E-society: Teens spend too much time using electronics to communicate

December 10, 2010 — by Mac Hyde

Take a walk down a typical high school’s hallways today, and you will might find more students using iPods and cellphones than holding an actual conversation. It’s part of a disturbing trend among Millennials (Those born between 1982-2001).

The New York Times recently published a survey called “If Your Kids Are Awake, They’re Probably Online,” reporting that the average teenager spends over eight hours a day connected to the electronic labyrinth. Add in the fact that most teens are multitasking during their increasingly long stays online and one comes up with a grand total of nearly 11 hours of media per day.

While it is grand that we have access to all of this wonderful technology, at what point do we say enough is enough? College counselors are finding feuds between roommates more frequent and escalating in magnitude simply because they don’t know how to talk face to face and work things out. Teachers are finding that students are more often plagiarizing and instead of acting truly repentant, they act defensive about their admitted copying.

Even here at Saratoga I’ve noticed a change among students. Years ago one could stroll down the halls and start a conversation with relative ease, but today many of the students are far too busy texting or listening to music to be bothered.

While there is nothing wrong with listening to music, is it truly worth the bother to fetch one’s iPod, choose a song and navigate the halls listening to just one song? I think not. Human contact is something that should be treasured. The wealth of information that can be exchanged in just a single glance can’t even begin to be replaced by a whole conversations worth of texts.

When in our lives did we decide that we needed to be constantly connected to our closest 500 “friends.” Heck, I don’t even talk to all of my Facebook friends—and as those of you with any semblance of hearing know I like to talk quite a bit, often at loud volumes. The idea of being able to be contacted at anytime truly is a horrid one. Where now do we have a chance to organize our thoughts? Why do you need to know the answer now? Will it kill you if you find out 30 minutes from now?

Wait, some of you dear readers might be saying. You, my good sir, are constantly attached to that contraption named Geoffrey (my laptop). What right do you have to be criticizing us on our usage of technology? Well, none really, save for three things. First, I probably send four text messages a week, if that. Secondly, I spend less than five hours attached to Geoffrey and that is due to my wonderful (editor’s note: atrocious) handwriting. Third, my dealings with the online world are rather legal, in fact the only method I know of to “download” music for free involves a phonograph, two cassette players and an inordinate amount wires.

What ever happened to our sense of wonderment? Instead of imagination, we prefer to spend our lives absorbed online. Gone are the days where a lazy summer afternoon was spent just watching the clouds go by. We no longer find value in face to face contact, holy antisocial teenagers, batman!; we don’t even value voice to voice contact. Call me old fashioned, but if the future is destined to be an antisocial one, count me out.

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