Technology: A Blessing or a Curse?

The Impact of Technology on Today’s Society


Photo by Lorallye Partlow

Frank Ricker and Matt Geier use technology for leisure as well as work.

Written by Dominique Cruz, Adeline Furlow, and Chris Tuttle

When Apple launched their new product in October 2017, the iPhone X, its initial supply sold out in a matter of minutes. The overwhelming desire to own the most technologically advanced smartphone reveals man’s quest for better and more sophisticated technology, even at the price of $1000, a quarter of the average monthly salary in the US.

However, smartphones and other devices may also come with a toll on the relations between modern humans and their ability to exhibit patience and concentrate on tasks for extended periods of time. The effects that technology can have on children are especially compelling. New advancements are rapidly changing the way that humans communicate, learn, and grow, and recent studies are analyzing how these innovations can impact developing brains.

Technology is constantly expanding and can be found in many school settings. Teachers at Woodgrove have focused on technology based learning because of its educational benefits. Mrs. Sherry O’Connor, Woodgrove’s librarian, explains, “We have access to resources that we access through technology that expands student learning, so without that technology students would have access to what is just right here in this physical space.”

Mr. John Hoffman, a Woodgrove Earth Science and Astronomy teacher, describes technology as a potential distraction to many students, but says it also allows him to teach lessons and open up the world to his students. “I think technology, for the most part, is a good thing and it gives me a chance to show things like animations and labs and activities that are difficult without technology,” says Mr. Hoffman. “I try to incorporate it [media/technology] into every lesson, even if it’s just a Youtube video.”

But studies have shown that the rise of technology has led to poor social skills, bad nutritional and exercise habits, and other chronic disorders. This is particularly problematic for children whose frontal lobes are still developing, affecting the way their brains are wired, compared to previous generations.

While technology is strengthening their ability to scan information quickly and superficially, children’s brains are becoming less able to solve problems and focus for extended periods of time. According to Nicholas Carr, author of “The Shallows: What the Internet is Doing to our Brains,” surfing the internet is like jetskiing – shallow and intense – with the brain constantly being bombarded with information and never given the time to focus on one thing for more than a few seconds.

“Distraction is the norm, consistent attention is impossible, imagination is unnecessary, and memory is inhibited,” Dr. Jim Taylor, PhD. writes in a 2012 article in “Psychology Today”, referring to the effects of the internet that has altered the environment in which children of today grow up.

Freshman Kolbee Wisniewski describes her reliance on technology almost as an obsession, saying, “I am definitely dependent on technology. I’m always on my phone checking social media or texting people – it’s like an addiction.”

Despite the concerns of some experts, there is no doubt that technology also brings along advantages to modern life. Many parents are lenient and even supportive of technology in their household, and do not see technology in a negative light.

Joanne Cooper, the mother of a Woodgrove sophomore, believes that cell phones and other forms of technology are beneficial to children and teenagers and a colossal leap forward from the previous generation in which she grew up in.

“I think change is always good. Moving forward,progressing, discovering, it’s all necessary.” says Mrs. Cooper, “Technology is like everything else. There are things about it we might not like but we learn how to adapt it and make it a blessing for us.”