Technology: Harm and Benefit

​In modern times, it is almost impossible to go an entire day without utilizing some form of technology. Whether it be setting alarms on your phone or scrolling through Facebook every few hours. Many of us are guilty of overusing technology but few are aware of the great dangers and negative affects it poses. Although technology does have some downfalls, most of us cannot imagine life without it. To say it is only bad would be wrong, however, most of us need to realize the almost invisible and irreversible side effects it is causing. I feel that collectively, technology is doing us more harm than good and can be directly blamed for making us lazy, less interactive, prone to mental health issues and dumber to say the least.

If technology use is not done in moderation, it will consume the user’s entire life. What I mean by this, is that people will continue to allow their phones and other outlets to be more important that the individuals surrounding them. Logically thinking, we all know at least one person who is never fully there in conversation because they are staring at their phones the entire time. This is not only annoying but really limits reality for the technology addicted individual. Experts are even claiming that social media addictions are real, although, they do not truly affect that many individuals (Griffiths, page 1, para. 2). Addiction is generally grouped in categories affiliated with mental health and we are seeing several critical hits in these realms today. What I mean by this, is that many of those who are frequently utilizing social media have some degree of mental illness. According to Griffiths: “Over the past five years there has been a proliferation of studies assessing how excessive social media use can impact negatively on health. In a recent paper Dr. Kuss and I again reviewed the latest research on the topic and showed that social media use for a minority of individuals is associated with a number of psychological problems, including anxiety, depression, loneliness, Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, and addiction” (Griffiths, page 1, para. 3). These mental vulnerabilities are caused by a plethora of reasons, nonetheless deserve immediate attention before worsening.

Technology has also been found to make users lazier. I’m sure each of us can imagine a scenario that technology has made life more convenient, because we do not have to go somewhere or move a finger. I remember being a young boy and having to leave the home to retrieve movies or watch soccer matches, now we don’t even need to leave our living rooms to have all the entertainment at our finger tips. Another big way that technology has made us lazy is found in the fact that we do not need to pick up food, because we can have it delivered. Which also means the oven doesn’t have to be preheated either. We have the luxury of wearing our pajamas all day and clicking a few bottoms to have a five-course meal brought straight to our doors. Humans are leaving homes less frequently and their overall physical activity for each day is also decreased because the convenience of technology (Macale, page 1, para. 1-4).

Because we are leaving our homes less often, less interactions take place. And although this point may appear to be less significant, human interactions are more important than we will ever know! In recent times, many jobs have been taken over by bots. Most individuals, including myself hate to see technology steal jobs from us, however, it is much cheaper to do so. No salaries or insurances need to be paid to these bots, which makes greedy CEO’s thrilled. These bots take away from the humanly experience that many of us still love. A bot doesn’t understand frustration and so forth, but humans do. Technology should never take away from life and the interesting people that we meet face-to-face.

If all of these reasonings have not made you at least reflect on the downfalls of technology, hopefully this next point will! Technology has in fact been making us dumber according to a few different research studies. As Chamorro claimed, humans in modern times are very much like their smartphones, tablets, and other similar devices. That is true, because both only remember the very important things, and the rest rely on a search. We have seen such ideas in real life regarding mathematics. Calculators or phones are able to complete math without having to physically do it yourself. Formulas of math used to be learned, now, not so much for. We are not learning problem solving, simply how to search for it (Chamorro, page 1, para. 2-3).

Another way in which intelligence is compromised by technology is located in the fact that humans are reading less and less. Although, some may argue that technology is not the only reasoning for this, much association is revealed. Many children and adults are choosing technology over reading books. Although, some programs such as Kindle allow books to be read on tablets, which innovative. Despite Kindle, overall reading has significantly declined over the past decade. Which is the same decade that we saw a revolutionary of technology. According to Ingraham (of the Washington Post): “In 2015, 43 percent of adults read at least one work of literature in the previous year. That’s the lowest percentage in any year since National Endowment of the Arts (NEA) surveys began tracking reading and arts participation in 1982, when the literature reading rate was 57 percent” (Ingraham, page 1, para.2). Not only have adult’s rates declined in reading, so have children’s.

​Both reading and physical activity has declined significantly for children throughout the world. Many place blame on technology. I mean, rationally thinking, instead of playing outside, what are children doing? They’re inside watching movies or on iPad a majority of the time. Many young children are becoming more and more overweight because of the lost time spent outside playing as kids should. This coupled with diet is an easy cause and effect relationship to see. Not only does being obese harm your self esteem but also comes with several negative health risks as well. Just to name a few include: diabetes, heart problems, cancer, and high blood pressure. Since technology use is increased, a lot of other activities have decreased. If something isn’t done in a timely fashion, more and more children will become obese. Parents must monitor time spent online for children.

