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Vanegas 1

Mirian Vanegas

English 115

Professor Jennifer Rodrick

Sep 24, 2018

Identities Controlled By Technology

In 1969 a man landed on the moon. What many people thought impossible was

achievable through technology. Ever since this historical moment, technology and its

advancements started and continued to grow rapidly over the decades and it basically became

“One giant leap for Mankind”. The Digital Era quickly followed in which we now have

smartphones and the internet. These advancements in technology have revolutionized the way

we live our daily lives but many generations are being affected by our dependance of technology.

From toddlers to elders, everyone has been conforming to the idea that technology has and will

only keep benefiting us but there have been many things lost during this technological process.

Life skills that we learned as children like communication skills, critical thinking, and engaged

learning have become difficult for adolescents because they have lost their identity due to the

amount of time spent using technology.

Adolescents communication skills are being negatively affected by the constant use of

their cellphones. Their constant need of being in social media apps affects the relationship

between friends which Shakiratul Rahman addresses in their article Shakiratul Hanany Abd

Rahman, author of, “Can’t Live without my FB, LoL: The Influence of Social Networking Sites

on the Communication Skills of TESL Students” talks about how face to face communication is

no longer favorable in most cases of interactions. In the article she states “This scenario may
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affect our communication skills since it is observed that face-to-face communication takes place

lesser these days​.”​(Rahman) Adolescents and teens have lost or have gained limited

communication skills to help them have face to face relationships, which is crucial in forming

young adults with the capacity of being able to express themselves and their ideas. Since there is

little to no face to face communications they lose the ability to socialize or give a presentation in

class because they’ve lost a sense of connection between peers and friends. Which doesn’t help

with their current identity crisis due to technology.

With having unlimited access to the internet and its answers to our questions we lose the

ability to critically think. As we know critical thinking helps us create our own judgement and

ideas which is necessary since we use these ideas to express our opinions. Nicholas Carr, an

American author, in his article “Is Google Making Us Stupid” argues about how the use of

technology has affected people in general but himself as well. Throughout the article Carr

realizes how much we have become dependant of technology. For example we need an alarm to

wake us up in the morning, or when writing an essay using autocorrect to fix our grammatical

errors. With that being said even the smallest actions can show our dependence on technology.

Sergey Brin, one of Google’s creators, was interviewed by Newsweek and he stated that

“Certainly if you had all the world’s information directly attached to your brain, or an artificial

brain that was smarter than your brain you’d be better off.”(Carr) Although, being smart because

of technology sounds like a good idea it will hurt our ability to critically think. In the article

called “ Technology addiction disrupts teenage learning” from Database and Network Journal, a

study was made on how technology was used in a educational context in which 59.2% of

students admitted to having used plagiarism. This means that having resources such as Google at
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their fingertips makes it easier for students to take advantage of those resources and used them to

complete assignments. By doing this, students are limiting their critical skills used to brainstorm

and create new ideas out of scratch. In our society we makes decisions based on judgements,

opinions, and choices we make for ourselves and our communities. With our dependance in

technology that is all being taken away by the need/necessity of having to be always connected

to the internet. This only raises more problems to those that are already having difficulty with

critical skills that helps us think and do so much more.

Engaged learning has become difficult students since the majority of the time students

check their phones during class. It can be from a text message, to checking what your friends

posted on Snapchat, Instagram, etc.. This distracts students from learning and the teacher from

teaching. In the article“Children, Teens, and Entertainment Media” by Education Digest , it talks

about a teacher's perspective in and opinions in their students attention spans and ability to focus

in class activities and during class lessons. “Attention span -- The biggest problem area is

students' attention spans. A total of 71% of teachers say that students' media use is hurting their

attention spans, ranging from 63% of elementary school teachers to 80% of high school

teachers.”(Education Digest). Students are able to multitask using the technology around them

and they tend to lose focus on their learning and environment. Multitasking is beneficial in some

occasions but not when it comes to learning in the classroom. In the article called “ Technology

addiction disrupts teenage learning” by Education Digest, a survey was given to students and

they discovered that a little over 50% of students were addicted to their phones. Which means

that students have developed a tendency to be looking at their phone screen for the majority of

the class period when they seem to be “bored” or find what they are learning not interesting
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enough to be worth their attention. Checking their phone disrupts their learning and not only is it

hard for the student to understand what is being taught but it makes it harder for the teacher as

well to communicate with the student if their focus is somewhere else. Not only does this cause a

distraction in school grounds but, at home as well. Most students find themselves slacking off

due to the fact that their phones are always with them and even the smallest notifications

distracts them from doing their work.

