Does technology hurt or improve the lives of teenagers?
By: Bayne Basche
Technology has taken over everyone's life, especially teenagers and mine. Everyday I find myself using my phone, and computer. I use my phone to communicate with friends by texting and snapchatting for a large portion of my day. I also find myself scrolling through my Twitter and Instagram feed whether it’s at school or at home it truly doesn’t matter. Phones and computers allow everyone to communicate with each other. They also allow everyone share pictures and videos within seconds and everyone is constantly doing it. In addition, technology allows anyone to stream movies, or videos using Netflix and YouTube which consumes more of our time too. With that being said, I believe that technology is hurting the lives of teenagers because we are constantly distracted from our daily lives, and teenagers now tend to rely on indirect communication instead of direct communication.
One of the biggest ways that technology hurts the lives of teenagers is by how much it distracts us from our daily tasks. For example, the day I wrote this blog post I tried my best to stay focused so I could get it done quickly and efficiently. But, I was distracted quite a bit by group messages, snapchats and Instagram notifications from my friends. According to CNN, “teens are, on average, spending nine hours a day consuming media” (Wallace). If a teenager spends nine hours using their phone, that is about two more hours than the time teenagers spend in school. That is crazy to think about. There are only 24 hours in a day and more than ⅓ of our day we spend on our devices. During that nine hours, teenagers try to complete homework and other tasks but it is no wonder they take longer than they should or don’t get done. Companies like Apple are also doing a very good at providing substitutes, like Apple Watches that are constantly on our wrist and have a lot of the same capabilities as a cell phone.
Another way that technology is hurting the lives of teenagers is by how teenagers tend to rely on communicating through email and texting instead of meeting face to face or talking on the phone. I can speak for myself and most of my fellow Insight students in my class for this problem we have. While we deal with real businesses and adults we sometimes stray away from calling our mentors, or businesses when we need help or information right away. Instead we resort to trying to email or text the professionals because that is what we are comfortable with. This is a negative externality with the development and increased demand for technology because teenagers have become dependent on technology. But, if we used our phones to call them instead and have a conversation it would save time, and resolve the problem quicker.
Besides those drawbacks with technology there are also some positive externalities, and advantages it provides. One of the most important and useful advantages that technology and cell phones, in particular, have provided teenagers with is the capability to call 9-1-1 or their parents in case of an emergency. Also, as a teenager it is really nice to be able to talk to my friends, and look at social media whenever I want even though I can use it too much sometimes. According to mashable.com, “teenage females send an average of 4,050 texts a month and teenage males send an average of 2,539 texts a month” (Parr). With this being said, texting can be beneficial because most of time when teenagers talk to their friends we tend to have shortened, and abbreviated conversations that really wouldn’t be worth talking over the phone about. So, sending a lot of short texts, quickly can be just as useful as talking on the phone.
Ultimately teenagers are using technology quite a bit. Sometime we use it for pleasure or for an actual purpose. But, technology has also started to control our lives in harmful ways. When it comes to it, each teenager is going to make their own choice whether they are going to go on their phone or computer at anytime and when they do they need to weigh the opportunity cost of the time they use on their devices. If they use too much time on social media and other communicating apps they might not get things in their daily lives done that they need to. Overall, the use of technology is hurting teenagers like myself and we need to limit our use of our devices.
Parr, Ben. “The Average Teens Sends 3,339 Texts Per Month.” Mashable.com, Mashable, Inc., 14 Oct. 2010. http://mashable.com/2010/10/14/nielsen-texting-stats/#PqbZLoE82SqW.
Wallace, Kelly. “Teens spend a ‘mind boggling’ 9 hours a day using social media.” CNN, Cable News Network, 3 Nov. 2015. http://www.cnn.com/2015/11/03/health/teens-tweens-media-screen-use-report/.