Are your teenager’s devices adding value or are they damaging? The effect of technology on young people's lives

Are your teenager’s devices adding value or are they damaging? The effect of technology on young people’s lives

The issue of gaming and general use of electronic devices by young people has featured very prominently in the news in the last week or two. I was listening to Radio 4 yesterday and parents were lining up to tell their story about the effects that gaming in particular has had on their children – mainly boys. The stories told by people were mixed. One story was from a mother who said her son got a string of A grades at GCSE despite the fact that he often spent quite a bit of time gaming. Another story was from a father whose son became violent and attacked him when he tried to take away the computer to which the boy was addicted. Sadly this reminds me of something a little close to home, a story, which I will share with you in my next blog.

Modern technology continues to revolutionise our lives as it has been doing in the last century or so. The most obvious advance in the last 20 to 30 years has been IT – information technology. Two most noticeable players in the development of information technology are Google and Apple. According to the Office for National Statistics 36 million adults use the Internet everyday in Britain. This figure means that there are 20 million more people who are now using the Internet everyday in comparison to the number in 2006.

Let’s rejoice – information technology is transforming our lives

The speed of storing and transferring information digitally has increased by a factor of several thousand in the last decade or so. The ability to transfer and share information not only allows us to communicate in a way that we’ve never done in history, it also accelerates the development of other areas and enhances various aspects of our lives immensely. The sharing of data at a fast speed aids scientific development, research and innovation. We can now use technology to present information or works of art in a way that is more palatable to the eye and the ability to trade goods and services in a global environment with breathtaking speed are all very good and enriching. We all carry devices such as mobile phones and tablets, like iPhones, Samsungs, iPads and so on, which make our lives more pleasurable. For the work we do to earn a living or for young people to do their studies, we sometimes use technology to work in a more effective way.

Question to answer about how we use our devices and the Internet

From the above, it is apparent to see that there is an awful lot to celebrate as more powerful and portable technology has improved our lives. However, there are very serious questions to ask on the effects the use of technology is having on the development of our young people. Also for us adults, we want to examine the influence of technology on the way we live our lives and ask if it is all positive. We ought to evaluate if the time we spend on our devices is time well invested. We also need to think carefully about our young people and the amount of time they spend on smart phones, iPads, gaming devices and computers. Could that time be invested in doing other things? Do teachers always have to set homework assignments that involve using the Internet?

I have a story to tell you in my next blog on this and I am sad to say that not only is the story a rather appalling experience; it is also close to home. Please watch out for my next blog titled “The ugly side of the Internet and computers on families”

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