teens + tech= Trouble

Peanut butter and jelly, milk and cookies, teenagers and technology, ketchup and mustard are pairs belong together. Yet one of these pairings can spell out trouble with a capital T. Teens and their beloved smartphones are a common sight in today’s society yet a growing attachment to technology can prove to be an increasing problem. As more and more teenagers receive cellphones they begin the process of using the phone as a coping tool to keep their ever-changing emotions in check.

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so many apps…so little time

Teens rely on their phones to maintain an active social life due to a smartphone’s ability to connect to various social apps such as Facebook, Instagram, Yik Yak, and more. While many teens are fine with a strong attachment to technology there are some that attempt to break away only to be drawn back in again. In the Los Angeles Times article Teens’ Heavy Cellphone Use Could Signal Unhappiness, Study Finds, researchers are concerned over how teenagers can spend an hour or more on their phones each day which is equivalent to how much time they will devote to homework.

“A central concern for teenagers is being in touch with friends and drawing boundaries about who’s in and who’s out. People who are anxious and depressed are concerned about whether they are in or out and naturally often look at their cellphones to see if they’ve gotten answers to the text messages they sent out.”– James Katz, Professor of Communications at Rutgers University

In fact according to the same article, if you notice a teenager who is not sending texts or making calls it could possibly be a sign that they are anxious or depressed. In It’s Complicated: The Social Lives of Networked Teens, the third chapter covers addiction to technology in teens which echoes the similar concerns. Author Danah Boyd states that, “teens lack the capacity to maintain a healthy relationship with social media.”

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don’t leave me hanging on…

Teens are constantly checking their phones for satisfaction and acceptance from their peers. Parents, friends, and teachers should monitor a teen’s behaviors to help combat any issues that may stem from online social problems.

Advancements in technology are not going to slow down and one should be prepared to handle the emotional rollercoaster technology can bring forth. Quitting technology in one swoop will only make you crave it more, but by pledging to lessen your time with technology daily can be a great place to begin.

 

 

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welcome to camp no tech

Imagine a place that brings you back to your fondest childhood memories of summer camp where played all day, made new friends with ease, and fell asleep under a starry sky. Now what if I told you a place like this exists for adults with the only catch being you must give up technology. At Camp Grounded, an adult summer camp that helps to break tech addiction brings the fun of summer camp to tech obsessed adults. For three days, campers partake in classic camp activities like Color Wars, hiking, arts and crafts, swimming, archery and more without the distraction of technology.

In the article A Trip to Camp to Break a Tech Addiction, New York Times writer Matt Haber visits the no tech camp and shares his thoughts on the adult summer camp. Upon arrival to the camp, your smartphone, iPad, laptop, and any other technological device will be confiscated until camp ends three days later.

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While the adjustment of ridding oneself of technology for a couple of days may seem impossible or nerve wracking, many overworked campers were happy with the outcome of going to camp.

“I felt like I needed something like this. I felt pulled in a lot of directions. My phone was always going off. I wanted an excuse to put it away and not respond to anybody. From the moment that we drove up there, as soon as we met the organizers, they completely made me feel we were at the right place. I didn’t expect there to be so much love and freedom and acceptance. It felt like a place where you could be yourself and be accepted for that.”- camper,Tatyana Plaksina, a social work

Camp creates a space where one can explore their hidden creativity, athleticism, and so much more in a non-threatening atmosphere. Living in a world where people are constantly looking down at their phones it is nice to look up every one in a while. It is time to take a break and to go back to your childhood roots of having a stress free summer vacation. If you find yourself dreaming of embracing your inner child again then check out these awesome adult summer camps that will pique anyone’s interest.

