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Opinion: Electronics are bad for children and teens

(Kent Nishimura / Los Angeles Times)

Your clock has just turned 9 p.m. You know your parents are going to come back home soon and you still have to do your homework, but this series is just so good and you really just want to finish this episode. You have been watching this series on your electronic device for the past 4 hours. “I’ll just finish this episode and I will stop watching,” you think.

After this episode, you stop, but suddenly, Ding! You see that your friend has texted you. “I’ll just respond to her and then I will continue with my work, it’s only going to take a few minutes.”

One hour later, you end your call with your friend because you hear your garage door open, meaning your parents are home and your homework is still unfinished. 

Whatever age you are, electronics are probably part of your daily life. There are always those TV shows or the newest video on the channel of your favorite YouTuber or the newest game on your Playstation or even your friends on social media that attract your attention.

As the world grows and technology gets better, people change in their use of that technology. The more advanced and new, the more fascinating it can be. Some may even say they can’t live a day without electronics. 

Technology has become a very important part of our lives, and life without it could change everything. In fact, you are probably reading this essay from a computer or iPhone or some type of electronic device. But have you ever asked yourself if electronics are good or bad for you?

Overall, electronics are bad for people because it is not healthy, causes bad moods and is time-consuming. 

No matter how much I love watching TV every day, I know it’s probably not the best for my health. According to the Washington Post, Common Sense Media conducted a survey that found that 53% of children by age 11 already own their own smartphones.

Further, Common Sense Media also found that Americans 8-12 years old already spend an average of 4 hours and 44 minutes per day on their screens, while teens spend an average of 7 hours and 22 minutes per day without even including their use of screens for educational purposes.

If kids already spend that much time on their screens every day, then adults might spend even more time on their screens because they have no one controlling them. 

The health problems that come with this are highlighted by the American Optometric Association, which states that too much screen time can lead to computer vision syndrome, which includes the symptoms of eyestrain, headaches, blurred vision, dry eyes and neck and shoulder pain.

Is it really worth it to go to the doctor’s and have permanent damage to your health just to watch another YouTube video or check your friend’s every text?

Not only would you potentially have to take medications, but you also might even need glasses or other treatments for your eyes if you spend too much time on electronics. 

Having a good mood is very important. If you are in a bad mood, you can change many goals you wanted to have and make permanent mistakes. Many activities on your computer, tablet, phone, game console and TV can make you extremely happy, but at the same time, it can cause you to be a bit grumpy or frustrated.

For example, if you are a gamer and you lose a game, then you would probably feel really upset. You can even get mad if you are watching the news during elections. Everyone has their own opinions and some people like to express their opinions online.

According to the Child Mind Institute, a nonprofit organization providing help for child mental health care, in many recent studies, teens and young adults were shown to have a higher rate of depression, from 13% to 16%, than those who spend less time on social media and other platforms.

Being depressed can change a person as a whole and can affect people for a lifetime. There’s a lot of evidence on the internet that can not only hurt you but can also make you feel insecure and negative about yourself.   

Everyone has horrible habits that they won’t like to admit. Things on your electronic device can attract you to want to watch it more. Electronics can take up a ton of time if you use them to do useless things. They can be entertaining when you are bored and have nothing to do, but sometimes when you have loads of work to do, you can be distracted by the interesting things on your electronic device.

Sometimes you won’t be able to control yourself, and that’s when you know your use of electronics is a bad habit. Platforms like YouTube suggest things based on your interests so the more time you spend on the platform, the more attracted you are to it. 

For example, according to BBC News, a 28-year-old South Korean man named Lee died during a 50-hour gaming session due to heart failure and exhaustion. Even adults sometimes can’t control themselves to go to work and do productive things instead of going on their electronics, so it might even be harder for children to do the same.

People say money can buy anything, but money can’t buy lost time. The time you waste on electronics that aren’t productive can make many people regret their wasted time in the future. 

Of course, you can learn many things from websites online, and electronics are super useful. However, not everyone uses them productively.

For example, over the past year, students had to use computers to attend school because of the coronavirus pandemic. Some students took online school very seriously, while others played games on their computers or talked to their friends during class. 

When children are taking a class online, they tend to have more distractions than in class and also are more tempted to cheat. When children are in class physically, there is less chance of distraction and cheating because a teacher literally has eyes on them.

While online, kids can do a million other activities and cheat by searching for answers online resulting in bad habits. These bad habits can form even when you’re trying to do something productive on your device.

Yes, electronics can help kids and teens a lot, but they can also cause them to harm in many ways. Electronics are bad for people because they can cause health problems, ruin people’s mood, opinions and thoughts, and cause bad habits.

Next time when you are doing something on your screens that is unnecessary, think about the time you waste and the health risks of going on your electronics. Although electronic devices definitely have some benefits, there are too many drawbacks to ignore.

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