While technology has resulted in many positive facets of American culture, it has had major negative consequences. Technology was used to improve life in a variety of areas, including connectivity, housing, and schooling. Nonetheless, it has created a slew of problems in American culture, especially among the youth. As a result, this paper would argue that technology has led to a variety of social ills in American culture.
Most of the most serious consequences have been directed at teens. In other words, scientific advances have a negative impact on young people. An average teenager spends at least eight hours on devices such as phones, computers, and tablets. Teenagers are obsessed with owning the latest devices; this makes them put financial pressure on their parents (DeLoatch). They are also isolating themselves from their friends and family members as they use these devices every day. In the process, they also limit their interpersonal skills. Most teenagers communicate through texts and social platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat, Instagram and Whatsapp; they no longer call their family members and friends. Teenagers argue that mobile phones enable them to communicate more easily with their family members, however they have become glued to them. During family events, teenagers are always texting on their phones instead of interacting. In some cases, they even put on earphones and completely seclude themselves from others. Technology is also affecting teenagers in the classroom; they often text during class hours therefore distracting themselves from the lectures. The text language among teens is also reflected in their writing assignments. Thirty eight percent of them have admitted to using text acronyms such as “LOL” which stands for “laugh out loud” in their schoolwork. Teens also cause any road accidents as a result of texting while driving. The State of California has prohibited texting while driving as a measure for reducing the number of accidents (Hosale 5-8).
Another negative impact of technology involves the children. The advancements changes how a child thinks. Children who are exposed to video games can pay attention to numerous stimuli. However, they are also at risk of reduced memory and distraction. Children who often use search engines such as Google, Yahoo and Bing are good at searching for data but very poor at remembering the information (Taylor 45). Also, children who overuse technology have little opportunities to explore their creativity and to read. When children are always watching TV and playing video games during their free time, they rarely partake in sports, art, music and other activities; they also have very little time for literature. The result is the few number of literature scholars today as compared to the pre-technology era. Technology also reduces a child’s ability to pick up on emotions. A study on two groups of ten year old children showed that the ones with no access to video games and mobile phones were better at noticing emotions of people based on their photographs. Increased interpersonal contact makes it easier for children to connect with people’s emotions. Children who rarely engage in physical contact have difficulty in developing emotional reactions and social skills (Taylor 45-48).
Technology can reduce an individual’s security and privacy. People who share personal details on social media put themselves in danger. In eight two percent of online sex offences against children, the offenders obtained their victim’s personal information from social media (Hosale 10-13). There are also instances of people being robbed after posting on social media that the family is away on vacation. Hackers are also accessing personal information and blackmailing their victims. In some cases, embarrassing photos and e-mails of influential individuals are leaked and their careers are destroyed. Cyber- bullying has also become very common on social platforms; some assailants even send death threats to their victims hence causing psychological torture. Women are more likely to post personal details on social media compared to men; therefore most victims are women (Hosale 10-13).
Another negative impact of technological advancement entails pollution. The American society has been vastly affected by air degradation emanating from different industrial processes. Today, most of the soil and water sources are contaminated. The major causes of pollution are industries and vehicles. Factories release harmful chemicals and gases into the environment which end up in our bodies. Greenhouses gases emitted by diesel engines such as carbon monoxide cause respiratory problems as well as global warming. Technology has also led to massive deforestation that has caused a reduction in the amount of rainfall in some areas (DeLoatch). This has caused a shortage of organic food in America. Most Americans rely on non-organic foods which have a high sodium and cholesterol content because the organic food is too expensive.
Another detrimental impact of these advancements entail the rise in obesity rates. Currently, America has the highest percentage of obese people in the world. Americans are spending more time indoors instead of engaging in physical activity; most people in America use their free time watching TV and on their phones. Paediatricians also claim that obesity among young people is increasing at a high rate. Most children eat snacks that are high in cholesterol and sodium; they also engage in less physical activity because they are preoccupied with mobile phones and video games (DeLoatch 25-28).
In conclusion, technology was introduced to improve the quality of life. However, its side effects in the American culture cannot be ignored. Technology has negative effects on children, teenagers, security and health. Many Americans stay indoors as opposed to partaking in outdoor activities leading to obesity. Social media has also made it easier for hackers and stalkers to access people’s personal information and commit crimes. Teenagers also use technology to seclude themselves from the real world.
DeLoatch, Pamela. “The Four Negative Sides of Technology.” Edudemic (2015): 20-30.
Hosale, Sheri. “25 Negative Effects of Technology.” RooGirl (2013): 3-20.
Taylor, Jim. “How is Technology Changing The Way Children Think and Focus.” Psychology Today (2012): 40-50.