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Persuasive essay on the negatives of excessive technology use

natashanicola 1 / -  
Mar 30, 2015   #1
The assignment is a persuasive essay on a topic of my choice. It must be 8-10 pages long and submitted in MLA format.
Any feedback would be greatly appreciated. Thank you for your time!

Since television's rise to fame in the 1950's, technology has grown to become an integrated part of everyday life for many societies. While technology use first started as a means of relaxation in the home, it has now developed into a prying tendency that has attached itself to most aspects of everyday life. Many people today wake up to their mobile devices, then are surrounded by electronic devices throughout the day, only to go home and continue this trend into bed time. While this isn't the case with everyone, research shows that in some geographic locations, adults are spending more time engaging in technological activities than they are sleeping (Ofcom, 2014). Studies of the effects of excessive technology use are currently underway; however, there are still many unanswered questions shrouding whether or not using technology most of the time has a serious negative impact. While technology undoubtedly has its perks, this mystery of the long-term effects of its excessive use is a matter that should be taken into thought for every technology user in this day and age.

There have been many studies conducted in recent years monitoring the escalation of technology use in everyday life. Pew Research Center reported in January of 2014 that 90% of adults in the United States now have cell phones while 32% have an e-reader and 42% have a tablet computer. Gone are the days when people would get caught up in their surroundings as they waited on a bus or doctor during a visit. Everywhere you go, you can see the habit that many people have developed of going to their phones as a way to take advantage of every moment to keep in contact with their interests. Restaurants, sporting events, and parties are examples of scenarios where you might think outside entertainment isn't necessary. However, often times you will see that people today are sidetracked with their phone much of the time. According to the mentioned Pew Research study, 67% of cell phone users claimed to check their mobile phones for messages and alerts even when it had not notified them. To put the amount of time spent using technology into perspective, here are some numbers showing the average amount of time spent using technology. In 2013, women and men spent approximately 50 minutes per day using mobile apps, 5 hours per day watching television, 2.5 hours listening to the radio, and an average of an hour was spent using the internet on a computer. This amounted to an upward of 9 hours per day spent using technology; of course for some it was more or less. In the 2014 Nielson Report, the results showed an increase in both computer and cell phone usage. It is safe to say that technology use has become one of the most interesting and consuming parts of modern societies everyday life. The question lies in what affect this will have on our future to come.

There have been extensive studies in recent years on the physical and mental affects of technology use. Since technology comes in many forms, their affects differ. While many of the affects found thus far are not immediately life threatening, they are negative which is cause for a deeper consideration of the amount of time spent using these newer technologies. One negative result of excessive computer and television use is the link found to obesity amongst both children and adults ("Journal of Obesity" 2005). Both of these sedentary activities have become very popular throughout all ages as regular past time. Another very common negative affect of excessive electronic use is strained eyes. Since many people today work with computers, the extended amount of time spent staring at a computer monitor can cause a couple of physical inconveniences. The main issue with using a brightly lit computer monitor for work is the amount of focus one is putting on the screen. This focus can lead to a decrease in blinking which can result in eyestrains (Chap, 2011). Continuing this strain on the eyes can end up causing tension headaches. Radiation is another negative impact which is perhaps the most alarming one of them all. Excessive cell phone use, as well as the placement of cell phones, causes individuals to be more vulnerable to radiation. The antennae of cell phones release electromagnetic frequencies which have been linked to causing cancerous tumors. Those who use cell phones often for calling and have the cell phone directly next to their brain, are allowing the radiation to emit these frequencies into that side of the brain. Carrying the cell phone against the body; for example, in a shirt or pocket, has also been linked to cancerous tumors. Often times, the results of these studies have been thought to correlate with whomever is sponsoring the study. This raises questions as to who what the truth is about the affects of radiation. Expert agencies suggest more research is conducted in order to tell of the long-term affects of cell phone use. Since we are now using cell phones more than ever, it seems it would be prudent to lessen the risk of this serious health problem occurring. The thought of cell phone radiation is especially worrisome when thinking about the amount of children's applications available today and considering the affects the frequencies might have on children's developing brains. Sleep is another part of our lives that is negatively impacted by overuse of technology. Many adults today have heard that it is not healthy to use electronic devices within an hour before bed; however, 95% of adults still continue to squeeze in electronic time before going to sleep. The light emitted from these devices throws off the circadian rhythm and can push your sleep time back. Studies have shown that this does not only affect the quality of sleep, but it affects the entire following day. The blue light emitted from smart phones is purported to decrease the amount of melatonin produced, resulting in low quality of sleep. Even more negatively, this type of use for adolescents can cause unhealthy sleep patterns for growing children. This is why many health officials encourage parents to not allow televisions or other electronic devices in the bedroom. The negative impact on sleep is not the only drawback of children having technology available constantly. Studies have shown that children are more inactive today than they were a decade ago due to the availability of electronic entertainment. Many children spend much of their day playing with apps, video games, or on Facebook. Overuse of these activities takes time away from some of the most crucial aspects of growing up, according to Cris Rowen. The amount of sedentary time is alarming since children need a sufficient amount of time spent per day doing activities to have healthy physical development. The most alarming aspect of children overusing technology is the correlation of disorders like ADHD, depression, and autism being linked to children overusing technology. Many parents are unaware of the affects these games and devices may have on their children, and due to this, parents are often unable to be proactive in avoiding this negative outcome. Health officials recommend monitoring the amount of time children spend on electronic devices for this very reason. While technology does provide some positives when it comes to educational value for children, it can replace learning experiences not so easily acquired through technology. Patience and the ability to focus is something that the internet and technology are not known to promote.

