What are you learning about your topic?

Upon further research regarding technology in today’s generation and the permanent effects it has on our society, I’ve come to learn a lot more about my topic in depth. My main question started with whether or not apps help us or waste our time, but with that come numerous sub-questions such as, the effects TOO much time using apps on gadgets has on us. I want to take into account how the constant usage of technology affects us medically. And I believe this is important and relevant because it also connects with another main portion of my topic, which incorporates whether or not technology makes us feel more alone, and something I learned through my research is that the epidemic of loneliness is a serious medical condition.

An article by Jennifer Jolly in the New York Times blog section discusses, “Screenagers,” a new documentary that portrays how children can’t resist the pull of electronic devices, and parents simply do not know what to do about it. Throughout my constant research I have come to learn that the average child in America spends more time with electronic media than going to school. And a British study shows that while six in ten parents are concerned over their children spending too much time in front of a screen, seven in ten children are concerned that their parents are the ones that are so engrossed in their screens and completely tuned out. This is a confusing statistic because it identifies the dynamic of how the worry over, “screen time,” is a two-way street.

Jolly’s article included a conversation she had with Dr.Delaney Ruston, who is the director of, “Screenagers,” and a physician working as a filmmaker in New York. When Dr.Delaney Ruston was asked what the impacts of modern technology on our children’s brains were, she explained how the excessive usage of screens can actually harm the physical development of young people’s brains. This includes serious negative effects on learning, such as bad attention spans. A research was done to scientifically examine the learning differences between little kids that were exposed to screens and those that were not.

This study was conducted with preschoolers. The researchers split sixty kids into two separate groups. One half of the kids watched about ten minutes of fast-paced images on a screen, while the other half spent the same amount of time drawing with crayons in a different room. Then, all of the kids took the same test that had questions regarding simple cognitive skills. The results were that the kids who were exposed to the screen did much worse than the kids that were not. This proves that digital media such as flashing games, social media, 24/7 texting, YouTube videos, etc., all tire the brain out. This is not only a major problem for students finding it extra hard to reach their full academic potential, but also their mental health. The biggest problem we face is that parents themselves are also completely absorbed in technology. And the common excuse seems to always be, “tech is everywhere, anyway.” So they end up simply handing over smartphones to their seven year old children. And that’s how the vicious cycle of tech addiction begins. The bigger picture may be that technology is no doubt advancing our country and expanding the day-today capabilities we have, but at the same time, it is deteriorating the individual minds of young people when the exposure reaches such an excessive point.

So, the question still remains, what can we do about the excessive usage? Jolly’s article concluded with ideas that could genuinely help figure out a good medium for screen time and young children. With the right guidelines, kids can develop an increase in self-control over a period of time and therefore be less dependent on their gadgets, which is the overall goal. The only reason we are so addicted is because we are so dependent on technology to do basic tasks that we should be able to perform without it. And without even thinking about it, we end up teaching kids to simply rely on technology to help them perform the same simple tasks. As adults, we should set examples of how to use technology in a smart, proactive way. By not checking our phones every five minutes, and trying to spend more time focusing on our social skills and engaging with others in a positive manner. Balance is all that is required, once there is a good balance between the usage of gadgets and the time spent without it, we can eliminate unwanted side effects of the over-usage of technology.

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