The Toll on Technology

Should people participate in “Shut Down Your Screen Week” where schools do not use any electronics for an entire school week? I answer with a wholehearted yes. Technology can be too distracting and addictive for students, so taking five days off helps clear our minds from social media and distractions the internet secretly adds.

Technology is too distracting Picture this: a student is preparing for an essay, when suddenly, a notification comes up stating his friend posted a new message on Facebook. He clicks on the notification, which directs him to Facebook. He is now browsing through other posts, forgetting about the research essay. This is the effect social media can have on people. I have some personal experience with this.

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In fact, just now, I was looking at another article that is not related to this topic as I am writing this essay. Songs often get stuck in my head and they interfere with my process of doing work, which can take a toll on me when I am trying to read for school. Multitasking is present when using technology, but it isn’t effective as some may think. A man named Mr. Ophir and his colleagues created a test for multitasking.

A computer projected an image of red rectangles, and then the subjects saw another image. They were asked if any of the rectangles changed position. They did the test again, but something changed: blue rectangles were added to the image, and they were told to ignore them. The results were people who said they multitasked often did worse than the people who don’t. The reason why is because when multitaskers tend to look for more information than to use the older, but more important, data.

Part of the brain gives orders to prioritize and focus on a task, while another (more primitive) part of the brain tells the person to pay attention to new information. Technology is intensifying the primitive part of the brain, and gets the person easily distracted by unnecessary information. For example, the incoming email distracts people from more important things like finishing homework. (information used from article “Attached to Technology and Paying a Price”) Even if my examples are not convincing enough, there are more cases of social media being too distracting. In the article “Attached to Technology and Paying a Price”, a man named Kord Campbell missed a 1.3 million dollar business email.

Not for one day, not even a week, but he didn’t notice it for 12 days. He managed to apologize to the man and get the deal, but this isn’t the only effect of technology on his family. Dinner plans and vacations are not planned often as everybody is on their devices, which shows how addictive technology can be. Technology is too addicting Ipads, phones, tablets; these are devices that can be used for work, or just for entertainment for the kids, and these games can be highly addicting. Many games for kids encourage you to log in daily to get rewards, or to upgrade more things. This makes the device hard to put down.

I have to beg my parents to let me use the iPad so I can get daily rewards. I say that I will use it for two minutes, but that can easily bump up to five. And it’s not just games: email, Facebook, Snapchat, Youtube, and Twitter all send out notifications to make you check something new.

There is science behind the addiction of social media: when someone checks his or her mail and sees a response, a chemical is made by the brain. This chemical gives him pleasure as someone sent a message and the person replied. That chemical is also found when taking drugs, alcohol, and smoking. Social media in devices are almost no less addicting than potentially lethal drugs and other stimulants. I personally wouldn’t want to live in a world of social addicts, and I don’t think you want it either.

But the worst part is yet to come; because using social media gives you pleasure, people often use it to cope with stress. There’s nothing like watching a new video on Youtube. But now, instead of talking to a person, people are more reliant on their phones or computers. This means people now hold more importance to their devices than other people, even family and friends. We don’t have to live like this. Technology is no more effective for learning than anything else You’re probably thinking about the benefits technology can bring: increased information sources and increased observation.

The problem is that people don’t use that to their advantage. And while there are educational sites for learning, students are more likely to download the hottest new game or check out a reply from their post. If any student was given a choice to research more on a topic or play a game, most students would choose the game. People often choose the more enjoyable option, even if it is not educational. Technology is then demoted to the level of books for education. What is even worse is that the internet can be even less effective than books.

Humans minds need one thing to focus on. The more focused we are, the deeper our thoughts. The internet, on the other hand, bombards the user with ads and other unnecessary information. This leaves users less focused on the valuable information and therefore, users pick up less information. We do need to have a “Shut Down your Screen” week, so students can focus more on their task. We need to take a break from technology so students don’t get too addicted.

This also can prevent kids from going to irrelevant websites. And with that, I strongly agree for us to participate in “Shut Down your Screen Week”.