Since the advent of modernity and civilization, technology has played a pivotal role in the development humanity. With the advancement of technology in the 21st century, the human race has witnessed improvements in education, medicine, commerce and communication. In fact, most research studies have shown that no aspect of the human life has been left “untouched” by technology in one way or another.
With the adverse effects that technology has on our livelihoods, we cannot stop asking ourselves whether it is indispensable. Technology has also replaced the healthy social lives of many people, most of them being the youth (Salkowitz, 21).
Technology has led to reduced human contact since many people communicate on the social sites.Many friendships are made virtually. The social sites such as facebook, Twitter, and MySpace have the friends’ lists, containing people from all over the world. They include unfamiliar faces. Chatting via phone is more convenient than than scheduling a face-to-face meeting. This reduces personal touch among the youth and self confidence. Most youths hide behind the social sites and consequently do not develop socially as they send friend requests and make friends via the internet (Carlsen &Willis, 29).
Overdependence of technology has also affected child development. Psychologists argue that the current use of technology intrudes on the socialization process, thus children become lazy. Today, children have been reduced to “couch potatoes” since they spend most of their time on the couch playing computer games, thus reducing interaction with others. Since most people spend their time at home, they are becoming more dysfunctional and in the society.
Technology, actually, does take away the realness of life. A good example is the number of friends that one could have on facebook. Facebook friends are not limited to a geographical region and a person can add just about anyone. They are called friends on facebook, but in reality, they are not; this is because most people do not know them and some turn out to posses ulterior motives. There are many cases of young people who have faced harassment from their facebook “friends”.
The young people mostly use Facebook, Twitter, MySpace and other social sites. Students give the social sites top priority than their studies. This is evidenced by the fact that a student would rather chat with friends on facebook in a lecture hall than pay attention to the lecture. Other students will even go to the extent of forgetting their assignments, but cannot forget to update their status on facebook as the first thing, when they wake up. The youth who have joined the working class shorten work to watch some sport on the internet or chat with friends on the social media (Erikson, 39).
Technology is given too much priority such that when someone sends an email he/she expects a response immediately. Failure to respond to an email immediately could actually mean that someone is in danger, or is simply ignoring them. Many people have phones, hand held computers and use the available internet to communicate through the internet easily and fast. Students cannot engage in discussions and concentrate on topics that require critical thinking since all they think about is emailing and texting. In workplaces, a person could be working, chatting, shopping online, and listening to music at the same time due to the availability of the technology. This form of living interferes with the normal way of living, which ultimately leads to low quality life. This makes everyone to focus on him/herself and not think about others. For example, in a family setting, children do not have time to talk to their parents about their wellbeing or schoolwork.
Social etiquette of the youth has decayed due to the use of technology, as they text in class, church, during dinner, and even when someone is talking to them – a factor that goes against social ethics. Children below eighteen years also have access to the social media through video gaming sites, facebook, YouTube, Twitter and MySpace. They are subjected to many vices such as cyber bullying, inappropriate content and facebook depression. Cyber bullying happens, when children are subjected to the spread of hostile and false information that can cause anxiety, depression, and isolation; and in worst cases, suicide. This can be avoided by parents and teachers informing children on the negative effects, associated with such behavior while limiting the time children spend in the social media. There are socially isolated children who seek connection to online friends; if they cannot access the internet, they become seriously depressed. Parents need to talk to their children and ensure them that they have good friends around them, and if it is a medical condition, getting the necessary medical assistance can address this (Howard, 34)
Small children, accessing the internet, can also be exposed to inappropriate content such as drugs, in a bid to boost their self-esteem. This can make them addicts at an extremely tender age, which will make them lead reckless lives, texting of sexual information and viewing sensual content on the internet could also corrupt the minds of the children, accessing online content. This is the reason parents should be actively involved in their children‘s social lives to give them advice and guide them on how to use the internet wisely.
