Teens Run on Batteries By: Margo Cerrone

Ever since the first telephones, computers and televisions were made, people have obsessed over them. When the variety of electronics grew, so did the addiction.

While there are benefits, the negative effects cannot be overlooked. If you think about it, our world revolves around electronics. In ways, it is similar to a drug addiction; no matter how hard you try to give it up, you just can’t shake that craving to have it every second of every day. Technology comes with positive and negative benefits that affect a person’s everyday life.

The easiest conversation nowadays seems to all be technology related. In terms of how many teenagers are involved with technology, Huffington Post explains, “Seventy-one percent of teens say they use more than one of the following social networks: Facebook, Google+, Instagram, Twitter, Snapchat, Vine and Tumblr.” As you can see, Seventy-one percent of teens WORLDWIDE use 6 or more social media outlets. Back in the 1900’s, the online source of “media outlet” teenagers had was one landline telephone in their homes. So, although technology has amazed us over the years, we need to learn to budget our time with technology to ensure that we don't overuse them. Xander Winser, a 15 year old who goes to Staples High School, says, “I think it’s different than it used to be because now everyone’s obsessed with it. They can’t stop checking their phone. Before, it was only used for research and schoolwork, but now it is just a toy that people use for pleasure.” "It," being technology, is seen through Winser's eyes as being an object of leisure versus a serious work material in businesses that benefits their companies and also directly affects students in schools in terms of research papers, studies and such. The hours we spend on electronics every day is only increasing, even compared to just a couple of years ago.

"Technological advances help incredibly much within businesses because now it is made to be a lot easier to run, especially international business, because instead of paying lots of money to fly out for business meetings, you can now do it virtually on the web," says Bryn Stephens, a former Staples High School student living in Houston, Texas. Not only are businesses benefiting from this closely-tied connection to their partners around the world, but technology is actually CREATING jobs worldwide.

On the other hand, there are downfalls to this incredible new creation. One of the results of overusing electronics is a decreased amount of sleep. This lack of sleep has a significant impact on the brain's cognitive function. Web MD says, “[lack of sleep] impairs attention, alertness, concentration, reasoning, and problem-solving. This makes it more difficult to learn efficiently.” The Prefrontal Cortex is responsible for reasoning and problem solving and the Reticular Activating System regulates the mind's alertness. When the mind does not get enough sleep, these areas of the brain cannot function normally. Lack of sleep can also result in serious health issues such as heart disease and diabetes. So the question is this: are you willing to throw your perfectly healthy life away for a mind-consuming, non-essential, inanimate object?

Dorian Phillips, a 15 year old at Staples High School, expresses his views on a different aspect of technology, being cyber-bullying/blackmailing, "Depending on what they’re looking to do with their lives, the media has the power to ruin a student's future, because technology is a huge part of businesses and school systems today, so if you have bad history on the web especially, business owners have the power to look up your name, and research your past." Though he is one of the fortunate few that have not experienced cyber-bulling, Staples student Thea Collins expresses her personal experience with the matter, “Social Media has been a huge struggle for me, especially in my teenage years. I feel like I can’t really express who I am online through my pictures on Instagram, for example, because I will be judged and ridiculed in the comments about the content that I posted.” According to "Gurl," it is said that cyberbullying has become an increasingly large problem. What they did, is created a step-to-step guide for those who suffer as the victim in cyberbullying, and teach one ways to cope with such problems.

More than teenagers, the problems within social media outlets advance onto a political level. The most recent example of such events was the 2016 Presidential Election. According to Sasha Narang, a junior at Staples High School apart of the school Newspaper "Inklings," explains, “Being a member of Inklings, I really have a better understanding to how social media works. Through interviews, research, and reactions to statistics and such, the media takes a huge toll on society today, being both a positive or negative effect on their mental health and well-being.” Narang continues to tell me about how she is involved with the media for hours at a time while working in the newspaper, and it forced to confront both reported news articles, and opinions on opinions of people's views on all different kinds of subject matter. Specifically with the election, Narang tells me about the quarrels she's gotten into with her interviewee's about their personal political positions. She says that students here at Staples are very passionate, (to say the least,) but can be aggressive both in person and even more so virtually when battling/expressing their points of views. So, when online during such times, it is important to make sure you don't get involved in such events, and help prevent "political cyberbullying" from occurring.

All in all, media is this generation's new form of drug. So, nowadays, it is important to take the time and talk to people face to face, regardless of whether it is "more efficient" or "less of a hassle" to communicate via the web. If we keep spending so much time on electronics, we will lose any connection to the real friends we have, not just the ones we accept on Facebook.


Created with images by Pixies - "technology keyboard computing" • LoboStudioHamburg - "twitter facebook together"

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