Are humans so caught up in technology that they are in danger? Technology over the past hundreds of years has advanced outrageously, teenagers are now living in the digital age. With the numerous amounts of hours staring at an iPad, are teens turning into human robots? Yes, there are many great advantages that technology brings to our society, but there are so many things that technology can deprive us from. Instead of going out to eat with friends, teenagers would rather stay at home and watch Netflix or tweet about what they ate for lunch. So many teens are caught up in social media that they are checking their phones every ten to fifteen minutes, just to see if someone liked their picture or commented on their page. Social media may keep you up with what is going on around the world or with their friends, but is it really making you the sole person you can be? One of the main stages of adolescence is finding yourself and discovering what your purpose is in life. Technology shortens a teens personality. Social media has the power to transform a teen into a person who they want to be just to fit in, instead of a person who he or she would be proud to show off in front of your family and friends. Many important aspects of a teen’s life, such as, interpersonal communication, social skills, friendships and families are damaged by technology. Although technology educates teens well about the outside world, technology transforms their identities.
You could have been the next Oprah if it was not for your lack of communication skills due to your hours of being consumed by technology. Communication is the foundation that we as humans have developed in our society today. With the thousands of different cultures there are, there are just as many languages, different hand gestures, and ways of different cultures communicating with each other. When teenagers communicate with each other on social medias, it is not the same when talking to people in real life. Comment after comment, the verbal expression is just not there like how it is communicating in person. “Precisely because electronic media transmit emotion so poorly compared to in-person interaction, many view it as the perfect way to send difficult messages: it blocks us from registering the negative emotional responses such messages engender, which provides us the illusion we’re not really doing harm” (Lickerman). People say actions speak louder than words but, in this case, words can do as much damage them, just as any action can. Yes, there are the uses of emoticons today, but people’s perceptions of the conversations can be quite different. Through communicating on social media, you do not learn any skill of communicating with others that surround you. There is a lack of quality and emotion that every true conversation needs. Growing up as a teenager and being socially accepted in high school is all about attending the parties on the weekends or keeping up with your best friend. “It’s much easier to injure friendships online than in person because of the ease of creating misunderstandings electronically” (Lickerman). Now you are not going to be the new “it” person, with your best friend mad at you who is going to be there when you do not know how to communicate in public. You think that is bad, with not knowing how to communicate with people how are you going to be able to attend social events?
Social events sound exciting, but how are you going to cope with hundreds of people being around you and not knowing how to socialize with not one person? Have you always tried to avoid being that one lonely kid that everyone picks on and does not want to be on their team when it comes to sports, well say hello to those days because they are back. According to Melissa Ortega, “They don’t know how to handle conflict face to face because so many things happen through some sort of technology,” (Bindley). Teens who do not know how to approach others, do not know how to face real life conflict. The struggle of going out and being alone in public or just staying home and watching Netflix is a problem that occurs to too many teenagers. “Technology allows us to be constantly connected to the world, but it can also make us even more disconnected from each other” (Kinetics). Since they cannot make friends due to their lack of communication, it often leads to loneliness. Since I was a teenager myself in this digital age, while going on social media, I have encountered many people who are socially awkward and they worry about what people think of them. It worries them so much that these worries take over their life they are not able to focus on school or anything else. What matters to them is what the crowd behind them is going to think about their outfit. I have had conversations with people over Twitter about them wanting to commit suicide because they are so stuck in this world on the internet, that they do not form relationships with their family or have any friends outside of the house. They feel so unwanted and out of place like they do not belong anywhere, they eventually get to the point where they do not even care about their own lives, and they are willing to take away their own life because of the loneliness that they feel. If they had the social skills or just any type of communication skills it could save them from this tragedy from this feeling of being unwanted. Without the zombie abomination they encountered on the internet, they could experience how great life could be, and it would not lead them to this wanting of killing themselves. No matter how much someone believes that they can live their life alone, they can be independent, they cannot strive successfully without creating successful relationships with anyone. They need a best friend by their side along this journey.
Having a best friend beside you as you grow up enhances all your experiences. Everything in your world seems to make sense until you experience betrayal from a best friend. “Mobile phones create a constant availability which means that our friends can become upset if we don’t respond to them instantly. Text message senders can be informed if you have read their message and can again feel quite hurt and insulted if you don’t promptly respond” (Monroe). With this constant availability, it can lead to teens stalking each other over social medias to see what they are doing. I have been told many times, “oh you can tweet, but you cannot text me back when you read my message.” Due to social media, the amount of miscommunication that happens is more damaging to someone’s relationship, then a simple cat fight. When it comes to friendships over the Internet there is a lack of intimacy going on between the two. “There doesn’t seem to be the sense of exclusivity. It can sometimes feel as though the whole world knows something that, perhaps would have remained private between you, had technology been less evolved” (Monroe). This can create so many problems between a friendship that it heightens the jealousy of each other and it can ultimately kill a relationship. A damaged friendship is already a lot to take on, what if it were a damage relationship with a family member?