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Come relax at camp

the technology that binds us

“I’m waiting to be interrupted right now,” says a teenager during an interview about cell phone interruptions in their daily lives. We are constantly in a state of wanting be distracted by our smartphones whether it be a text or new email. We look forward to that small escape from reality as we delve deeper into our online lives. In growing up tethered, author Sherry Turkle explores how we are truly never alone with technology by our side. This constant connection to technology can be beneficial in moments when you really need it like when your car breaks down, you are lost, or you just need help.  However this perpetual need to have instant contact can be detrimental to one’s own well being.social-media-1432937

Growing up, teenagers must balance work, school, family, friends, and now an online social life. Their need for acceptance now must be met in person and online. When Julia, a sixteen year old, is upset she relies on texting her friends for an instant stress relief. “..I wait, like, depending on what it is, I wait like an hour if they don’t answer me, and I’ll text them again. ‘Are you mad?’ Are you there?’ Is everything okay?'” If no one answers Julia in a blink of an eye she will move onto a new friend. This rapid validation a teenager requires to function in life maintains an unhealthy obsession. If a friend won’t answer your calls for help, then who will?

Here is a riddle for you: A teenager will answer texts and calls all day, but who are the callers that make them say no way? ….I’ll give you a hint they are most likely the people that bought the smartphone in the first place. So who exactly are these people that make teens cringe? Their parents of course! Parents view the phones a way to reach their teen while they are out and about. But many teens ignore the calls from mom and dad.

My mother makes me take my phone, but I never answer it when my parents call, and they get mad at me. I don’t feel that I should have to. Cell phones are recent. In the last ten years, everyone started getting them. Before, you couldn’t just call someone whenever. I don’t see why I have to answer my phone when my mom calls me. My older sisters didn’t have to do that.- Harlan, high school student

This attitude is common for many teenagers who wish to find independence at an early age. While they do have a smartphone in hand they rely on their peers for comfort. Feeling that parents will only hinder their newfound freedom many decide to ignore the calls from worried caregivers.

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In a world that is always updating it may be hard for a tech obsessed teen to put down the phone and plug into real life. My advice: put the phone down, go outside, and please call your parents back!

 

Modern Multitasking

Are you reading this blog post on your computer, IPad, or Smartphone? Do you have the television on in the background? Is your phone dinging constantly due to texts and other social media notifications? Chances are you answered yes to at least one or maybe more than one of the questions above. As the world of technology becomes more easily accessible, it is no surprise that we rely on technology for every day activities. From checking emails, surfing the web, or binge watching the latest season of a favorite show, many are in a constant state of multitasking online and off. This task of trying to complete different items at the same time has been shown to cause stress and other negative effects as noted in the article “Why the modern world is bad for your brain” by Daniel J. Levitan.

“our brains are “not wired to multitask well… When people think they’re multitasking, they’re actually just switching from one task to another very rapidly. And every time they do, there’s a cognitive cost in doing so.”- Earl Miller,a neuroscientist at MIT.

As mere human beings, we do not have eight arms or multiple brains to help with our technological multitasking disease.

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If only we had more arms

 

We can only work on so many responsibilities before our brains feel fried, tired, and overused. It can be an exhausting day when we are in a constant state of jumping around from task to task. The more hopping around from job to another only causes stress levels to build. One may feel sweet relief after completing an online item on one’s growing to do list, but the euphoria only lasts for a second.

Suggestions of completing tasks one at a time are usually met with opposition because why complete one task when working on multiple items can have the worker finish many things in record time. But at what costs is this multitasking trend taking from us?

“Asking the brain to shift attention from one activity to another causes the prefrontal cortex and striatum to burn up oxygenated glucose, the same fuel they need to stay on task. And the kind of rapid, continual shifting we do with multitasking causes the brain to burn through fuel so quickly that we feel exhausted and disoriented after even a short time. We’ve literally depleted the nutrients in our brain. This leads to compromises in both cognitive and physical performance.”-Levitan

These are some scary findings. If you were nodding in agreement throughout this post then maybe one should jumpstart the idea of trying to complete one job at a time or least try practicing focusing on one item.