There are actually varied good effects that technology has to the lives of youth. People can use Google Maps to find direction, when they are lost with the help of the internet and a GPS enabled phones. Communication is made globally easy through technology and people can work anywhere and not necessarily be within the office walls. Someone can go on holiday with his/her family and at the same time, work from there, while being as productive as anyone else is. People can actually order items via the internet or make a phone call and have them delivered to the doorstep. This not only saves time but the energy that could be used to carry the items home.
Technology can help the young people, students to access and retrieve, interpret and evaluate visual and auditory information. It is a fact that knowledge and information is also available electronically and not only in hard copies as it was in the 50s (Yager & Eugene, 62). Ultimately, technology and its application can be used to maximize productivity and skill development. It makes it possible for students to interact with content and one another. It takes the shortest time possible to search for information electronically than it will take to do it manually. By focusing on the benefits of technology, it is easy to say that is helpful.
The social media, that is facebook, for example, and all other sites help a person interact with the world through a hand held device. However, this is only beneficial if used moderately. Creativity is also required; when chatting on the social sites and this helps the young people maneuver through situations in life that need creativity. Children below eighteen years use technology to do their homework, get entertained, stay in touch with friends and socialize, and acquire technical skills. Serious students use the internet to access information on life issues as well as research for their studies (Fortunati et al., 50).
The growing dependence on technology in education has affected the writing and reading skills of students. Unlike hand written assignments that are prone to spelling and grammatical errors, the use of modern spell checking software such as spellchecker and grammarly has made it easier for students to write excellent essays. However, overdependence on these programs has made students become lazy and develop habits which are difficult to eradicate. For example, students have difficulties in constructing comprehensible English sentences, and writing constructive grammar without the help of these programs.
Technology change causes a disruption of the people’s culture. Technological inventions are not absorbed into the culture, but eliminate the existing cultural aspects. Religion, traditions, social beliefs and morals take a new form due to the technological changes. This means that technological evolution leads to cultural evolution thus old cultures ultimately die.
Due to the advancement of technology, mobile phones have become the convenient means of communication, but have also disoriented the way people are supposed to interact. The behavior of people has changed due to mobile phone use. People may be in the middle of important businesses, but end up receiving calls. Some people ignore the extent to which they disturb their colleagues since some exchange highly sensitive information publicly. Normally, conversations through the phone carry a person away hence a person who publicly gives out private information realizes the mistake when it is too late.
Like everything else technology has negative contribution to a learning environment. Technology has reduced the personal attention a student gets from a teacher. A teacher can upload information then ask a student to download it. This instruction can be given by phone
Although the internet provides valuable information that has been used to conduct research, people have become overly dependent on it. Such overdependence has had a negative impact on students since their skill on research and development skills have been affected. Besides, when there is a lot of information in the internet, people have a difficult task of sieving the right information from personal opinions. Khosrowpour argues that overreliance on the technology affects people’s research skills since they become weak at sifting information. As a result, people must have outstanding skills to be able to identify information that is relevant (Klososky 289).
It can be argued that a teacher cannot teach without the aid of technology, nothing can be further from the truth. Some of the best inventors and teachers such As Albert Einstein made substantial discoveries without computers. It is possible to teach an effective course without technology (Howard, 40). Technology is an excellent teaching tool, but nothing can be as good as discovery through interaction. In the real world, successful companies base their success on personal relationship, an aspect students must learn and experience. Students need to know how to search for information in the library. Looking for information manually can be satisfying and makes students to read more unlike relying on technology.
In conclusion, it is evident that technology has had a profound effect on humanity. While it is arguably true that technology has been associated with positive effects in virtually every facet of human life, overdependence on it has become a disservice to the society. Therefore it is crucial that a balanced approach is embraced to ensure that youths develop wholesomely.Although overdependence on technology is detrimental to human lives, it should be embraced to certain degrees that help in the advancement of innovation and development. Therefore, it is vital for people to develop the art of harnessing the useful components of technology and discarding the detrimental ones.
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