Christian Lous Lange stated: “Technology is a useful servant but a dangerous master”. Because technology has declined social interaction and caused major addictions, it has changed the way people live out their day to day lives. Technology is a growing addiction for teens and can have many negative effects on society as a whole. The use of social media can cause a rapid decline in mental and physical health. Technology is one of the main causes of lack of face-to-face interactions in today’s society. Addictions to technology can lead to distracted driving and death.
The use of social media by teenagers has shown to have many negative effects in a teen’s mental health and may further lead to physical harm. Websites that place a heavy value on self-image, such as Instagram or Snapchat, can often make teens feel like they have a lack of quality and negative self-image. In ‘Remaining Aware and Responsible in the Social Media Age’, Cecelia Tamburro reports the research of Ph.D Paula Durlofsky, a licensed clinical psychologist at the Psychoanalytic Center of PA. Her studies show that social media can increase anxiety, depression, and feelings of loneliness and isolation. Her studies also proved that significant time spent on social media can lead to lack of sleep, which can strongly increase your risk for developing a mental health disorder. Therefore, at this time in the development of teens, heavy social media usage poses a threat to their mental health. Furthermore, social media has increased cyberbullying which can cause depression and physical harm. Maggie Guninta and Rita John wrote, ‘Social Media and Adolescent Health’. They work together as pediatric nurses and have done an extensive amount of research on the positive and negative effects of social media on adolescents. Their research, along with that of their colleagues, shows that cyberbullying is significantly associated with an increased likelihood of depression. They also determined that 73.5% of people are or have been bullied on social media. Thus, social media can negatively affect a teens life by opening up the opportunity to cyberbullying. Because of the high usage of social media, teenagers share more personal data which can lead to unwelcomed predators and threats. In their study, Guninta and John also noted research from ‘Teens, Social Media, and Privacy’ by Madden, M., Lenhart, A., Cortesi, S., Gasser, U., Duggan, M., Smith, A., & Beaton, M. and colleagues determined the percentages of the top ten personal information that is given out online. Their research concluded 92% of people on social media state their real name, 91% share a personal photo of themselves online, 84% post their interests, 82% share their birth date, 71% share their school’s name, 71% share the city or town where they live, 62% share their relationship status, 53% post their email address, 24% post videos of themselves, and 20% post their cellphone number. Although there are efforts by many social media platforms to protect user privacy, violations of privacy and un-welcomed content sharing are constant risks such as sexual harassment, abduction, and sex trafficking. Because social media is open to everybody, it increases the risk for physical and mental harm when personal information is released. The complications that come with social media aren't only physically and mentally taking a toll on teenagers’ bodies, technology is taking away the face-to-face interaction that our society once had.
Teens’ addiction to technology has made our society lose the face-to-face interaction our society once had. Life online is creating an addiction that is similar to taking a drug. In ‘Falling into the Electronic Rabbit Hole: How Our Addiction to Technology Is Changing Our Brains and Relationships and Why 'E-Vacations' or Tech Cleanses Help Us Unplug and Tune in', Anneli Rufus an award-winning journalist reports the research by ADHD expert Kevin Roberts. His work showed that gray matter in the brain alters white-matter fatty acids and produces prefrontal cortex abnormalities. The same dopamine reward system and the same parts of the brain that are involved with any addiction - food, alcohol, drugs, or shopping. His studies concluded that this has caused 82% of teens to look at their phone without having an actual reason. Thus, use of technology rewires teens to be physically present in a space but mentally detached from their surroundings. Furthermore, technology has created an easy way to instantly communicate, causing lack of interactions in person. In the article, ‘How Having Smartphones (or Not) Shapes the Way Teens Communicate’, Monica Anderson, a senior researcher at the Pew Research Center who specializes in the Internet and technology, has done extensive research on online communication. She confirmed that texting is the number one way all teens get in touch with their closest friends. Concluding with the fact that 78% of teens with smartphones cite texting as the main way they communicate with their closest friend online or by phone, compared with 22% of teens without smartphone access. Therefore, technology has changed the way teens communicate today. Because technology has made it easy for people to communicate instantly, it has decreased the attention span of students, which is having an effect on school interactions. In Anneli Rufus’ article she also noted research from, ‘Surviving the Technological Alteration of the Modern Mind’ by UCLA psychiatrist Garry Small. His recent studies link the prolonged use of high-tech devices to insomnia, attention problems, memory problems, and lower test scores. His recent tests have concluded that the average human attention span had shown to have dropped below the level attributed to goldfish. He went on to further state: “Human brains take way too much time to come down from the over-stimulation brought about by technology. Causing communication to be difficult due to lack of sleep”. Therefore, the use of technology can negatively affect the quality of a teen’s life by causing less sleep and a shorter attention span, causing lack of communication and willingness to interact. Not only has technology chipped away the face-to-face interactions society once had, technology has also created the urge to drive while distracted.
