My Culminating Project

THE ISSUE:

For my culminating project, I wanted to focus on the negative effects of technology, specifically regarding physical communication and the barriers that it creates. As time has gone by in the semester, I have found this topic increasingly more interesting, as unfortunately, it does pertain to me. As we have seen throughout our studies and coursework, technology is advancing at an increasingly rapid rate, which doesn’t seem to be slowing down any time soon. As I previously mentioned, I am a culprit of the problem and a byproduct of the issue. Being so, I know first hand (mostly because my parents tell me) that I am “addicted” to my phone and social media, along with many of my peers and I know that the effects can’t be good. As we have read recently, face-to-face interactions with people are becoming minimized and are regarded with much less importance than technological communication. Additionally, means of technology seem to effect people in all realms and may not be all beneficial. Specifically, this issue seems to have a very large effect on the age group of children and teenagers, and there seem to be unfortunate implications regarding their future…

THE RESEARCH:

When I first started my research, I searched by broad standards, looking at studies and articles with effects of technology on the general population, and then I furthered my search. I wanted to look at effects of technology on children and adolescents, primarily because I grew up in the generation when this issue started and where it is probably most prominent in regards to implications for the future. One of my articles that I found, titled, “Media and Technology Predicts ill-being Among Children, Preteens and Teenagers Independent of the Negative Health Impacts of Exercise and Eating Habits” looked at the impact of technology in four main areas of ill-being for children: psychological issues, behavioral problems, attention problems, and physical health. The subjects of the study were among children (aged 4-8), preteens (9-12), and teenagers (13-18) and was conducted through an online survey completed by their parents. The results of the study suggested that while age is a variant in regards to the population of children/adolescents analyzed, technology appears to have a harmful effect on health. It was found that screen time allotted to children by their parents should be minimized so that the children can obtain optimum health, specifically in regards to physical health. Screen time has been shown to reduce physical activity in all of the populations of the subjects’, which can lead to a multitude of diseases. In addition, screen time has been shown to induce poor eating habits, which also gives rise to diseases such as obesity, diabetes and different types of cancer.

Below is the link to a very cool TED Talk by Social Historian Allison Graham about how social media actually makes us unsocial
Similarly, I found a somewhat more broad article that encompasses the issue at its core and what I originally wanted to look at – an article titled, “The Effect of Social Network Sites on Adolescents’ Social and Academic Development: Current Theories and Controversies”. The research from this article analyzes what we have spent a lot of time talking about: social media networks, which in this case for purposes of the study, was coined the acronym “SNS”. The researchers from this study found that while social capital may be a positive gain from SNS sites such as Facebook and Twitter. Beyond this, it was discovered that peer influence is related to safety behaviors in SNS. For example, if someone’s friend were to make their Facebook privacy setting “public”, then there would be a higher chance that they would do the same thing as well. In addition, there have been many cognitive behavioral issues such as cyberbullying that have linked to the usage of technology and SNS in adolescents. 
After I read these articles, I was stunned. While we looked at articles such as Sherry Turkle’s “Stop Googling. Let’s Talk” and learned the consequences of technology on communication (which is what I originally wanted to research), I did not know the other facets of the issue. It’s hard to believe that this is how our society operates, and it doesn’t seem to be slowing down any time soon. I wish I wasn’t able to say that I am not a byproduct of this issue (which I definitely make worse on myself), but I am. I try to limit my technology use but find myself constantly checking my phone and my own social media apps. Maybe (hopefully) now after researching on this topic and delving further into it I will try to be more cognizant of the issues I am creating as well as worsening for myself and my future…

CONCLUDING THOUGHTS: 

In regards to making this blog, I found it extremely fascinating and interesting not only learning more about WordPress, but coincidentally writing about the use of technology on such a widely popular technological platform. I can’t say this isn’t ironic, but I can say that this was at least informational as compared to the SNS I engage with…
This topic is especially important to discuss because as we are transcending into a virtually technology based world, we need to be aware of the effects and implications that it has on society as well as the future generations to come. Particularly regarding the facet that social media networks cause such behavioral and physical issues, it is important to raise awareness so that these issues do not become worse and so we can ameliorate the issue at hand. If we do not talk about the problems with technology use, then they will only multiply.
On a more personal note, it’s pretty ironic that this is what I’ve chosen to focus my final project on. As I mentioned earlier, I am one hundred percent effected from this issue and I definitely contribute to the cause – there’s no denying that. I don’t mean to make myself out to be someone who is constantly on their phone and not paying attention to real life, but I would say that I need to watch myself so these issues that I researched do not become my full fledged reality. My mom and step dad constantly tell me to get off of my phone, and I try – I really do. But when you’ve grown up in a generation where everything is based off of technology, it’s pretty hard. And it’s not just me! Really. The other night at dinner I caught them being hypocrites…
I showed them this picture and they were speechless… And they didn’t tell me to get off of my phone for the rest of the night…

WORKS CITED:

Ahn, J. (2011). The effect of social network sites on adolescents social and academic development: Current theories and controversies. Journal of the American Society for Information Science and Technology,62(8), 1435-1445. doi:10.1002/asi.21540

The Impacts of Technology. (2013, April 15). Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=790hLh9KCb8

The Nation. (2018, March 28). Excessive use of technology in children. Retrieved from https://nation.com.pk/28-Mar-2018/excessive-use-of-technology-in-children

The Negative Effects Social Media Can Have On Relationships. (2018, April 24). Retrieved from https://studybreaks.com/culture/negative-effects-social-media-can-relationships/

Rosen, L., Lim, A., Felt, J., Carrier, L., Cheever, N., Lara-Ruiz, J., . . . Rokkum, J. (2014). Media and technology use predicts ill-being among children, preteens and teenagers independent of the negative health impacts of exercise and eating habits. Computers in Human Behavior,35, 364-375. doi:10.1016/j.chb.2014.01.036

T. (2014, November 10). How social media makes us unsocial | Allison Graham | TEDxSMU. Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d5GecYjy9-Q

 

 

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