screen time can also negatively impact your sleep schedule for numerous reasons.

For one, the addiction of social media can encourage an individual to prioritize social media and text over sleep, disregarding their health. Many teens are also guilty of staying on their devices right before bed, a habit that can have an adverse impact on one’s ability to fall asleep. Not only does an increased screen time result in suppressed melatonin levels, it can also discourage alertness during the day, and heavily impacts sleep schedule stability.

So how are we to alleviate the ominous future that technology addiction holds towards our health and mentality? By taking small steps to mitigate the impact technology has on our lives, you will be better defending yourself from the adverse effects it promotes. You will better your physical and mental welfare, and  break the internet addiction.

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Teens Exhibit Addictive Traits with High Use of Technology