Thursday, May 7, 2015

Ruining Real Life

"Cell Phone Use Prohibited." Wikimedia Commons
Ninety-two percent of teens go online daily, and 24% of them go online constantly. As more teens gain access to technology and social media, they are becoming less productive. About 75% of teens have a smartphone, and 71% of teens have a Facebook account (PEW Research). This increase in technology is creating problems for teens. They are spending less time face to face with people, creating problems that can lead to brain disorders or addictive behaviors, and being distracted which is decreasing their productivity and harming their work. However, technology does improve people’s lives. It can make people who are shy feel more connected in the community and can enhance learning ( There needs to be a balance between digital life and real life because technology enhances learning and makes living easier, but it can be distracting, and overuse ruins real interactions and healthy lifestyles.

Even though technology and social media can enhance learning, they are decreasing productivity of students who are are constantly distracted by what is happening in the digital world. Since many schools and teens have started to use more technology, there have been challenges that see how long teens can go without using technology. The fact that these are challenges shows how much teens rely on technology. Convent and Stuart Hall Catholic Schools in San Francisco, California created a challenge for their students. They wanted to see how many students could not use technology for three days.

At first many students were worried, and some felt anxious about not being able to check their phones. After a while, some students felt good about not having to check their phones. They had a sense of freedom because they were not being pinned down by the constant notifications from social media on their phones. Eli Horowitz is a student at Stuart Hall and said that not using technology “made [him] way more creative with [his] time and it gave [him] a sense of relief.” These constant notifications are distracting teens from enjoying life and being productive. Students said that they usually spend five hours of working on homework a night, but when they were not being distracted by their phones, they were able to finish their assignments in less than two hours (MindShift). Technology and social media are distracting students from being productive because they feel the need to check their phones, and they get distracted easily which can make them work longer.

While technology and social media can be used to organize events, it ruins face to face interactions and real relationships, but this overuse of technology can be caused by parents (Los Angeles Times). One of the uses of technology and social media is to connect people. They help with organizing events and connecting people with others who live far away and can not meet up in person. However, people who have the ability to communicate face to face do not choose to do so. While it may help shy people communicate because they feel protected behind a screen, communicating online does not help them develop skills needed to communicate in real life. Katrina Schwartz says that "technology has the odd distinction of both connecting people in unprecedented ways at the same time that it isolates them.”

There has been an increase of teens using technology because of restrictions set up by their parents. They are not able to leave the house on their own and go meet a friend like it was thirty years ago. Today parents are their children's personal chauffeur that keeps them busy with activities. Since teens are not able to meet up face to face because they are so busy, they turn to technology to communicate. Parents are worried about the actions that they make on and offline. They are being taught to be very careful with all of their decisions, but they are not being taught how to take risks and try new things. danah boyd believes that “as a society, we both fear teenagers and fear for them.” Parents are putting up restrictions for teens, but they are also being told what to do, so they are not learning how to deal with mistakes when they grow up. Parents are contributing to the overuse of technology because of the restrictions they put up and the lack of teaching teens how to take risks. This overuse of social media can lead to isolation rather than more communication.

There are benefits to technology, and some people that disagree with my argument might say that it enhances learning and writing. Andrew Simmons is a teacher that believes that technology and social media have improved his students’ writing. While technology does not support correct sentence and paragraph structure, he believes that it opens up students to their emotions. Throughout the years, there has been a stereotype that in order to be a man, boys must not show emotions. Boys try hard to not be emotional in public because they are afraid of what others will think of them. However, with the use of technology and social media, boys are able to open up and share their emotions. This helps students find their emotional side which can greatly enhance their writing.

"Writing Tools." Flickr
Even though social media helps students open up emotionally, it can also ruin their grammar. People use incomplete sentences online because it is not required, so students are not being taught how to properly form a sentence or paragraph. When job recruiters are looking at people they want to hire, they often look to see how well their grammar is. 54% of job recruiters reported a negative reaction to poor grammar on social media ( Even though social media can open up a student’s emotional side in order to express their feelings, they do not have the skills and correct grammar to express them, and poor grammar can harm job stability.

