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The addiction of children to their mobile phones could threaten the very fabric of society, a study suggests. Many teenagers are fanatical about being always available and are extremely uneasy if unable to contact their friends countless times each day. If the trend continues, young people will soon be incapable of forming and maintaining relationships without the help of a mobile, the study by a leading sociologist concludes. One British child in four between the ages of five and 16 now has a mobile phone. As well as making calls, youngsters are using their handsets to send millions of text messages to friends each day. Addiction is evident when an obsession with something disrupts the more important things in life, like personal relationships, schooling, or jobs. People can become addicted to pretty much anything. While teens are far more likely to become addicted to their cell phone, they will become adults and that addiction may still be unresolved.

People who are shy and have low self-esteem are more likely to become cellular addicts because, with text messaging, you can make ‘texting friends’ that you never actually have to meet, very much like internet chatting. The cell phone has been dubbed ‘the new cigarette’ and ‘one of the biggest non-drug addictions of the 21st century. Sociologists have also warned that the popularity of e-mailing, text messaging and playing games on mobile phones is affecting other important activities such as recreational reading and studying. A third of those aged between 16 and 20 prefer text messaging to all other means of written communication, according to a survey last year by Mori for Vodafone. Handset manufacturers claim, however, that they are not out to market to the under-16s. A Government report last year highlighted the increased risk to children under 16 using mobile handsets and a circular sent to schools suggests that children below this age should be allowed to make calls only in emergencies.

Nearly 40% of internet users between the ages of 18-35 have regretted posting personal information about themselves, and 35% have regretted posting personal information about a friend or family member. 57% of 18-35-year-olds think people share too much about their personal thoughts and experiences, and nearly that many feel technology is robbing them of their privacy. Additionally, just over half of respondents worry that friends or family will post something personal about them that they don’t want shared, according to a Euro RSCG Worldwide study titled “This Digital Life”1 that surveyed consumers in 19 countries, including the U.S. What’s more, it’s not just parents and grandparents that worry your privacy habits aren’t strong enough; even other teens and twenty-something’s believe youth are particularly careless about protecting personal information online. Young people also overwhelmingly (66%) believe that other youth have no sense of personal privacy and are willing to post anything and everything about their lives.

Lots of people post pictures of their kids, have for years and if you have a family Web site then you probably have pictures of your kids posted on it along with intimate and embarrassing stories to go along with them. You probably have details about your children on your site too, what they like, what they don’t like. You may have even mentioned their name, where you live and what school your child goes too. Will they still be safe online? I’m not saying this is wrong but it is something you may want to think about a little further if you want to be safe online. You should especially consider the part about putting their name, school and place of residence on your Web site if you want them to be safe online. If a predator is out there looking for a child near them and they find your site, by putting their town into a search engine, or by chance, your child could be in danger and will no longer be safe online or at home. Many children think they know someone if the person knows their name and are more likely to go to this person if they show up at her school or bus stop and call her by name.

Humanity has never had it this easy. The internet has an answer for every question. Smartphones help us navigate so we are never really lost. Even the leisurely decisions like discovering the best of books, music, art, education, careers and life partners can be found with just a few clicks or taps of a screen. And with wearable technology like Google Glass and Oculus Rift, we can be constantly connected to all that information - sedately immersed in the assured comfort that we can know anything, anytime, anywhere. Wait. Just one second. Did you feel that? I think a phone just buzzed. Or wait. Maybe it was yours. Better check - just to be safe. Sound familiar? Don’t panic. The phantom phone phenomenon is more common than you think – according to Pew research more than 66 percent of cell phone users compulsively check their devices for missed calls, alerts, messages even when it’s not ringing or buzzing. Users are also consuming four times as much information as fifty years ago, checking their phones on average 37 times per hour, consuming 12 hours of media and viewing over 40 websites per day. So, are we really in control of all that information or are we just puppets being strung along by the digital powers that be? OK, maybe we should panic.

Connectivity and communication has increased with it now being easier than ever before to contact our friends, co-workers and relatives. We are now available for contact twenty four hours a day, seven days a week and 365 1/4 days a year. No matter where we are our electronic companions will find us and beep, burble and whistle until we answer those demands. Even staid kitchen items like refrigerators and ovens, even toasters, have the ability now to make demands of us. We willingly put our lives into these devices. Our innermost thoughts become recorded into their electric memories. Our appointments, our loved ones and even our work all becomes data for these electron pushing brains. Many of us find it difficult to wake up in the morning without the strident call of the computerised alarm clock. Our daily routines are defined by what we see in our PDA’s or computer calenders. For some it is so much a part of life that holiday’s without our battery driven companions are unthinkable. We may be masters of our environment. We may be able to direct technology in ways that achieve our wishes. When technology calls we also rush to answer. When technology fails we scramble to fix it. So to be somewhat Shakespearean in my tone. Are we masters or are we slaves? That is the question.

Our world is ever changing, from politics to the environment, it is safe to say that if our ancestors were alive, they would be seeing a very strange and different world. One aspect of society that is constantly advancing is technology. The normal means of communication and research in our present day society is evolving, we have just entered a new decade, and I feel it is time for old traditions to be broken and replaced with new and advanced ones.

Technology has many branches and levels, from cell phones to the internet and even for medical purposes. However, cell phones and the internet have taken the main role in changing our society. I find it truly amazing that a person from China is able to talk to a person from the United States, all through the internet. Programs such as facebook make finding an old childhood friend extremely easy, all that is to be done is type in their name.

Technology not only moves our world forward into a new and advanced era, but it connects our world in a way people never thought possible. Without technology, we would all be stuck in the same time as our ancestors, never moving forward to see a new tomorrow. While technology does come with it’s glitches, it provides our world with so many great things, for example, unity. Technology is a very good thing for people anywhere and everywhere, no matter how old, it helps us in every aspect of our daily lives, and it is a thing that cannot be lived without.

On a smaller scale, technology such as the cell phones helps people with their everyday lives. For example, if I need a fast response or send a quick reminder, I am able to send a text message to the individual I am trying to reach, it is a fast and efficient way to communicate. If I want to stay in touch with a friend from another school or city, I am able to text them or call them. If I need to research a topic for an essay, I would go online and use a search engine to pull up facts on my topic. For some, it is not even necessary to go to a library anymore, most books are online. Also, technology such as the ipod has completely replaced the need for a CD player, and installments such as itunes, makes it not even necessary to go out and buy a CD.

By Samantha Dilley 2014

How does Technology affect us?  


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