The mental affects of technology use have been linked to both positive and negative reactions. When it comes to processing information, consistently using technology can change the way we read and analyze information. With new media outlets like Twitter and Buzzfeed, our brains are encouraged to read snippets of information to get the gist of a story, rather than reading a detailed article. In some situations, this is a positive change. In others, this can cause readers to become reluctant to read a more detailed source of information rather than an anecdote. It seems the best way to avoid adverse affects of technology would be to use it in moderation. Internet addiction is one of the more serious negative affects of technology. While it is a new diagnosis and may sound as if it is pseudo-science, the affects of Internet addiction are very real. Internet addiction has been strongly correlated with ADHD symptoms such as the inability to focus and hyperactivity. Another adverse affect of technology is the link between Internet overuse and depression. According to a study in Turkey, loneliness was found to be a predictor of problematic Internet use. If individuals pathologically use the internet as a means to escape loneliness, that may lessen their chances of living a more fulfilling life face-to-face with human interaction. This would perpetuate their loneliness.

I have conducted a small survey of ten individuals, ranging from the age of twenty-two through seventy-seven. The questions were general questions asking how much time was spent a day using technology and how the individuals felt about their use. Nine out of the ten individuals used technology at least six hours a day. All of the subjects used technology within an hour before bed, however some used passive technology (television and radio) while others claimed to "unfortunately" use their cell phones or computer before bed, which is considered active technology. While this sample size was certainly not large enough for a valid statement of a trend, there was one very interesting correlation I noticed. There was one question where the older and younger subjects seemed to have different feelings. The question asked if they thought they were more or less productive using electronic devices. The older subjects responded saying they felt more productive. Their answers were "More productive. I have done all these tasks the old way." And "More productive. Instantaneous results!". Alternatively, four out of the five younger individuals felt they were often times less productive because technology was distracting. It appears from this small-scale group that the older generation stays focused upon their tasks and ends up feeling productive after using technology while the younger generation is more easily distracted. This study does not show any really negative emotional affects of technology, however the fact that many of the younger subjects feel distracted by technology, more so than the elderly subjects, speaks to how many individuals in society feel today. With all of the social media sites to check, such as Facebook, Instagram, SnapChat, Tumblr, Twitter, and the plethora of others, it is hard for individuals to stay focused on one thing, especially while on the computer where all of this is readily available.

In the past decade, the amount of time spent hooked to technology has skyrocketed. People are not constantly in contact with the World Wide Web through multiple devices. Book stores are not fairing well as the conveniences of technology have out-shined the now thought be antiquated process of reading from a paper book. Watches are being changed metal mechanical devices to Internet capable devices which may have the capability to act as a phone. There are so many exciting advances in technology today and science is hardly able to keep up with studying the newest trends. What is happening in technology is great but prudence and moderation should still be considered. Since these advancements are so new, we aren't fully aware of what the effects are of constantly having cell phone radiation near us, or how this high amount of technology consumption will affect the development and programing of our brains. I'm not recommending that we revert back to oil lamps and typewriters. But I do think it'd be best for society to step back and look at the amount of time they spend on their phones, computers, and watching television. Allowing the brain to do something that is not driven by technology; such as reading a book, painting, learning an instrument, cooking for pleasure, doing the things people used to do to pass the time cannot hurt. To have moderation in technology use will only allow us to be more well rounded rather than turning into the technology crazed zombies some people fear we will become. Research on technology use and radiation affects will continue and we will someday see it for what it is. But for now, in this exciting time of innovation and change, it may be best to take it a bit at a time rather than blindly diving in.
EF_Kevin 8 / 13,321 129  
Apr 1, 2015   #2
The first sentence is an uninteresting statement of the obvious, so the reader might stop paying attention. It might be good to eliminate it and let the essay start with that more interesting second sentence.

After you use the word 'This' it's good to use a noun: This concern raises questions as to...

And this part of the sentence is all jumbled up, I think you left some words that didn't belong: ...who what the truth is about the affects of radiation.

It'd be a good idea to revise the introduction so that it strongly asserts the point you're trying to make. A good strategy for persuasion is Say it, explain it, and say it again. So try revising that introduction to make sure it expresses the argument, and that way the rest of the essay will be more effective because the reader will know what point you're trying to make.

That must have been an interesting survey! You made some great points here, and I think I'll step away from the computer for a minute. : )

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