Technology is inescapable these days. While students see its benefits, they also see its crippling effects.
Students said technology has done good for society because it connects people all over the world. However, they also see the way it can damage one’s mental health.
“It’s harder for [mental health to not affect] younger generations because they grew up with tech and social media,” senior Andres Landaverde said. “Insecurities and envy of other people’s lives are fed a lot more.”
Because of how close people are to a phone or laptop, Landaverde said it’s easy for them to get most of their entertainment from technology.
“There’s so many different apps like Netflix, YouTube, Instagram, TikTok,” Landaverde said. “It’s just so much to choose from in your pocket.”
To be productive in society, Landaverde said having a phone and computer is needed. While he believes he could survive without it, he thinks society forces humans to depend on it.
“If you’re in the country, then whatever, but [society] makes it so you need to have a phone in a city,” Landaverde said.
Senior Jacob Dugan said he believes the amount of consumption of technology isn’t always beneficial because of the addicting and dependent nature of social media. He said it could delay socialization if people rely too much on it to connect with others as opposed to meeting people in person.
“[Social media] makes people more isolated socially and it increases people’s dissatisfaction with reality if they’re comparing themselves to other people,” Dugan said.
Landaverde believes technology has made forming in-person relationships with others more difficult. He said it’s easy for people to conform to using it if they feel uncomfortable in a social setting.
“If you don’t know people in a room, your immediate inclination to alleviate that stress is to go to your phone,” Landaverde said.
While technology provides the opportunity to find distractions from boredom easier, senior Conan Sharp said it causes humans to act before thinking.
“People want stimulus and to be able to do something at all times,” Sharp said. “Having a phone lets you do that, but it makes you more impulsive.”
The use of technology has decreased attention spans, Dugan said, because the short-form content different media platforms offer makes it harder to pay attention for a longer amount of time to something else.
“Now that we’re so inundated with [Instagram] Reels and TikTok and everything, it’s hard for me to sit in an hour-and-a-half lecture and focus the whole time,” Dugan said.
Landaverde has seen how online creators have done a great job keeping users engaged in their short clips, but also how the constant entertainment is detrimental to the younger generation simultaneously, he said.
“You can program yourself out of it with healthy habits, but I feel really bad for the kids that are growing up with TikTok easily accessible,” Landaverde said. “Their focus could be really terrible in the future.”
While Landaverde said he believes businesses would be less productive if technology didn’t exist, he said he thinks humans would be happier without it.
“People would have higher attention spans, friendships would be deeper, and in-person social anxieties would be lessened,” Landaverde said.
Sharp understands why some people might say technology has done more harm than good, but he said the opposite.
“Without technology, we wouldn’t be anywhere where we are right now,” Sharp said. “We’d still be having to go to the library to learn everything, but instead, we can just go on our phone or laptop.”
With more advances in technology, Dugan said it’s worsening the potential to create new things apart from it. While there’s a lot of amazing technology out there for artists to use, he thinks some of the technology is so good it takes the creativity out of human hands.
“There’s new AI generative models that can create pictures for you and will eventually be videos also,” Dugan said. “Editing used to be the job for many people, but because technology is so good now it can be the job for one person.”
However, Sharp said technology is bettering people’s ability to create new things due to the internet’s wider access for learning and inspiration.
“If people use [technology] the right way, then they’ll be able to create something when they’re a lot younger,” Sharp said. “They’ll be exposed to new information a lot sooner than they ever would’ve.”
CEO of Tesla Elon Musk‘s biotechnology startup, Neuralink, plans to implant brain chips into people so they can connect to computers, according to CNN. While Landaverde said it’s inevitable for there to be more technology in the future, he is against the idea of putting it into human bodies.
“I want to have kids, but I’m nervous to see what kind of world they’re gonna grow up in because of that tech,” Landaverde said. “I’m not looking forward to it.”
With the new technologies that will come in the future, Dugan said whatever humans gain from it should be distributed equally among all.
“Since the start of the internet, it seems like those technologies have been used to consolidate power and money for billionaires,” Dugan said. “Technology is getting so good that we’ll have less need to work, and we have to figure out how we’re gonna be as a society with less things to do.”
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