Recently, as there has been more and more talk about technology and its impact on the world today, but there’s one thing that’s always brought up – our generation. It’s always about the impact of technology on children, young adults and anything in between.
According to research done by the Pew Research Center as of January 2014,
-Nearly 2/3 of the USA owns a cellphone
-Around 64% of the American ADULT population owns a smartphone
-73% of American Teenagers also own smartphones
It’s inevitable that these numbers will steadily be growing. However, while smartphone usage will always be increasing across the world, it’s true that the spotlight will be put onto those who seem to be using them the most, us. As teenagers, we’re constantly depicted as being a lazy, tech-obsessed, narcissistic group of youth that can’t seem to hold a good conversation.
While it might be applicable in some situations, it’s not completely true. Technology, specifically smartphones, is just like any other part of our daily lives. They’ve become ingrained into our daily routines, and it’s not necessarily a bad thing.
Sure. There are definitely those who do overuse their tech in inappropriate times, like during a lecture to message friends, in the middle of a conversation, etc., but that’s no reason to diminish the value of a person on their phone to a solid wall devoid of humanity. Countless cartoons and images published in print and on the Internet depict scenes of tables, trains, and more, filled with people silently looking at their phones or other “smart” devices like it’s a completely bad thing. They portray us as vain, anti-social zombies. So here’s a small look at what it’s actually like to be “reliant” on smartphones.
1. When going places, having a smartphone makes things so much more convenient. They help us make plans, get directions, contact others who need to be contacted, and if we’re in a group, we can easily pull up info/pictures/anything we need to show to those around us when applicable. So there’s no need to say that smartphones are useless and that they’re spoiling us as a generation.
2. They’re good distractions. If you’re on a bus, subway, taxi, or just at a café, being on your phone doesn’t signify being anti-social. In fact, most of the time, people are using their time when they can to catch up with what’s going on with their friends—sometimes even internationally–on various social media sites. Taking phones out of the situation will not make everyone begin to make small talk with strangers around them; it’ll just make things awkward.
3. They help with any social anxiety. As a relatively introverted person who’s not the most naturally social, having a multi-functional smartphone is a godsend. If I’m feeling particularly awkward, uncomfortable, or out of place in a public area or a party, being able to sit and go on my phone as I wait for friends or transportation, helps make things so much more tolerable and just less awkward. Some people relish being able to start conversations and just be free, but by establishing the fact that I’m on a phone messaging someone through text or reading an article, it keeps me in my own little bubble, which is exactly what I’d want.
4. Two words: Selfie. Culture. Another thing we’re constantly ridiculed for due to our phones. They might seem kind of ridiculous at times, but the core of selfies isn’t something to shame teenagers for. If someone feels confident enough to take multiple pictures of themselves looking good or having a good time and POST it online…I’m pretty sure that’s a good thing. It’s not making us any more self-absorbed than the mirror pictures we’d see in the past decades.
5. In my experience of going to schools that are very tech-oriented where we use our laptops in every class, our cellphones can easily be a tool to help further our education. Whether it is looking up a quick date in History or figuring out the character for a word in Chinese, phones have evolved to become more than just a communication device outside of the classroom.
However, I’m not trying to say that we’re completely in the clear and that our use of smartphones is all completely justified. There are times and places where you shouldn’t be using your smartphone (on a date, while driving, talking to your parents, etc.), but the bad rep this generation is getting for utilizing modern technology is overused and is becoming pretty redundant.