This image portrays what our daily lives look like. As a commuter I am used to seeing

many people on their phones and it is rare to see someone actually establishing a true

relationship with someone. I say rare because it is, all I see around me in the bus is a bunch of

mindless people looking down at a machine.It’s crazy to think about it sometimes because its

like there really is a fine line between being in control and losing it. Our dependance of our

phones has become so strong that it’s like a drug, we can't live or function without it because we

have become addicted.We have become addicted that everytime iPhone or Samsung have a new

phone many people line up to get the newest model because there are new features to attract you

and keep you tied down to your phone. The newest models bring functions that are different and
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improved from the previous models, but they've only made it better so we can be more

dependent of their products rather than of ourselves.

Some may argue that technology helps us improve our learning skills and capacities by

encouraging us to keep making advancements to help make changes in our society. It is

important for kids to learn at a young age to use phones or tablets because it will eventually

benefit them when they become of age to use the adequate technology to help them in their

classes and in homework. Technology has come so far that it makes things like transportation,

access to information more accessible to students to make their lives and their teachers lives

easier. Medical advancements have also been made through technology since there are more

accurate ways of doing surgery and better ways to improve a patient's care in treatments and

therapies in hospitals. These are only some of the points the opposing side would make but in

reality the more we become dependent in technology the harder it will be for us to actually be

able to interact, learn, focus, and critically think. Being too dependent will only keep stealing our

identities little by little until there isn’t anything left but a screen.

In conclusion, although technology has been able to create an era in which we have many

resources at our fingertips, we are faced with two different choices. The first choice is to be

dependent of technology and risk/lose the most crucial things we’ve learned. The second one

would be to decide to live a life were the amount of time we spend in front of a screen is limited

so we can make the most of what we have around us. There are many benefits to being

surrounded by technology, but it won’t always be the same result and as technology keeps

advancing we are only creating a world like the ones we see in television or in movies. Being a

critical thinker, a good communicator, and being engaged in what we are learning help us form
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our own identity without it being taken from us or being given to us without a choice. Creating

our own identity can help us create connections between us and other individuals which can

completely change our perspective to how our lives should be lived with the growing influence

of technology at our hands. Although we have done the impossible through technology there's

not much we can achieve for ourselves if we are dependent of the technology that surrounds us.

That is if we let loose of our phones for a while and start enjoying what we have in front of us.

Technology can only do so much for us but, the only ones that can really do the impossible is us.

Works Cited

Carr, Nicholas ; Norvig, Peter, “Is Google Making Us Stupid?”, New York Times Upfront, Oct

4, 2010, Vol.143(3), p.22 Accessed Sep 26,2018

“Children, Teens, and Entertainment Media.” Education Digest, vol. 78, no. 8, Apr. 2013, pp.

21–30. EBSCOhost, Accessed Sep 26,2018

Rahman, Shakiratul Hanany Abd, “Can’t Live without my FB, LoL: The Influence of Social

Networking Sites on the Communication Skills of TESL Students”​ ​Procedia ​-

Social and Behavioral Sciences, 15 May 2014, Vol.134, pp.213-219 Accessed

Sep 26,2018
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Shabath, Omri, “ “Facebook Offers” May Kill The Dwindling Daily Deal Services”, Working
Home Guide,
ng-daily-deal-services​ Accessed: Sep 26,2018

“Technology addiction disrupts teenage learning.”(IT News and Products)(Brief article)

Database and Network Journal, Oct, 2009, Vol.39(5), p.23(1), Accessed Sep