Technology Take Over

Christie Costello ’14
EE Staff Writer

One would be amazed if they took the time to look up from their own phone to see the number of students at THS walking and texting or checking Twitter and Instagram. Students are frequently glued to their phones for social media updates, text messages, or even just to pass the time and iPhones seem to have convinced many people that there is an app for everything. This generation has become overly dependent on technology and, for the most part, do not even realize it. Technology has consumed the lives of many.

At Trumbull High School, it is almost impossible for a student not to have a phone in their hand or headphones in their ears. What would happen if we took all this new technology away?  With the new BYOD policy at THS, the technology has skyrocketed and seems to be the perfect excuse for students to be on their phones. This can cause procrastination, lack of social and communication skills, and ultimately dependency on these phones/tablets.  These bad habits have also become apparent at much younger grade levels such as elementary and middle schools. This “Technology Take Over” is far more expansive than simply Trumbull High School, but has become a revolution.

The BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) policy has recently gone into effect at THS and sparked some debate when initiated. Some people believe that this caused students to become even more reliant on their technology rather than figuring things out on their own. For instance, in math and science classes, students are able to use an iPad tablet to calculate many things such as slope formula, velocity/acceleration, and much more. Rather than completing problems using a standard pen and paper, it has switched to technology to save time. However, certain students believe they do not learn as much this way. Liam Moore, a senior at THS, talks about how the technology impacts his school work.

“Technology definitely makes things a lot easier and faster, but I don’t feel like I’m getting as much out of it as I used to. For example, the new calculators in math basically do the problems for me. It saves time but in the long run I think I’d rather do school work the old fashion way,” says Moore.

This new policy has also been seen as an excuse for students to be texting or checking Twitter and other sites during class. Not only does this distract from class work, but also does not allow teachers to recognize if their students are actually doing work or simply on their phones. A senior at THS, Cristina Johnson, says how the BYOD and technology rules at this school have become much more lenient.

“I always have my phone out during class sitting on my desk. Usually I check twitter or Snapchat when we are looking up things for class because they pop up. I don’t try to get distracted from my school work, but it just happens,” says Johnson.

When asked what she would do without her phone, Cristina Johnson stated that she would feel lost and would not be able to complete half of her school work during the day without it. BYOD may seem like an innovative and accommodating policy to some, but for others it is the exact opposite.

This technological revolution has not only become worldwide for high school students, but has taken over the younger teenagers and adolescents. Most students in middle school and elementary school are able to access social media using their phone, computer, or tablet whether it is at home or their own personal device. In fact, in April 2012, the Australian Bureau of Statistics reported that nearly a third of all 5-14 year old children had their own mobile phones. With the increased inactive time children are spending with technology and reduced time in outdoor play, connections are being drawn between overuse of technology and a delay in achievement of sensory and motor milestones (Rowan, 2010) and reduced academic performance (Gentile, 2012). Mrs. Chetlen, a retired Jane Ryan elementary school teacher discusses how technology has affected the younger students.

“Even before I retired, I started to see many 4th and 5th graders on their phones after class would end and sometimes even during it. I had to call home a couple times to tell the parents that their child could not focus and were too busy on their cell phones. To be honest, it worries me to know that some of these children will be taking care of me when I’m older because they’ll probably be too busy texting,” says Chetlen.

This “technology addiction” has obviously started at a much younger age than in years past. Some parents and grandparents are still trying to conform to this digital age while today’s generation was born into it.

According to the Mobile Mindset Study conducted by security app Lookout, 58 percent of U.S. smart phone owners check their phones at least every hour. For students at Trumbull High School, it is probably once every class period. If people’s entire lives weren’t stored on their phones, laptops, or iPads, then maybe they would not feel that lost and hopeless feeling when they are without technology. For these reasons, the BYOD policy at THS was debated along with the idea of younger kids having smart phones when some parents do not even know how to work them. Whether the “Technology Take Over” is convenient for some people or a burden to others, it needs to be taken in moderation. This generation needs to look up from the phones and computer screens and start living life, noticing what is all around them.

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