Surfing the Internet > Your Future?

 By Danica Nadeau, ’15

Give me ALL the Internets! Students often have a hard time managing the many distractions technology allows them, which could hard their future.

Give me ALL the Internets! Students often have a hard time managing the many distractions technology allows them, which could harm their future.

Breaking news! Research shows that children are slowly becoming more addicted to technology! Oh wait….that’s not new, but it has been developing at an astonishing rate recently. Children today know more about iPhones and iPads than they do about the alphabet or even colors. Don’t get me wrong, those devices can be used for good purposes, like teaching children how to count, read, and some social skills, but is it really that bad to keep it old school? The correct way a child should learn is by one-on-one contact with someone, and with hands-on activities to stimulate their mental growth.

Sometimes I reminisce about the good old days when staying out past the street lights made you that cool kid on the block. When I was a kid I never wanted to be inside. The last thing on my mind was using the computer, and the first thing on my mind was making the tough decision of which friend I wanted to play with that evening. Now, I would rather be in my room on my iPhone or iPad exploring Twitter, Facebook, Vine, or Instagram because that’s the way teenagers communicate.

Yeah sure, we go out to movies with friends, have sleepovers with them, and do other “social” things, but take a look at yourself next time you’re at your friends house or at the movies. I bet you’ll be scrolling through Twitter and sending a few text messages the whole time. Let’s be honest, we all text in the movie theater because we feel emotionally unstable without touching our cell phone for more than 20 minutes, and truthfully, that is pretty pathetic. Yes, I am guilty of it. Big time. I would rather take the chance of getting caught texting in class than not text at all. Most high school students are guilty of that behavior.

 Let’s take a step back, though, and look at technology usages in schools. What does the term iPad mean to high school students? Easier to sneak in games while the teacher is giving the class a lecture on how to use the iPads properly. Then you have Photo Booth on the iPads which, surprisingly, can keep teenagers amused for a full class period, snapping photos in stretch effect, and secretly snatching a few pics of their classmates across the room, which are then associated with the giggles that are more annoying than the pointless worksheets teachers feel the need to pass out when watching a movie. It is blatantly obvious that technology is not being used accordingly in school. Am I guilty of it? Yeah, 100 percent. Teacher turns around to write something on the board? Twitter. Teacher is talking to another student about the lesson? Instagram. Teacher is telling me to get off Instagram? Hop right back into Twitter and hope some new Twitter drama pops up onto my newsfeed.

If it weren’t for Google and all the other search engines we have out there, we would be shot back to the Stone Age when we would have to use books. Oh no! What’s a glossary and how do I find where this chapter is? I don’t even know how to find certain things in a book because I am so accustomed to typing my question into the Internet and having it quickly pop up onto the screen and copy and paste it onto the sheet, and feel fulfilled that I got the answer, even though I didn’t really work for it, needless to say.

While technology affects children and young adults in school, it also has an affect at home. From the nonsense that violent video games portray, such as Grand Theft Auto (even though it’s quite fun), to even simple sport games that show fighting, we wonder why the younger generation is becoming more and more violent towards their peers. It is all because of what they are influenced by. Especially young children because they do what they see.

In psychology, they call these mirror neurons. Mirror neurons are located in the frontal lobe of the brain and are triggered when we are doing an action, and even witnessing someone else do some sort of action. These mirror neurons may lead to empathy and even imitation when certain actions humans make are rewarded by a positive reinforcement. When you’re playing a violent video game and shoot someone, you get a type of satisfaction that you succeeded, like points added to your overall score. Well, when children see that, they may associate that with hurting another kid for the same type of reward, but truly, in return, they get a good ol’ punishment. Children learn quickly and easily from what they are surrounded by, good or bad. Influence is a main contributor I think, to how the child will grow up. If you isolate your child from violent video games maybe he or she will grow up a little weak in the physical aspect, but at least you won’t have to camp out in the principal’s office over night because you know your child will be in there the next morning for beating up a classmate.

So, put your iPads down, stop texting for a few minutes, and picture yourself sitting in a classroom. You have no type of technology at all to do your work with, only the text book resting on your desk, just waiting to be opened. Yes, the lecture may be boring and you may be thinking about whipping out that cell phone of yours and begin tweeting about how much you truly hate this pointless class, but in the long run, what you learn in elementary school, middle school, high school, and on will help you in the long run. You have enough free time to use your electronics. When you’re at school it is time to learn and better your future, not update your profile picture.

To sum it all up without sounding like a complete and utter miserable person who hates technology (because I truly love it, especially my iPhone), I just don’t think technology should be used as much in school in such substantial ways. We need to be able to add, subtract and multiply fractions without being dependent on a calculator, we need to focus more during class, and we need to stop being so reliant on the Internet to find out things for us that we could find out by just flipping a few pages in a book. Sure, it might take a few more minutes or even hours to write an essay but you will get more out of it. Personally, I love writing things down. I believe it helps me learn more because I have to actually think about what I am writing when I am writing it. Also, there is no such thing as spell check when it comes to pencil and paper. You learn from your mistakes, and technology is not allowing us to correct them ourselves.

 

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