Hi everyone, in my last post I talked about how many of the grade 8’s at my school use technology in their everyday life. Before I continue on in further answering my question, I am first going to talk about why people may use technology and how it can affect them, specifically their mental health, school, and sleep.   

There is a variety of reasons that people may use technology, but one of the most prevalent is the idea of it being cool. Many teenagers find that “all [their] friends have it” and they have to have a phone in order to be “cool.” It also provides a way to stay connected to the world, and their friends. They may feel as though if they don’t have a phone or some of the things that a phone allows you to have (social media) they may miss out on something important, interesting or that they want to be a part of. Another reason that teenagers may want a phone is to avoid awkward situations. Whether it is just being able to pull your phone out when you are uncomfortable and pretend to have to do something, or to avoid in person conversations and have them over text instead. (1) 

Technology can also have an impact on learning. Many students find that devices, especially phones are very distracting in class. Even if there is only one phone out it makes others seem disengaged, which can cause everyone else in the room to disengage. Overstimulation of the brain can also cause poor performance. Furthermore, there is a strong correlation between confidence, grades and afterschool activities and around 40% of kids have no afterschool activities, which can cause them to rely on technology for entertainment. (1) 

Technology has also been proven to affect mental health. Internet addiction is also called Internet compulsion and is not associated with the same physical symptoms that a drug or alcohol addiction is, but people can still develop a psychological dependence on technology. This kind of technology use has been linked to a variety of mental health problems including low self-esteem, depression, and loneliness. A study done recently that looked at 13-17 year old’s Internet use suggests that depression and compulsive Internet use are related. Spending too much time on the Internet can lead to emotional problems such as depression, which in turn can cause an increase in Internet use (7).  On the contrary according to Madeleine J. George (the leader of a study about the how technology can impact the mental health of at-risk adolescents), teenagers who spent more time on technology had less severe depression and anxiety symptoms. Her study also found that high technology usage is associated with problems with attention, behaviour and self-regulation and that at-risk adolescents experience higher ADHD symptoms and conduct problems on days where they use more technology, then on days they use less (5). 

One of the main areas where I feel that technology impacts my life is with my sleep. Technology, and specifically screens can have a huge impact on the length and quality of sleep you get.  The artificial blue light given off by a screen activates neurons and disrupts the circadian rhythms and the ability to produce melatonin, which is a sleep-inducing hormone (3,6). It makes you feel less tired and reduces the quality of sleep you get (3). Other factors, such as having your phone turned on in the room when you try to sleep can also negatively impact your rest. When you phone makes noises at night it can wake you up, and make you feel as though you need to check it. Turning on a phone at night can be as big as a distracter as noise is, as the light that emits from a screen signals to your brain that it is time to wake up (4). Having more screen time, sleeping near a small screen, and sleeping with a TV in the room are associated with shorted durations of sleep and 75% of children ages 6-17 have at least one electronic device in their bedroom (4,2). This sleep deprivation disrupts emotional regulation in teenagers and can cause them to engage in risky behaviors such as substance abuse due to their impulse control being compromised. It has also been associated with depression. 

For my next couple of posts, I will be reviewing the results that I received from both of my surveys. If you have not already, it would be great if you could complete my survey titled “How does knowing the impact of technology affect how you use it?”   

Thanks for reading. 

- Etta 

 

 https://www.screenagersmovie.com/ (1)

https://pediatrics.aappublicat.../135/2/e367.full.pdf (2)

https://www.newportacademy.com...d-sleep-deprivation/ (3)

http://www.iowasleep.com/blog/...s-affect-teens-sleep (4)

https://today.duke.edu/2017/05...ues-risk-adolescents (5)

https://www.huffpost.com/entry...depression_n_1723625 (6)

https://www.psychologytoday.co...escent-mental-health (7)

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Original Post

Hi Etta!

