Finding Balance in a World of Technology | Teen Ink

Finding Balance in a World of Technology

January 18, 2017
By RYang04 SILVER, Kensington, California
RYang04 SILVER, Kensington, California
9 articles 0 photos 1 comment

This summer I went to Mountain Meadow Ranch, a no-tech sleepaway camp. Mountain Meadow Ranch, an actual working ranch, was an hour drive away from the Reno airport. At MMR there was no technology except for cameras. Normally everyday I check my social medias constantly, but here, when we locked our phones away, I completely forgot about social media. Every day we got to choose four activities including riflery, high ropes, horseback riding, and more. Everyday I would be so excited by my activities I didn’t even think about my phone. At MMR the whole day was so packed that I didn’t have time to think about anything else but the activity. Being away from tech for two weeks was a good experience. I felt like I was in the moment and not lost in the internet and this made my memory of MMR more full and textured. Technology can be useful to contact people but too much will cause you to rely on technology and be distant from the moment.

Technology affects teens’ everyday life by stealing time and memories. When teens use technology, they tend to overuse it. As CNN says, ”Let's just put nine hours in context for a second. That's more time than teens typically spend sleeping, and more time than they spend with their parents and teachers. And the nine hours does not include time spent using media at school or for their homework.” This shows that teens spend a lot of time on the internet, which cuts down on time spent having experiences. It’s also extremely easy to get lost in the internet and waste two to three hours without realizing it. Spending nine hours on technology takes away from spending time with your friends and family; without maintaining healthy relationships you suffer from being lonely or just having technology-based friends. Only knowing friends from technology is bad because they may seem nice on social media but in real life you can’t tell. “Experimental research has shown that simply placing a mobile phone on the table beside a pair of strangers decreases their closeness and the amount of personal information they disclose” (Przybylski and Weinstein, 2012).  Even though technology based relationships aren’t that good, technology can even damage real life relationships. Just seeing the phone light up makes you want to look at it and then get distracted. This makes you focus on your phone and makes you less likely to remember or share information. Being focused on your phone also give the other person the idea that they're not important.

Technology has an impact on our social lives creating both more and less stress and happiness. It can create more stress onto the daily lives of adolescents. American Psychology Association (APA) says, “The majority of adolescents text message after they go to bed and many report keeping their phones under their pillows in order to avoid missing important messages at night (Lenhart, Ling, Campbell, & Purcell, 2010). The use of mobile phones during the night increases the odds of being ‘very tired’ by two to four-fold the following day (Van den Bulck, 2007) and there is some emerging evidence that the light emitted from the screens of devices themselves could interfere sleep.” Without quality sleep adolescents are more stressed and grumpy. A friend of mine has to put her phone in a drawer in the hallway. One of the benefits is you can let go of the pressure of responding to social media 24/7; whereas if it’s right below your pillow you can check it without any effort. That said, technology can used to create more happiness and help different people stay connected. “Mobile devices also allow children and adolescents separated from close friends and family to stay more closely connected, including, for example, with deployed military parents or non-custodial parents.” This signifies technology can sustain relationships without real-life contact. People who don’t see their parents everyday can facetime them instead of a phone call or a letter; this can create joy for both sides. Also, if you aren’t going to see one of your friends for a long time, you can preserve the friendship with social media until the next time you meet.

When using technology you must find a balance: enough time away from technology to have full and textured memories and time with technology to sustain bonds. If you spend too much time on technology, it can create stress. But if you don’t spend time on technology, relationships can be weakened. There are pros and cons on both sides of the picture. You can make the choice to lock up your technology in a drawer and separate your devices from your vision, or maybe make the choice to restrict your data plan. Finding a perfect balance is hard but very rewarding.

The author's comments:

Finding out teenagers spend more than 9 hours a day on technology was shocking. I wanted to write about it because we all have that one friend who is always on their phone and it's very frustrating. I wrote about technology with both prespectives because it's important to keep your mind open. Technology is amazing but everything in moderation!

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