Technology enhances learning and makes living easier, but it can be distracting, and overuse ruins real interactions and healthy lifestyles, so there needs to be a balance between digital life and real life. Technology is ruining the productivity of teens because they are constantly getting distracted by social media on their phones, so they take more time on their homework. After not using technology for a couple days, teens expressed signs of freedom and creativity because they had more time to enjoy life. Parents also contribute to the overuse of technology and social media because of the restrictions that have been put in place, and teens are not being taught how to take risks. The overuse of technology can lead to less face to face interaction and more online interaction, so technology is ruining real relationships. Even though social media can open up the emotional side of a student in order to benefit their writing, they are not being taught how to properly form sentences because social media does not promote it. If they know what they want to say, they need to have the tools that help them to say it, and poor grammar can harm someone’s chances of getting hired.

Overall, distractions caused by technology are disrupting the productivity of the next generation, so there should be a balance in order to increase productivity and promote a healthy lifestyle that includes working together as a community. All you need to do is take a break from the digital world and interact with the real world.


Reflection and Conclusion
There should be a balance between digital life and real life because it ruins real interactions, healthy lifestyles, and the productivity of the next generation. Digital Citizenship is a class that teaches people ways to use technology in a productive and healthy way. This topic is one that people should be aware of because many people do not think about how much time they spend using technology. I really appreciate the comments that I received because they were very insightful. They gave me their thoughts and perspectives and opened me up to ideas that I have never considered before. The commenters seemed to agree with my argument that people spend too much time online and need to balance digital and real life. Rather than changing my opinion on the topic, the comments that I received gave me new information that I had not considered before. I was able to research new topics and expand on my original research. The comments also showed me the opinions that other people have on this topic. I am glad that people are able to recognize that there needs to be a balance because it is hard to notice this while using technology. Writing this blog was an eye-opening experience for me because it made me question the way I live my life and how technology is changing how people live and interact. When I had to think of a topic, this stood out to me because I can have a hard time balancing my digital life and real life. Sometimes I get distracted by social media and technology that I forget to stop, live in the moment, and appreciate what I have while I have it. This issue also affects many people today. In the past, I have tried to get people to stop using technology as much if I notice they are constantly using it because I do not want them to ignore the real interactions that are happening in front of them. By writing this blog, I was able to support the reasons why one should balance their digital life and real life, and writing a blog makes a bigger impact. It shows that I am passionate about this topic and put the time into it to spread awareness. This topic is very relevant to my generation. We have grown up with technology, and our lifestyles have been changing with the growth of technology. As I notice people my age ignoring others because they are busy looking at their phones, I realize that we could end up becoming isolated. In the future, we would communicate through technology, but we would lose face to face contact. I also tend to see many people my age who talk to others and use their phones at the same time. While they are interacting in real life, they are not focusing on each other. I am guilty of acting the same way, but I have been able to recognize the problem and have been trying to stop it. We need to teach my generation how to balance their digital and real life because if we wait too long, we could end up being less connected than we were when the concept of social media was introduced. This blog is very important to me because I noticed that I have become more isolated as I have used more technology, and I want to stop before it becomes a bigger problem.


  1. Hello Dr. Ew, I love the points you make in this article, I also believe that there should be a balance between technology in the real world. Let's face it, with the growth of technology, more and more teens will become entranced with the many activities you can do with various smart phones and computers. As a result of this, less and less teens will be spending less and less time outside or socializing with people outside of the screen. Also, I agree with you that too much screen time can cause health problems. I personally spend a lot of time online, whether doing homework, watching, YouTube, or playing video games and I believe that its important to try and balance that with real life. At the end of this comment there is a link which you may find helpful towards furthuring your research. Keep up the good work Dr. Ew.,8731

    1. Hello Jonathan Pelster,
      Thank you for taking time to read my blog and add a comment. I mentioned health in my blog, but I did not emphasize it. Thank you for attaching this article. It showed me many of the problems that technology has on our bodies. I agree that as more people use technology, they can be an increase in health problems. I can relate with you because I too can spend a lot of time online. One health problem in the article that interested me was how the use of headphones and earbuds can affect hearing. I do not use headphones to much, but I am always thinking about whether or not the music is too loud. I found this article from the Guardian about how headphones can damage hearing. In the article, it says that the World Health Organization says that one of the many contributors to hearing loss is loud music. Thank you for taking time to think about how technology affects our lives and health!

