You and the World Project - Blog #1 - Teens and Technology

Hi! My name is Katarina Backo and I am a ninth grader at Science Leadership Academy. I am doing a project for my English class about an issue that concerns me, and I have to write three blogs about it. This is my first blog in this series. My issue involves play time, and how technology impacts children’s activity and therefore their lives. I am an artistic, athletic person connected with my family and happy about it. I wish that everybody could have the happiness I have, but I think that wrong use of technology prevents that. Hope you’ll enjoy reading my ideas.

When given the choice, more kids and teens now will pick to use a smartphone over a ball. Everyday, I witness that not too many teens use abundant free teen programs that exist in Philadelphia. In my branch of YMCA I am one of handful of teens practicing sports on regular basis. Assuming that people are different I understand that they don’t like sports. I also attend many other activities such as The Mural Arts Program, PAFA Sunday art program for families, and Free Library of Philadelphia workshops for kids and teens, story time, karaoke parties, Science in the Summer and Summer Reading Program. Everywhere I named there are just a handful of teens as well. Where are they? Are they not informed? The most recent study by Pew Research published by LA Times says that 95% of Americans think libraries are important. Why did I not see any teens there?

To my advantage, I recently saw a picture of how children played few decades ago and how they play now.

As shown on the picture there is much less action!

Few decades ago, they were outside playing games all together. I guess that, as shown on the picture, now they are on their iPods and smartphones playing games alone. According to the latest Pew Research on teens and technology:

  • 78% of teens now have a cell phone, and almost half (47%) of those own smartphones. That translates into 37% of all teens who have smartphones, up from just 23% in 2011.

  • One in four teens (23%) have a tablet computer, a level comparable to the general adult population.

  • Nine in ten (93%) teens have a computer or have access to one at home. Seven in ten (71%) teens with home computer access say the laptop or desktop they use most often is one they share with other family members.

In my opinion, not only that overuse of technology prevents socializing and learning from others in a real world setting, it also prevents much needed physical activity. In other words teens always use technology for everything and therefore they are not interested in arts, sports, books, family, nor spending time outside.


Playing outside nowadays!!!

According to New York Times, Nora Volkow, director of the National Institute of Drug Abuse and one of the world’s leading brain scientists said, “The technology is rewiring our brains.” Do we want to have our brains rewired? “Research is scant on the behavioral and developmental effects of technology on youth.” as said by Washington Post. However, existing research confirmed that technology ruins the ability to focus on a particular task, which I am able to notice all around. On the other side, “A 2012 University of Washington study noted that teens in general considered their rather high level of connectivity as necessary for effective cultural development and to prevent social isolation.” Pew Research survey of teachers who instruct American middle and secondary school students finds that digital technologies have become central to their teaching and professionalization.

No matter where the truth is, the big companies always get their big bucks. “Apple and Google tout their mobile devices as revolutionary tools for learning and fun - and helpful distractions for the modern parent.” Parents use that distraction to be able to finish some of their daily activities. I can see that in my little sister as well. She, like all little children is a little copycat, and she does everything we do. This graph shows what children can copy. 

I love technology as well, but I think that everything should be balanced.

To view the site I got my pictures from, please click here.

To read my Annotated Bibliography, please click here.