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Technology is Ruining Your Life (Con)

Kayla Hodges

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The term “smartphone” was coined in 1995, and I believe it’s become quite evident since then that this term and everything connected to it has changed our day to day lives. Advances in technology have made everyday tasks not only easier but possible. With the assistance of technology we now have immediate forms communication and ways to access anything from documents to videos of cats playing the piano in mere seconds. Anymore, we don’t even have to endure a two hour car ride without our favorite disney movies to distract us. Technology has a large variety of benefits but have they become more unhealthy than helpful?

Over the years, as technology has become a more prominent part of our lives, it has not only affected the way we communicate but it has altered the way we think. 40 years ago, before technology was it’s at prime, no one was worried about cyber bullying, texting while driving, or how many likes you got on instagram. Audie Cornish, an award winning journalist and a University of Massachusetts Amherst graduate, wrote an article for NPR (National Public Radio) entitled “How Smartphones are Making Kids Unhappy¨. In this article Cornish argues that smartphones are making the younger generation, or “iGen”, more emotionally vulnerable and unhappy. The article includes research done by Jean Twenge, a professor of psychology at San Diego State University, on the effects of the “iGen”, concluding that the “iGen” is on the brink of the worst mental health crisis in decades.

Psychiatrists, neuroscientists, marketers, and public health experts have done extensive research on the effects of our beloved technology. Steven C. Hayes Ph.D., Nevada Foundation Professor at the Department of Psychology at the University of Nevada and author of 46 books and over 600 scientific articles, published an article in psychology today claiming that part of the reason our technology is having such a negative behavioral effect is due to social comparison, the idea that you could be completely content with something until you see that someone else has it better.You can find evidence to support this theory in an experiment reviewed by Frans De Waal in a Ted Talk. In this experiment, conducted on capuchin monkeys, two monkeys are put in seperate cages side by side, the monkeys are each instructed to give the researchers a stone and are rewarded in return. Monkey #1 successfully completes the task and is handed a cucumber, he enjoys his reward without a second thought. Monkey #2 completes this task as well but is instead rewarded with a grape. At this point monkey #1 is growing frustrated with the researchers and his merely competent cucumber. The exact same process is repeated three times, each time monkey #1 grows increasingly more angry with the researchers, rattling his cage and throwing his cucumber. By the third time the monkey is absolutely infuriated and will no longer tolerate the researchers offer of the cucumber.

Amongst Technology completely altering the way we think and process our day to day lives, it has also given us a literally unhealthy sense of entitlement. A few decades ago no one would think twice about leaving their house without a smartphone in their pockets, but it is now considered by many borderline unsafe. It has now become difficult for people to independently and cognitively function without the whole world at their fingertips. Technology has come with a great plethora of benefits, which have without a doubt helped the world we know today become the astonishing thing it is, but every rose has its thorns.

(Editor’s Note: View the rebuttal, here: https://fairgrovenews.com/3167/opinion/technology-has-improved-your-life-pro/)

For more information on these topics, check out the sources used in this article:

How Smartphones Are Making Kids Unhappy by Audie Cornish

https://www.npr.org/sections/health-shots/2017/08/07/542016165/how-smartphones-are-making-kids-unhappy

Have Smartphones Destroyed a Generation? by Jean Twenge

The Unexpected Way That New Technology Makes Us Unhappy by Steven C. Hayes Ph.D

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