Op-Ed: The Story Of Technology and Today’s Youth

Are youths being controlled by their devices? Teenagers are no match for the 5 inch devices kept in their pockets. Technology has created an all time high epidemic called smartphone obsession.

Adolescents aren’t yet capable of controlling their own smartphones. Whether we’re talking about high school students, middle school students, or even elementary students, smartphones have their tight grip on us all.

First, let’s look at a country over 6,000 miles away, who is facing an even more drastic technology addiction: South Korea. South Korea is one of the most technologically advanced countries in the world and it goes unnoticed in the United States. Although their technological prestige is high, it takes a massive toll on their teenage population. The culture in South Korea is without a doubt much different than in the United States and teenagers can’t help but get attached to technology.

According to John M. Rodgers, a teacher in South Korea, from the online magazine “The Diplomat,” 25.5 percent of children are now addicted while 40 percent of teens have experienced cyberbullying.

Students in South Korea are also required to take classes to “become less dependent” of technology. It’s gone to the extreme in South Korea, but it’s not the teenagers’ fault that smartphones are manufactured to get teens hooked.

The real question is why the Korean educational system hasn’t banned smartphones from schools, as the French school administration has. It is no longer a fair argument to say smartphones have a positive impact that is equal to, if not greater than, the negative impact. Smartphones have single-handedly changed society for the younger generation. The smartphone has made many platforms available to adolescents, such as Snapchat, Instagram, Facebook and Twitter.

Each platform has a tremendous impact on teens. I’ve witnessed the effect myself; while talking to a friend, a girl in my math class stated, “I haven’t checked Snapchat in 10 minutes, and I already feel like I’m missing out.” I genuinely believe her too. There isn’t a day that goes by when I don’t notice several of my peers checking their social media accounts in the middle of class.

My closest friends from the basketball team can’t stop playing video games at home or at school on their mobile devices. It’s gotten to the point where they’ve chosen to play video games instead of doing homework.

Above all, the absurdly high use of technology is pushing the health of most American youths into critical state. The more time spent on smartphones, the less time is spent outside engaging in physical activity.

The majority of teens would rather be comfortable and inside  where life is easy.

Jean Twenge’s research from the article “Have Smartphones Destroyed a Generation” shows that as a result of more technology, teens are less likely to get into relationships, engage in sexual activity, drink alcohol, and take up adult responsibilities such as getting a job.

However, they are more likely to stay home alone with their phone and do less homework than earlier generations. Eventually, more and more health issues will be traced back to the excessive use of technology.

Youths who are constantly using their devices are damaging the natural curvature of their necks, and will experience long term eye damage caused by absorbing the radiation from phone and TV screens.

Let’s not forget the most extreme of all cases; the ones directly linked with death — texting and driving leads to horrific accidents that can certainly result in death. On the other hand, texting while crossing the street makes youth unaware of what is around them and more vulnerable to getting hit by a car.

The youth of today is obsessed, not by the world around them, but by the world inside of a smartphone. There are countless apps out there to keep teens amused, and plenty of social media outlets that’ll keep teens updated. The choice to comfortably sit in a bed with a device in one hand wasn’t even attainable 20 years ago. But technology has changed so much in the past 10 years and it’s become unimaginably convenient.

However, no children, teenagers or adults are qualified to control these addictions, and now, our greatest invention has become our greatest nightmare.