The addiction to technology in teens has grown to be so huge that texting and driving has become a leading cause of death. On the average, teen drivers who are multitasking by looking at their phones don’t realize how completely impaired their driving becomes. In ‘Driving Safety’, J.J. Keller and Associates, Inc. work together to inform others about important precautions to take while in a vehicle with the help of the University of Utah’s psychologists. The psychologists research indicates that talking on a cell phone while driving may even be likened to driving while intoxicated. Their reasoning for this conclusion was discovered when they tested how the brain responds when one is texting and driving. They discovered three main types of distraction that are impaired while texting and driving: visual - taking your eyes off the road; manual - taking your hands off the wheel and cognitive - taking your mind off what you're doing. Thus, texting while driving is dangerous, as it causes all three of the types of driver distractions: visual, manual, and cognitive. Furthermore, crash rates increase with teen drivers on their phones. In ‘Nearly 2 in 5 Teen Drivers Text While Driving’, NewsRx Health recorded the study led by the Center for Injury Research and Policy at Nationwide Children's Hospital examined individual- and state-level factors associated with texting while driving among teens. Their studies concluded that nearly 2 in 5 teen drivers age 14 years and older had texted while driving at least once in the month this study was taken, leading to show an increase in crash risk by 2-9 times. Texting while driving prevalence doubled between ages 15 and 16 years, and it continued to increase substantially for ages 17 years and up. Therefore, technology can negatively impact a teen’s life by putting the temptation of texting while driving on teens’ shoulders. Because teens want to stay connected with one another, they are more susceptible to text and drive. University of Kansas researchers partnered with Ph.D Paul Atchley and wrote in their article, ‘Why Can't I Stop Texting While Driving?’ about why teen drivers reply to texts in order to stress the importance of how dangerous it is to text while driving. It was concluded: “Texting is a social behavior; that desire to stay connected while driving is extremely powerful because it taps directly into your brain's reward system”. Because teens don’t want to feel excluded while driving, it causes a barrier between the teens focus on the road and the desire to communicate.
Technology is a growing addiction not just for teens and has many negative effects on society as a whole. The use of social media can cause a rapid decline in mental and physical health. Technology is one of the main causes of lack of face-to-face interactions in today’s society. Addictions to technology can lead to distracted driving and death.
- Anderson, Monica. “How Having Smartphones (or Not) Shapes the Way Teens Communicate”. Pew Research Center, Aug. 2015, Accessed 19 Jan. 2019, http://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank
- 'Driving safety'. LivingRight: Your Health and Wellness Awareness Bulletin, Aug. 2011.
- Nursing and Allied Health Collection, Accessed 19 Jan. 2019, http://link.galegroup.com/apps/doc
- Guinta, Maggie R., and Rita M. John. 'Social Media and Adolescent Hea'. Pediatric Nursing, July-Aug. 2018, p. 196+. Nursing and Allied Health Collection, Accessed 13 Jan. 2019, http://link.galegroup.com/apps/doc
- Madden, M., Lenhart, A., Cortesi, S., Gasser, U., Duggan, M., Smith, A., & Beaton, M. (2013). Teens, Social Media, and Privacy. Accessed 15 Jan. 2019, http://www.pewinternet.org/2013/05/21/teens-social-media-and-privacy/
- 'Nearly 2 in 5 Teen Drivers Text While Driving'. NewsRx Health, 9 Sept. 2018, p. 70.
- Nursing and Allied Health Collection, Accessed 21 Jan. 2019, http://link.galegroup.com/apps/doc/
- Rufus, Anneli. 'Falling into the Electronic Rabbit Hole: How Our Addiction to Technology Is Changing Our Brains and Relationships and Why 'E-Vacations' or Tech Cleanses Help Us Inplug and Tune in'. Spirituality & Health Magazine, Mar.-Apr. 2013, p. S8+. Nursing and Allied Health Collection, Accessed 16 Jan. 2019, http://link.galegroup.com/apps/doc/
- Tamburro, Cecelia. 'Teens & Tech: REMAINING AWARE & RESPONSIBLE IN THE SOCIAL MEDIA AGE'. The Exceptional Parent, Sept. 2017, p. 23+. Nursing and Allied Health Collection, Accessed 12 Jan. 2019, http://link.galegroup.com/apps/doc/
- 'Why can't I stop texting while driving?' Men's Health, Dec. 2011, p. 026. Nursing and Allied Health Collection, Accessed 21 Jan. 2019, http://link.galegroup.com/apps/doc/