Parents of the generation before us ultimately worry that the kids are going to end up hurt from technology, maybe not physically but emotionally. Hidden behind the small screen of a smartphone can disconnect a whole family. Yes, cell phone use at the dinner table can be rude, but not even eating dinner together at all is worse. “Researchers say the families that had the worst relationship with technology were those who were overwhelmed by the amount of technology used in their home” (Netburn). Technology disconnects each other and creates less trust between two people. There is a lot that teens can hide on social media that they are not telling their parents. This generates a lot of curiosity from parents that leads to constant nagging. Which brings the child and the parents into a bigger hole. “Researchers from the University of Essex found that people who engaged in personal discussions when a cell phone was nearby — even if neither was actually using it — reported lower relationship quality and less trust for their partner. They also felt their partner was less empathetic to their concerns” (Kerner). It feels like the person does not care about your concerns. If it is the teenager who spends all day in their room staring at the smart phone, or the amounts of hours that the parent spends checking emails or working on the computer, technology disconnects parents and their offspring’s. As the universe likes to balance itself out, to every yang there is a yin.
Though there are many negative things about how technology affects our relationships, it can affect us in some positive effects. Creating meaningful relationships is often about sharing our lives with others, and technology can allow us to do so through photos, videos, text, and music (Kinetics). What is living life if you cannot share the great meaningful things that you experience. If a teenager is away for school, they will be instantly updated about what is going on in someone’s life when they post these pictures or videos. Families surveyed across all four countries universally agreed that new information and communication technology such as Facebook, Skype, instant messaging and email have improved relationships with extended family that don’t live close by (Netburn). Technology lets us share these experiences with our relatives in other countries, the people who we do not see face to face every day. Not only does social media apps let you keep in touch with extended family, it can also help teens find someone out there with the same interests as them. With the dating apps being so advantageously updated they can type in certain qualities that they like and based off someone’s profile they may just find the love of their life. But with people being so desperate for someone in their life it creates lies and schemes. Most people on the internet lie about who they are what they look like how old they are, and the lies can go on and on. It goes to the point where they do not know when to stop and this fake identity that they are creating, it becomes their new mask. Yes, social media may keep you in contact with people you do not see every day but you cannot let it deceive you. You cannot let it transform you into a robot of the in crowd. You want to be the crowd. Over all technology damages relationships way more than it does relationships justice.
Technology is a monster of our future that is disguised as cute little iPhones or MacBook Pros. Teenagers hide from reality and they use technology as their escape. Technology acts as a mass murderer. Instead of going out and interacting with others and learning how to communicate, teenagers sit behind computer screens. Most teenagers do not know how to handle face-to-face conflict because of the amount of time they are spending behind computers. Thus, having dead social skills leads them to loneliness. Since communicating on social media is not like real life and it doesn’t have the emotional connection, it can cause a lot of problems between best friends. It is easier to get in fights and it is easier to create a lot of jealousy. Technology does not only create jealousy it creates curiosity. Many parents are curious about what is going on in their child’s life. With teenagers having an exclusive life over the internet, it disconnects them from their parents. Yes, technology may connect you to the outside world, but it slowly and silently murders everything else in your life. Technology transforms your identity. Is becoming a digital zombie worth it?
Bindley, Katherine. “When Children Text All Day, What Happens To Their Social Skills?”
Huffington Post, https://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/12/09/children-texting-technology-social-skills_n_1137570.html. Accessed 7 May 2018
Kerner, Ian. “Your Smartphone May Be Powering down Your Relationship.” CNN, http://www.cnn.com/2013/01/10/health/kerner-social-relationship/ Accessed 6 May 2018
Kinetics, Human. “Technology Can Have Positive or Negative Impact on Social Interactions.” Human-kinetics, http://www.humankinetics.com/excerpts/excerpts/technology-can-have-positive-and-negative-impact-on-social-interactions Accessed 9 May 2018
Lickerman, Alex. “The Effect Of Technology On Relationships.” Psychology Today, https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/happiness-in-world/201006/the-effect-technology-relationships Accessed 5 May 2018
Monroe, Alison. “Does Technology & Social Media Improve Relationships?” HubPages. http://sparkleyfinger.hubpages.com/hub/Does-Technology-IMprove-Relationships Accessed 8 May 2018
Netburn, Deborah. “The Business and Culture of our Digital Lives.” LA Times Blog,