Nowadays it would be hard to argue against the claim that technology is very prevalent in our society. You can see it everywhere, from smartphones, to cars, to machines. Some of these things, such as household appliances and transportation, can help make our lives easier. But other technological advances are negatively impacting many people, and will eventually negatively impact our world in the future. Some of these impacts are direct, such as AI replacing human labor and people losing their jobs. But other impacts are indirect. The biggest and the most important issue is the youth’s addiction to their phones.
It is shocking to think of how much technology has advanced in just the last few decades. “While in the early period of human history, the pace of technological progress was relatively slow, the success of today’s companies is strongly defined by time-to-market and state-of-the-artness.” (https://hackernoon.com/the-omnipresence-of-ai-and-an-intelligent-it-consultant-made-in-france-93074320b64d). Technology is accelerating quickly, and our lives have become dependent on it. We use it to wake ourselves up in the morning. We use it to heat our food. We use it to get to work or to school. We use it to set reminders for ourselves, or to store important dates and information. We use it to do research. We use it to communicate. All that and more. It is everywhere, so it is no surprise that it will have some negative impacts alongside all the positives. But the real question is how much we are going to let these impacts threaten our future generations.
With the mention of negative impacts, one of them is the loss/replacement of jobs. With the arrival of Siri, Alexa, and Cortana, it is not difficult to see the increase in the presence of artificial intelligence in our lives. However, many people predict that AI will eventually replace many jobs and leave people unemployed. “Realizing to what extent AI could replace human labor, can be extremely frightening” (https://hackernoon.com/the-omnipresence-of-ai-and-an-intelligent-it-consultant-made-in-france-93074320b64d). An even bigger issue that I think should be addressed is teenagers’ addiction to their phones. This omnipresent of technology and popularity of cell phones and social media has caused many people, mostly teenagers, to be so dependent on their phones that it negatively impacts their lives, their studies and their ability to think for themselves. “A 2016 survey from Common Sense Media found that half of teenagers felt addicted to their devices, and 78 percent checked their devices at least hourly. Seventy-two percent of teens felt pressured to respond immediately to texts, notifications and social media messaging” (https://www.nytimes.com/2018/01/17/well/family/is-your-child-a-phone-addict.html). This creates a real problem because not only does it waste their time and impede their social skills, it also takes away from their studies. This cartoon summarizes very well what our future is leading up to: https://www.boldbusiness.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/07/the-future-of-smartphone-addiction-cartoon.jpg. It shows how we are becoming oblivious to what is going on around us, and are refraining from expressing our emotions, instead resorting to emojis and texts.
Teenagers’ addiction to their cell phones not only affects them individually, but it affects our future. They are the next generation that will run this country and the world. If they become lazy, unable to property communicate or express their thoughts, and constantly distracted, that could mean horrible things eventually. This is why this problem must be solved. It is unreasonable to say that it would be possible to stop teenagers from using the Internet and social media all together. However, by raising awareness of the negative impacts of constant cell phone usage and the benefits of restricting it, we could hopefully encourage people to lessen their time and usage of technology. One important way to do this is to keep track of your screen time. Apple has come up with a new feature that notifies people of their average daily screen time, and informs them whether their average that week had increased or decreased based on the week before. People should be aware of that and set a goal for themselves. For example, aim to decrease their average screen time each week until they reach a reasonable point, then try to maintain that. Another solution is to encourage people to challenge each other and their friends to spend less time on their phones. For example, when they go out to eat or are just hanging out, they can challenge everyone to set their phones aside and not look at it the whole time. If someone does, there will be consequences.
In conclusion, helping teens understand the importance of limiting their time on their phones would be extremely beneficial to everyone. Solving the problem of excessive technology usage might be difficult and many might be reluctant, but hopefully they can understand that doing so would help not only themselves, but our world.