The benefits of modern technology are almost too numerous to mention. While those who lived in a time before iPhones and tablets have some perspective on what life is like without them, younger people have never known anything different. That can make it more difficult to see some of the negative effects of such a digital lifestyle. Don’t worry, this isn’t a “those darn millennials” rant or a “back in my day” diatribe. It’s just a brief list of some of the harmful effects of excessive technology on younger generations.
Lack of Movement
There has always been a misconception that things like video and computer games were just a waste of time. Parents had the impression that their kids were just sitting in front of a screen while flashing lights and bright colors melted their brains out.
This couldn’t be further from the truth. In fact, these games require high levels of thought, coordination, problem-solving, pattern recognition, and decision making. However, what they don’t require is very much movement.
There have been attempts to solve this problem with systems like the Wii and PlayStation Move and Xbox Kinect. Unfortunately, none of these systems caught on the way their more stationary counterparts did.
It’s not just entertainment either. Kids used to have to put in legwork when they had school assignments like research papers. Encarta was only so helpful… Now, they could look up the entirety of Chinese history on their phone in about ten seconds.
Granted, it’s hard to qualify access to knowledge as a bad thing. But, it’s just another example of how having everything we need at our fingertips all the time has led to a more stationary existence. That lack of movement can lead to health problems now and down the road.
Video games are fun, but be sure to find ways to stay physically active.
The irony of social media never ceases to amaze me. In a sense, humanity is more connected than it has ever been. In another sense, we have never been more disconnected from the people we actually know.
Having a conversation through a screen is so much different than having a conversation in person. Sadly, young people are doing more of the former and less of the latter.
When you have a conversation via text you miss out on inflection, body language, and tone; to which one might argue, “That’s what emojis are for.” At that point, I would have to go to the optometrist to restore my vision from rolling my eyes so hard.
Even Facetiming creates a barrier of impersonality. It’s not just about how we connect with technology, it’s about how we don’t connect because of technology. Everyone is guilty of it. Checking their phone while out at a restaurant, or at the family dinner table, or (if you’re smooth a sandpaper) on a date.
We are more stimulated by what’s going on on our screens than we are with what’s happening in the real world around us. While this is a problem for everyone, it is particularly damaging for people in their formative years. It informs who they are going to be for the rest of their lives.
It’s hard for younger people, not just because it’s all they know, but because everyone around them is doing the same thing. This may just be the direction humanity is headed in. Or maybe there’s still enough time to show people that technology is meant to enrich our lives, not become them.