Technology as said above is not the only cause of the problems listed above, but it certainly doesn’t help matters either. Our world is so attached to these breakthroughs, that many of us cannot imagine life without them. I would say a majority of the population wouldn’t want to go back to the times without technology, because let’s face it, it is very convenient. As author Biggins has claimed technology is a timesaver and nothing more (Biggins, 2017). So, even if all my assertions are correct, others who oppose me can always claim the convenience and time savings made from technology. But don’t these technologies also consume time as well? Think of all the time it takes to learn about all of the things you can do with your smart phone? Or what about the time it takes to delete all the junk mail in your email? Many of us don’t realize that technology both saves and takes time. Even if we do save some time in some areas, being consumed in your technological devices is far from a happy or healthy life. Convivence can’t be found in health, and that’s what is at stake.

Another common opposing side claims that technology is actually making us more intelligent. Amongst the several points of this was one claiming that new technology actually makes learning more fun. There are millions of games that aim to teach children a certain skill such as learning the alphabet (Agrawal,2017). And although this may be true, for every educational game, there is an uneducational one to math it. Most children do not want to learn while playing, and that’s just a basic fact. Most of the learning games anyways are generic and incorporate little amounts of fun. Children are becoming increasingly interested in violent games such as GTA and zombies. Hughes claimed, “These video games are comprised of a variety of educational, serious, and casual games, but in reality, what child is going to choose a game about learning versus a game where they can kill zombies or drive cars at unruly amounts of speed?” (Hughes, page 1, 2014). And she is absolutely right, what child would ever choose an educational game over these types? I know I certainly wouldn’t. Let’s face it, technology is promoting the use of these violent games, and such games have a list of negative impacts of their own,

Technology has the capacity to help us or harm us, however, that decision is in the hands of the user. Adults more so than children have the ability to identify some of the major drawbacks of technology. Whereas children cannot discern this yet. It is parents/educator’s responsibility to teach children the importance of technology and how it should and shouldn’t be used. In the future, we will more than likely depend more and more on electronics and other devices. Therefore, if we learn proper utilization and of some of the terrible downsides, we are equipped with knowledge. And knowledge is the key!

Works Cited

  1. Agrawal, AJ. ‘How Technology Has Made Our Kids Smarter Than Ever.’ HuffPost, 21 June 2017, www.huffingtonpost.com/aj-agrawal/how-technology-has-made-o_b_10577380.html. Accessed 31 Aug. 2018.
  2. Biggins, Matthew. ‘Technology Only Exists to Save Us Time? Hacker Noon.’ Hacker Noon, 19 Oct. 2017, hackernoon.com/technology-only-exists-to-save-us-time-863bc4a3dbd2. Accessed 31 Aug. 2018.
  3. Chamorro, Tomas. ‘Is Technology Making Us Stupid (and Smarter)?’ Psychology Today, 7 May 2013, www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/mr-personality/201305/is-technology-making-us-stupid-and-smarter. Accessed 30 Aug. 2018.
  4. Griffiths, Mark. ‘Addicted to Social Media?’ Psychology Today, 7 May 2018, www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/in-excess/201805/addicted-social-media. Accessed 30 Aug. 2018.
  5. Hughes, Emily. ‘Effect of Video Games on Child Development | Developmental Psychology at Vanderbilt.’ My.vanderbilt.edu | Vanderbilt University, 24 Apr. 2014, my.vanderbilt.edu/developmentalpsychologyblog/2014/04/effect-of-video-games-on-child-development/. Accessed 31 Aug. 2018.
  6. Ingraham, Christopher. ‘The Long, Steady Decline of Literary Reading.’ Washington Post, 7 Sept. 2016, www.washingtonpost.com/news/wonk/wp/2016/09/07/the-long-steady-decline-of-literary-reading/?noredirect=on&utm_term=.2e3e01947b16. Accessed 30 Aug. 2018.
  7. Macale, Sherilynn. ’11 Ways Tech Has Made Us Lazy.’ The Next Web, 3 Mar. 2016, thenextweb.com/lifehacks/2011/08/15/11-ways-tech-has-made-us-lazy/. Accessed 30 Aug. 2018.