Great round of research - it is so important to consider the impact of technology on aspects of our daily lives, and because of this it has become quite a popular topic. I was interested to know how technology engaged teenagers in a social life - I remember I was not allowed to have a phone until I was 16, so I definitely missed out on a lot! It also seems funny that phones are used to avoid awkward situations - it's almost like kids think they are invisible when they're behind a screen and nothing they do will matter because it's not in person. You may be interested in looking at awkward situations with technology; because it has been relied on to prevent 'awkwardness' people don't realize they can become involved in awkward situations via social media as well! 

 I think it's also really interesting how you mentioned technology can have adverse effects on at-risk youth, and how their 'at-risk' background affects the way they use technology. 

 Good luck sorting through your survey results! 

Hi Etta,

Great research round. There no doubt that technology is becoming very integrated into our lives. We use it very single day at school, home, etc. Good work on bringing into light this important topic. 

It's true that technology is leaving a mark on the mental health on the people who use it. It's interesting how you labelled this "internet addiction" and how you explained that we can develop psychological dependence on technology. Recently, it was in the news that one of the latest additions to the World Health Organization's (WHO) list on addictions was video games. They called it a mental health disorder which can prove how much devices are influencing our health.

I liked that you explained that we use our phones to avoid awkward situations, and I believe that's true. The reality is that we do to avoid striking conversations with people because it makes us look like we're busy... However, that brings out the question: why do people want to avoid human contact? Maybe you'd be interested in looking to that. I suggest that you could also investigate whether the increase of using computers and other devices (as a tool for learning in our education systems) is being more of a negative impact than positive. I know that in our school, we have a Digital Learning course, and there's a lot of classes that now require you to bring laptops in class. Perhaps schools are doing this so that we could be more adapted to technology, but can this have a negative impact (create more reliance on our devices to do work)?

Great work,

Here are some sites you may be interested in looking into,

https://www.altpress.com/news/video-game-addiction/

https://www.inc.com/amy-morin/...-a-psychologist.html

https://thoughtcatalog.com/bra...heyre-uncomfortable/

-Alison

Hey Etta, 

I really enjoyed reading over your research round. It was thorough and contained many different aspects that I could relate to and I gained a much better knowledge of technology use now because of the information you presented. The fact that overstimulation of the brain can actually lower a person's (academic) performance is not shocking. I too find that when I have my phone out in class, I am even more distracted and I tend to not fully understand any given assignments and therefore perform poorly on them. However, what you said about sleep and about use of technology at school is really prevalent for me. Currently I am reading over posts on butterfly effect and writing comments, which is a useful means of technology to complete academic tasks, however it is interfering with my sleep as the screen of my laptop emits that blue light. 

Therefore, as you have most likely already deduced, technology use is very controversial. And, to go along with your survey question, I feel like knowing the effects of technology on our health or on our performance only gives us the half step to truly understanding it. We must experience the consequences in order to learn, which may prove to be dangerous as we are still unsure of the long-term effects that technology has on us. 

Anyway, great research round, I am looking forward to following up with the survey results in your next post!

Hi Etta,

Great round of research! I really enjoyed reading your post, and the topic of technology, social media and negative mental health conditions such as depression are extremely prevalent in today's society, so I think it's great that you're looking into it. I find that my phone is both distracting and extremely useful at the same time. I use it for so much of my schoolwork nowadays, but at times I find myself getting distracted by a message from a friend or start scrolling through social media instead of doing my homework like I was originally intending on completing using my phone. I find it interesting how one study shows that with teenagers, depression and internet use is related, meaning that too much time on the internet can lead to depression, whereas another study states that  teenagers who spend more time on technology had less severe depression and anxiety symptoms. I think that this shows that there hasn't really been enough research done on this topic, seeing as it is quite a new thing. Perhaps, if you want to, you could delve further into how education is changing because of technology, and what it might look like in so many years.

Here are some websites that you might want to have a look at:

https://www.nytimes.com/2012/1...rn-teachers-say.html

https://www.thetechedvocate.or...ng-modern-education/

http://www.child-encyclopedia....d-early-years-school

Good luck!

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