By Joe Skoog ’13
In recent years, many people have focused upon the seemingly endlessly expansive domain of social networking sites and the changes they create with social contact between young people.
Sites like Twitter and Facebook are marketed as furthering the teen “social experience,” but in many ways severely diminish our propensity for real social interactions.
Want to know how a friend is doing? Just check their status and there’s no need for a phone call or a knock on their door. See something funny happen on the street? Why recount the story to people in person when you can broadcast it to hundreds in 140 characters or less.
This is also a departure from the actual idea of social networking.
Originally, social networking was all about making human connections with other people and building contacts through conversations, not profile pictures.
However, the recent rise of technology has made students more reliant upon it to keep up socially.
Instead of primarily hanging out with friends, one can see many students in the Information Commons using their computers at lunch or break.
While the computers we are given can be used to further our education in many ways, using them as a crutch to escape talking to others is not productive and can only hurt us.
As the Department of Internet Studies at Curtin University reported, “As social networking sites become more popular by the day, the rise of negative social effects within our society also greaten. We will also see our strong relationships diluted to a more superficial and ‘convenient’ type of relationship. We will continue to see a further decrease in productivity within workplace and also more instances of company’s reputations and names being brought into disrepute.”
For many students, playing games has replaced actual note taking, and even when students are made to go into Tablet mode, they still try to find ways to play games and not pay attention.
Best case, even if they take notes by the time they get home and are ready to start on an assignment, the temptation of having the Internet at their fingertips inevitably causes procrastination and distraction.
This can cause students’ grades to suffer and make it impossible for them to increase their learning in the many ways that computers can allow.
So put down your computer at lunch, sign up for intramural sports, or even just have a conversation about your day with a friend.
Steps like these can alleviate the concerns of many about the effect of computers on young people.