  2. Hey Dr.Ew, I really enjoyed reading your blog on how smartphones affect teenagers in both a positive and negative way. I totally agree with your point about how there needs to be a balance between digital life and real life. I especially found your point interesting when you mentioned how teenagers ruin their grammar by typing in texting language so much. When I use texting language, I often replace words such as you with u, and sometimes I catch myself using texting language in situations when I shouldn’t be. It was interesting how typing in texting language can have a much greater implication on your life when you are looking for a job, and how your grammar really could ruin your chances of landing a good job. Another example of smartphones and technology messing up real life is how many teens are getting addicted to their smartphones. Written in an article by Medscape, an experiment was done on Korean Adolescents, and the study showed that teens who were frequently on their phones were more likely to end up with problematic behaviors such as somatic symptoms, attentional deficits, and aggression. How do you think this adds more concern to teens using their smartphones? Thanks for posting!!! -T. Flinderson

    1. Hello Toby Flinderson,
      Thank you for your comment and taking the time to read my blog! I too found it interesting that using poor grammar can affect job stability. I believe that the overuse of smartphones can lead to a possible addiction. I think that there is a concern that teens can become addicted to cell phones, and that can affect their life and health. I found this article about how teens can become addicted to their phones. There is mention of teens who have their phones at the table and constantly check it rather than talk with their family. This shows that cell phone addiction can harm real interactions. I think that parents should talk about their kids when it is appropriate to be using their phones. Parents can play a role in teen technology use, and I think that parents should try to monitor how much time they spend with technology. Thank you again for the comment, and I hope you now are more aware about how much technology you use!

  3. Hello Dr. Ew. You did a fantastic job of supporting your position and displaying both sides of your argument. I know from personal experience that smartphones can be extremely distracting when trying to do work or focus on something. Balancing digital life and real life can be difficult but I think that if more people begin to do it, a positive change will be seen in our lives. Do you think that there is a way to encourage more teens to spend less time on their phones? I found an interesting article on the effect of cellphones on our society . I think you might enjoy reading this. Awesome job on your blog and thank you for posting. -Yasmine

    1. Hello Yasmine Baba,
      Thank you for commenting on my blog post and reading my blog. I too can have a hard time balancing digital life and real life, but I believe that if more people make the change, we will be able to make a positive change in our society. I am trying to create this balance in my own life and encourage others to do the same. I do not think just telling teens to balance their digital and real lives is as effective as other ways. One way to encourage teens is show them what they could have by using less technology. They need to see that using less technology can impact their lives positively. I found this article about what motivates teens. One of the motivators is having an incentive. By showing teens what balancing their digital and real lives can do, it creates an incentive. While it is hard for people to break old habits, I believe that it is a step in the right direction to improving how much technology teens use. Thank you for sharing the article you found! It talks about cell phone addiction and teens. As I mentioned in the reply to Toby Flinderson's comment, cell phone addiction is ruining real interactions among teens. Thanks again for the comment, and I hope you now understand the importance of balancing digital life and real life!

  4. Hi Dr. Ew. You did a very great job on how the smartphones influence our life and how to balance the digital life and the real life. You used negative and positive ways to explain the influence that the smartphones made. I totally agree with you. I also think how to balance the digital life and real life is very important in your life. For example, when we text somebody, we usually just use "R" to instead of "Are", "Gonna" to instead of "Will do". It also can affect our real life writing. It caused us use more informal words on your formal essay. It also will influence our future job and life. When others are reading our essay, they will use the essay to find how the person is. When they saw the informal writing, they might think the person who used informal writing is not a person who can pay attention on their job. So I think it is very important for us in our life to balance the relationship between the digital life and the real life. I also found a great article about how the smartphones ruin our life. It talked about a lot of ways which will ruin our life. I think you might enjoy it. You did a great job on your blog and thank you for sharing with us. -Leo Zhu

