What’s Behind the Curtain? The Real Demon Haunting Childhood Today

Briana Worthington, Staff Reporter

Visualize a 14 year old girl looking out the window on a delightful sunny day. She sees the outside isolated with no kids chasing after each other laughing, no made up games, nor hyper kids chasing after the ice cream truck when it arrives. She has flashbacks on how her childhood was before technology wasn’t important to everyone. How the outside was filled with laughter in the air, but now it’s a ghost town. This sounds like a scene from science fiction, but it’s actually the devastating reality of our world today. Technology has manipulated many young minds after being put in into the wrong hands of children. 96% of the population of people have bought a piece of technology, and with technology addiction being a real thing, many aren’t able to put it down, causing possible long-term consequences. Many children and adolescents need to take action and to put their technology down, experiencing the real life that a child should have.          

All over the world, digital, mobile, and social media have become an indispensable part of everyday life for people, and it’s affecting health in multiple ways. Statistics show that 60% to 85% of people in the world — from both developed and developing countries — lead sedentary lifestyles, making it one of the more serious yet insufficiently addressed public health problems of our time. A sedentary lifestyle can lead to an increased risk of many conditions and diseases, including diabetes, cardiovascular disease, colon cancer, and obesity. This is increased from previous generations because of an increase in electronic distraction that didn’t exist 25 years ago. Adolescents growing up in today’s generation will be suffering the consequences of technology for the rest of their lives if they keep up the habits of overuse, and most of us don’t realize that.  

We face other health problems as well that can sap the fun out of childhood.Technical devices have bluelight which is found to be one of the highest wavelengths. Countless hours of phone time has led many to loss of eyesight, making it harder to enjoy past childhood staples that require . Bluelight can lead to symptoms such as headaches, difficulty concentrating, and watery, dry, itchy, burning, sore, or tired eyes. Overuse can also cause blurred or double vision and increased sensitivity to light. With these results, the long term usage of devices can cause loss of vision to the eye. 

The health effects even bleed over into our sleep. We grab our phones whenever we are headed to sleep but don’t realize the same short-wavelength, artificial blue light delays our body’s internal clock and circadian rhythm while suppressing the release of melatonin, the sleep-inducing hormone. This can lead to insomnia, making us even more tired than we would have been otherwise. That’s not taught here in school, and while we fall asleep at our desks, we don’t realize that our phone is our demon that keeps us awake.

If physical ailments weren’t enough, our generation is also setting ourselves up for mental health concerns tied to our screen time. Large numbers of studies are being conducted with many claiming internet use causes structural changes in the brain similar to those found in the brains of drug addicts. 

Technology can cause serious mood swings; mainly targeting severe anger issues. Getting new followers on Instagram or SnapChat can make dopamine levels spike, but that’s short-term happiness, not the true contentment linked to serotonin in the brain. When we sacrifice serotonin for dopamine, we sacrifice peace of mind. Parents aren’t taking into account how much technology can affect their children’s health and life, and we aren’t aware enough of the consequences to limit ourselves. 

A typical teen is juggling Instagram, SnapChat, TikTok, and multiple games, but isn’t aware of what happens when we’re logged onto more than 5 platforms. Young adults who use seven to 11 social media platforms had more than three times the risk of depression and anxiety than those who use two or fewer platforms. The more time teens spend of social media or games, they think nothing of it when really they’re setting themselves up for a high rate of depression and anxiety. 

Not only are health problems involved in the situation, technology can be a big threat to our creative minds, ruining the creativity/imagination children are created with. Technology limits pure creative thought, at times, because we are developing habits to Google every time to quickly find an answer. In like manner, for the child to not have creative thoughts in their future they won’t be able to have any brilliant ideas for a career that they are looking forward to becoming.  With CEOs of today listing creativity as the top-needed job skill of the future, it’s terrifying that we’re spending so much time stifling it.

