The effects of technology on teenagers has been very large. Anybody born after 1980 has not experienced life before the introduction of personal computers, and have enjoyed the conveniences of modern information technologies their entire lives. The introduction of personal computers in the early 1980s presaged an enormous change in how we live our lives. For teenagers, the differences are enormous, and not entirely good.
The main effects of technology on teenagers has been in the way in which they spend their free time. While the use of computers in the classroom has certainly changed the way children are taught, the wide-spread use of computers at home and, with the invention of cell phones and tablets, their use on the go, has fundamentally transformed the way teenagers conduct themselves in almost every way. It is the rare teen who is not seen walking along the street with either a cell phone held to his or her ear, or the ever-present ear-buds connecting their heads to a IPod or similar type of MP3 player. Teens spend much of their time at home using computers, for studying and for playing games. Whether this change has hurt their ability to communicate or interact with other people in the more traditional ways of the past is unknown. What is known is that teens are more absorbed in their technologies than ever before.
One of the worst results of teen use of technology is the wide-spread and very dangerous practice of “texting” while driving. Driving a car is one of the most dangerous tasks anybody can do during the course of a day. Over 40,000 Americans die every year in car accidents – and that was before the added distraction of texting while driving. For purposes of comparison, around 4,500 American soldiers were killed during ten years of war in Iraq. Teen texting while driving has added a dangerous new component to the everyday task of getting to and from one’s destination.
Another negative effect of technology on teenagers has been in the area of bullying. Bullying has always been a problem among children and teens, but the ability of bullies to taunt their victims anonymously over computers has made the problem even worse. Similarly, cell phone cameras have been abused many times by teens to humiliate other teens when embarrassing photographs are sent around over their phones.
These are just a few effects of technology on teenagers.