Zoodles Blog Learn and Play Every Day

August 3, 2010

Tweens, Teens, and Technology Overload?

Guest blog by Traci S. Campbell

Tween Texting

Tween Texting

Gone are the days of a cell phone being used “only in an emergency”, as my mother used to tell me. So long are the days when the only access to a computer was in the school computer lab or library. And when checking email was usually done at work or in the evenings at home, now it’s as commonplace throughout the day as grabbing a bottled water to drink (and for many, email and text takes more priority than taking time to hydrate their body).

Don’t get me wrong, the advent of the current technology trends – social media and texting in particular – have greatly changed the landscape of communication and information transfer. Overall, this is a positive phenomenon. However, for our tweens and teens, this phenomenon is much more than a better way to gather and transfer world news or current events. The current technology trends are shaping their social lives and how they communicate in general. For this reason, it is a very good idea to have a true grasp on just how widespread this impact is on their young lives. Could it be that our next generation is already the victim of technology overload?

According to research compiled and reported by sources such as the LA Times and the Kaiser Family Report, the following statistics give us a clear picture of how dependent our young people have become on modern technology:

  • Texting is the second common use of cell phones after checking the time.
  • Sixty-five percent of high school students use cell phones in school.
  • One-quarter of text messages sent by teens are sent during class.
  • Text messages connect kids instantly and privately.
  • Images and messages can be spread virally or uploaded.
  • Teens with phones averaged nearly 2,900 texts a month — a 566% increase in two years.

It is also important to note that the average amount of computer usage time those between 8-18 years of age has tripled in the last 10 years, from 27 minutes in 1999 to 1 hour and 30 mins in 2009.

So what does all of this data tell us? It is clear that we are seeing a generation that is more involved in less “human-related” activities than their counterparts from previous generations. This generation has more dependencies on technology than any generation before it. Gone are the days of coming home from school, dropping your books, and venturing outside to get in an hour or two of playtime before dinner.When I look back on those days, not only was I more physically active than my nieces and nephews are today, but I was also mentally “happier” and less stressed.

It is wise to encourage young people to find a healthy balance between the “old-fashioned” ways of recreation and communication and the current ones. Technology is great and is indeed the wave of the future. However, let’s also be mindful to encourage this generation to find time to walk away from technology and enjoy their youth with others – family and friends – in the flesh and not only through a computer screen or cell phone. Their minds and bodies will thank them – and you as a parent – for it in the long run.

Author Byline

Traci Campbell

Traci S. Campbell

Traci S. Campbell – author, family advocate, executive producer of “The C.H.A.M.P. Experiment”.

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1 Comment »

  1. I remember getting my first mobile phone on my grade school graduation, and at the time, it was a Nokia 5110. I didn’t really get to use it much unless I have to message my family. There came a time where I would text a lot and also surf the internet a lot too. I dropped the texting now, unless it’s important and the computer stuff, I can’t really shy away as much due to my school/work. But I encourage other people to go out and not waste their time in using gadgets. After all, there’s so much to discover in life. :)

    Exactly, where do you come up with this? Just saying, you are very uplifting. Thank you ^_^

    Comment by Ravaella — December 28, 2011 @ 5:34 am

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