Some argue that technology can be an entertainment to many because of the many thousands of games and social media platforms there are that lure people in for more. When there is a game that someone  just can’t take his eyes off of, he begins to become addicted to the game and never wants to get off of it; he’s on it all day everyday. However, the games may seem fun to most players, but they all don’t understand the consequences that come with addicting games or social media platforms. Technology is a wall that’s blocking your creativity, and each play of the game adds a brick.

Blogs love to argue that technology increases innovation, but that assumes we’re using tech to explore our world, thinking about the everyday problems that surround us.  Many aren’t. Instead, we’re just not living life, instead living in a technical world.

Perhaps the most surprising consequence is that technology that was made to bring people together is actually robbing us of ways to communicate effectively. In this generation, we are capable of calling or even face-timing a person to get in contact with them from miles away.  But studies have exposed the negative effects over-dependence on electronic communication has on body-to-body sociability, psychological well-being, and intimacy. As we’ve already touched on, frequent exposure by so-called digital natives to technology is actually wiring the brain in ways very different than in previous generations. With the causes of technology now in this generation than from previous generations, people have started drifting away from others when their active on their screens. The more time people spend using their technologies, the more time they spend alone. Whenever someone is on their technical devices, there is a 97% chance of them using it alone by themselves. This causes them to want as much distance away from as many people as possible because they don’t want to be bothered by anyone when their in their own little technical world. 

Not only because people want the time to themselves, you will eventually start feeling lonely from the considerable amount of time you spend alone. When you begin to own a piece of technology, you will begin to see yourself sinking away from other people, a viewpoint that can cause mental health problems. People who are not social find it hard to mix with society and in most cases they surfer from depression, which in many cases results in attempting suicide. With this evidence, this proves that people need to learn how to communicate with others so they won’t feel left out or alone because that will start to prevent the causes of mental depression and anxiety. 

While some people demand to be left alone and unbothered, some kids that have some certain type of technology devices will begin start to replacing their parents with those devices. Many young children that own a piece of technology will begin to always spend a consistent amount of time on it and wont use that time to spend it with their parents. If kids would take the time to let go of their devices they would be more happier and less lonely because they would be spending more of their time with their families. 

Technology doesn’t just affect the relationships between family but can also affect the relationship of your romantic partner. The ways people use technology can create problems between romantic partners, potentially stirring conflict and dissatisfaction in the relationship. One in four cell phone owners in a relationship or marriage found their partner too distracted by their cell phone. Nearly half of all respondents reported being distracted by their phones in the presence of a romantic partner. This proves that technology can play a serious role in marriages/ relationships break ups by the excessive amount of time one or two partners spend on it rather than spending the time with each other during their journey. 

Skills that used to be taken for granted are now disappearing because of all the damage technology has created. When a child at a young age has a problem with interacting with people such as ordering their own food at a restaurant, they will find it harder to deal with people when they grow up. With this outcome, this can be very harmful for their lives and their careers in the long run because they never learned the simple task of communicating with other people. 

Many state that technology is a good source of communication because you have the capability to get in contact with others from miles away with just the tap of a button. So if anyone was in need of assistance from another, they could just call them right away through text or call. Most teens aren’t using tech like this, though. Instead of doing something proactive or needed, they choose to be behind their devices. When children go outside to play their games, they’ll be on their phones, not on the field. They’re talking to an app, not a friend.person they will begin the lack of communication face to face with an actual person and will begin to distance themselves from people who actually live with them. Phone addicts that are always using their phone to contact other people should limit their time away from that and start practicing and getting comfortable communicating with other people. 

Many of the new generation were raised all around technology and now we’re doing damage we can’t fully understand. If we understand the consequences of technology we might make different choices. To live a more healthful lifestyle, we could absolutely limit our time on technology to explore what’s in the real world instead of virtual reality. We can turn off many addicting notifications, kick our devices out of our beds, and find hobbies that distract us from any devices that lures us in during our free time. We need to learn how the real world works and how we can experience life with our imagination, daydreaming and exploring like countless before us. Our imaginations needs to be grown, our creativity needs to create something in life, and our mindset needs to change the world instead of technology.