Teens and Technology: Finding Balance in a World of Social Media

By Liv M.

Picture yourself in a restaurant eating dinner with your family. The waiter seats you and passes out the menus. You are deciding between the salad or the pasta, when you hear your phone buzz with a notification. You check the text and secretly type a quick reply, but then you glance at Snapchat, see what’s happening on Instagram, and you don’t even notice your parents telling you to get off your phone.

This, for the majority of teenagers–nearly all of whom own a phone–has become normal. Walking down the street, strolling the mall, drifting through the school hallways, and even on the road, teens everywhere cannot seem to unglue their eyes from their sacred devices.

Many believe the use of technology in recent years has had a substantial impact on the youth of America, both in and out of classrooms. Adolescents, not only at DHS, but all over the United States, face challenges to limit technology use in their everyday lives.

Technology has a powerful effect on students, and is a crucial tool in the classroom for communicating, teaching, learning, and working. The key is to find the right balance between the beneficial use of technology to keep teens engaged in class, and the natural tendency of students to become distracted by technology, which provides ready access to instant communication through social media.

Mr. Scozzaro, the Assistant Principal at Duxbury High School, said, “It is our duty to help students negotiate in a world with technology. That includes dealing with the downsides and the positives.” Although technology is extremely helpful in school-related topics, there are some negative aspects that go along with out of school devices, like phones.

Most teenagers today own or use a phone regularly. For many, this is a vital means of communication with peers and family. However, it can also be an irritating distraction.

Mr. Aukerman, a psychology and history teacher at DHS, said, “I’m not quite sure the volume is the issue, but I am concerned with the level of distraction.” He said, “Schools are just barely beginning to figure out how dramatic a role technology plays and how pervasive the pull is to be constantly on a device.”

Not only do teachers and administrators see the effects of technology, high school students themselves have also acknowledged that the technology we use in classrooms can serve as both a disturbance and a convenience. Other websites cause students to stray from the task at hand in class, and are unable to stay focused.

“As a teacher and a parent, I am really trying to be much more conscious of asking people to plan how they study, and take time away from the distractions,” said Mr. Aukerman. Setting time aside for non-school related activities can be essential to focusing in school.

Balancing work, technology, and home life can be difficult. However, managing can be easier than you think.

“I think it’s all about proportion,” said Mr. Donovan, Principal of Duxbury High School. “Ice cream is great, but you shouldn’t have two gallons of ice cream a day.”

Having a healthy balance with technology is integral to having a healthy relationship with it.

Mr. Scozzaro also shared some helpful advice to curbing a pesky technology addiction.

“Good old fashioned will power. Leave it at home or in your car. It is kind of like an addiction, you gotta go cold turkey to know that you can live without it.”

 

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