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Shaylie Williams

September 18, 2017

English 1010
Issue Exploration Essay

We live in a society where every day, we are surrounded by technology. We rely heavily

on it in the workplace, we read the majority of our news from online sources, and many of us are

immersed in social media such as Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram. While digital connectedness

has its merits, it also has been shown to be quite detrimental to our youth. Their reliance on

technology is preventing them from developing personal and social skills important to their

success in life, and their use of these types of media should be much more closely regulated.

Its safe to say children today grow up in a different environment than 20 years ago.

Where children once grew up with nothing more than a television and a corded phone, many kids

can now unlock an iPad by the time theyre two years old. Giving a child a game to play on your

cell phone has become a quick-fix to any temper tantrum thrown, and the average age for a child

to own their own cell phone is now 10.3 years old (Donovan 2016). Reliance on electronics is

beginning at a younger age every year, and to pretend that this has no negative effects is nave,

and not in the best interest for our youth.

From the ages of five to sixteen, children now spend approximately 6 hours a day in front

of a screen. While a small percentage of this time may be school related, the majority of this time

is spent on video games, social media, and television. Studies have actually shown that overuse

of screen time can stunt the growth of childrens developing brains, and keep them from gaining

important life skills. Regarding these extreme amounts of screen time, Dr. Aric Sigman cautions,

[It] is the very thing impeding the development of the abilities that parents are so eager to
fosterthe ability to focus, to concentrate, to lend attention, to sense other peoples attitudes and

communicate with them, to build a large vocabularyall those abilities are harmed (Margalit

2016). The loss of these important abilities keeps children relying on their electronics for

stimulation and interaction, as opposed to forming deep or meaningful relationships with those

around them.

The group we refer to as millennials is the first generation to grow up completely

immersed in this technology, and its no coincidence that depression rates have skyrocketed for

their age. Those who regularly consume social media are 2.7 times more likely to suffer from

depression (Chowdhry 2016). One of the main contributing factors to this statistic is the issue of

cyberbullying, which unfortunately, comes along with social media and instant communication.

With little to no real interaction involved, communication becomes careless and seemingly lacks

consequences. Most teens will feel the harsh effects of cyberbullying at some point throughout

their childhood. The stress of competition also seems to be tied with consuming of social media,

and children struggle to compare with those around them. Self-worth becomes based on the

number of likes their pictures get, and the number of followers their accounts have, and quite

quickly, the pressure to measure up weighs down on them. Each of these factors, along with

many others, have led todays children to grow up with lower self-esteem, and higher rates of

depression and suicide.

While there are many different ways this situation could be handled, digitally

disconnecting isnt much of an option at this point. While technology obviously has its bad

effects, it has also become instrumental in the function of our society today. Businesses boom,

and consumerism is alive and well in our country today, greatly because of the strides we have

made in technology. We are able to perform more thorough research, stay more informed in
world issues, and stay in closer touch with those far away from us. Technology is here to stay,

and thats a very good thing!

In todays society, what is important is making sure technology is put in the right hands,

and used responsibly. Our children are going to be surrounded by technology, but as adults, it is

our responsibility to be sure that is not all that surrounds them. By teaching our children to use

technology in moderation, we can also teach them form close relationships, enjoy the world

around them, and to not base their worth on the opinions of others. As we strive to do this, we

will be able to raise children successfully in a digitally connected world.

Annotated Bibliography

Donovan, Jay. "The Average Age for a Child Getting Their First Smartphone Is Now

10.3 years." TechCrunch. TechCrunch, 19 May 2016. Web. 13 Sep. 2017.

This article posted on Tech Crunch gives us an idea of what ages kids are really getting

involved with smartphones and varying technology. It discusses how and when each

technology is being accessed, and what exactly technology looks like in the average

American household. From this article, we learn that children are getting phones at a

younger age every year, and get involved in social media by 11 years old, on average.

This article also brings up the point that while phones used to be just for contacting one

another, they can now be used to increase productivityshowing both the good and the

bad sides of this technology.

The main points I am using from this article are the numbers and statistics, so that I can

give my readers a good idea on who is being affected, to what extent our children use this

technology, and the pros and cons of that usage.

Chowdhry, Amit. "Research Links Heavy Facebook And Social Media Usage To

Depression." Forbes. Forbes Magazine, 30 Apr. 2016. Web. 13 Sep. 2017.

This article discusses a study done by the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine,

about depression and screen time. They have found a strong correlation between
depression, loneliness, and isolation, despite the ties that social media is supposed to give

us to those around us. The article goes on to discuss that its important to understand this

correlation because of just how immersed we are in social mediamost participants

spent more than an hour a day browsing the timelines of their social media sites.

I've chosen to include this article in my research paper, as it helps us to see the current

effects it has on our children, and gives a different perspective than the positive messages

posed by social media platforms such as Instagram and Facebook.

Margalit, Liraz, Ph.D. "What Screen Time Can Really Do to Kids' Brains." Psychology Today.

Psychology Today, 17 Apr. 2016. Web. 13 Sep. 2017.

This article discusses the long term effects of social media, and digital connectedness at a

young age. It teaches biologically, the effects that the screens will have on our children's'

brains, and how it will affect them in the future. It discusses the issues with this long term

exposure, such as children having problems making friends and forming social

connections, or creating unhealthy addictions to the dopamine hits technology can give.

However, it also discusses how in moderation, technology can be very good for our

children, helping them develop language and coordination skills.

I've chosen to include this information in my research paper, because of these points. It

gives a perspective of the consequences our children will have from their screens, and

gives us information that isn't easy that we can't really see at this point in our kid's lives.
Raz, Guy. "Screen Time-Part I." NPR. NPR, 11 Sept. 2015. Web. 04 Sep. 2017.

This podcast is a compilation of different Ted Talks, given on various topics about

technology in todays day and age. One of the important topics covered is the idea that

we face pressure from having two identitiesour personal and our online identity. The

other Ted Talks included the particulars of just how much screen time kids are using in

the United States.

This resource adds valuable insight on the hours that a typical child will use technology,

and/or social media during their average day. It also raises an interesting point that our

personal and online personalities can often be very different.

Slaney, Noa G., and Emerson Csorba. "Is Digital Connectedness Good or Bad for People?" The

New York Times. The New York Times, 28 Nov. 2016. Web. 04 Sep. 2017.

This source is taken from the New York Times opinion column. It includes a variety of

thoughts from different ages and groups, with varying perspectives on how technology

has affected them. The opinions vary from negative, by talking about how social media

has ruined the value of personal privacy, to very positive thoughts on how online

activism can spread more quickly than years ago, due to the power of social media.

I appreciated that through this article, you can see that both the positive and negative

views have merit, and that social media and technology is not all good, or all bad.