    1. Hello leo zhu,
      Thank you for reading my blog and adding a comment. I am glad that you understand the importance of balancing digital life and real life. I was surprised when I found that informal writing can affect someone trying to get a job. Thank you for sharing this article with me! It discusses the many problems that can be caused by overuse of technology. One of these problems include becoming isolated with the rest of the world. I found this article about how social media has changed the views people have on technology. Over the years, it has become normal to be on social media because it is tied to success. People have become obsessed with how many friends they have online or followers. When people become obsessed with technology, it can lead to isolation. Thank you again for the comment, and I am glad that you understand the need for a balance between digital life and real life!

  5. Hey Dr. Ew! This blog post was really interesting for me to read because it is really relevant to my life, and it brought up some new ideas too! I really liked how you commented on parents' influence on teenage technology use. It is a thought provoking idea that I had never considered before. One thing though, why are parents putting up so many restrictions on what their kids can and can't do? Also, what negative effects can technology have on younger kids? I found an article about how parenting is changing due to technology. Great job!

    1. Hello Mei,
      Thank you for reading my blog and adding a comment! I am glad that you can relate to this topic, and I am sure many others, including myself, can also relate to this topic. For information about how parents are setting up more restrictions you can refer to danah boyd's article that I used in my blog. She says that parents started to restrict their teens when people started to worry about kids being at home alone a lot because of parents working. Parents started to keep them busy with activities, and kids have turned to technology because it is a way to keep in touch with friends while they are busy and do not have time to talk in person. Regarding younger kids, I do not have proper research to talk about the negative effects of technology for them. I focused on teens in my blog, but I would like to see if the use of technology in younger kids has an impact on the use of technology in teens. To be honest, I could write another blog just focusing on kids. Thank you for sharing that article with me! I think that technology is changing not only how people communicate, but it is changing parenting too. I found this article you might be interested in because it talks about young kids and technology, and discusses how young is too young for a child to use technology. Thank you again for your comment, and I am happy that you thought my topic was relevant.

  6. Hi Dr. Ew! You have written a great article on the dilemmas posed by technology--basically whether the gains from technology outweigh the disadvantages. I was particularly interested in the danah boyd explanation for the rise in use of technology to communicate. The observation that children and teens are more restricted in their free play in order to keep them safer is consistent with news about parents who are investigated for abuse by letting their children walk places by themselves. This article in the Washington Post speaks to the new "free-range parenting" movement in response to the helicopter parents that boyd talks about. Do you think parents go overboard in protecting their children, thereby leaving them no choice but to use technology to communicate? Thanks for raising awareness of the tradeoffs.--Ms. Riches

    1. Hello Ms. Riches,
      Thank you for taking the time to read my blog and add a comment! When I first found danah boyd's article, I was interested in this view that the restrictions parents set up are making teens turn to technology. I think sometimes parents can go overboard in protecting their children because they do not allow them to experience taking risks or failure. This refers back to danah boyd's article because she talks about how parents that set up too many restrictions are not letting their teens take risks. Taking risks is an important life skill needed in adulthood, so even though parents should be aware of their children's actions, they need to let them take risks and learn from mistakes to help better prepare them for the future. I think the article you attached ties into this too. The parents here are talking about how "free-range parenting" is being used to help teach kids how to take risks and interact. I was not aware about this way of parenting before, but now I am interested in it. They talk about how they were allowed to walk freely as children, so they want their children to experience the same. In danah boyd's article, she talks about how times have changed in this way. I think since the restrictions set up by parents make teens want to use more technology, teens whose parents use "free-range parenting" are less likely to use as much technology. They may also be better prepared for the future. However, with the growth of technology, there is the possibility that lifestyles could change, and these children will not be prepared for a new world. I think that it is important for parents to trust their children but also be aware of what they are doing. I really appreciate your comment because it brought up many points that I have not considered before, and it has broadened my knowledge on my topic. Thank you!

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