Explanatory Synthesis Essay – Class Meeting 12/11/17 1630 NBSD

Explanatory
Synthesis Essay – Class Meeting 12/11/17 1630 NBSD

            Technology
is destroying the quality of human interaction:

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The utilization of technology
to create and maintain relationships among people has become commonplace.
According to the Pew Research Center, the percentage of American adults who own
a tablet computer increased from 3 percent in 2010 to 45 percent in 2015, and
the percentage of American adults who own a cell phone increased from 53
percent in 2000 to 92 percent in 2015. Furthermore, in 2015, 76 percent of
online adults used some type of social networking site, compared to 8 percent
in 2005. Technology is often introduced into a social system with the stated
intention of making life easier for people. As technology becomes more
pervasive in everyday life, the assessment of technology’s presence in
relationships and its impact on how humans interact with one another is an
emerging area of study. There are many perspectives on the relationship between
technology and human interactions and relationships. It is purported that the
integration of technologies in everyday life can have profound effects on human
relationships, in both positive and negative ways. More notably, technologies
impact on or interfere with how individuals engage in interpersonal
relationships, behave within relationships, and project feelings and meanings
including displays of emotions and love. Essentially, the new technological
landscape now connects to what it means to be human.

Some of us may remember classrooms without
technology — computers were just on the horizon and if they were present,
students shared usage of one or two. Along with the increase in

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availability of technology in education comes the
wide-spread application — from learning games to taking notes, tablets,
laptops, desktop computers, and other devices have become a vital part of our
day-to-day teaching. 

Have you ever wondered what impact all this
technology usage is having on our students and their ability to function
socially? You may have noticed students have a hard time putting down the
tablet or seem more comfortable communicating with a character in an online game
than they are with their classmates. What role does technology play in our
students’ social development, and how is it impacting these skills?

Before we dive into the relationship between
social skills and technology, let’s talk a bit about what social skills are and
why they matter. Social skills are
the tools we use to interact with others. Most of the time we’re not thinking
about our social skills too much. Think back to the last time you met up with
friends. You probably used a good deal of positive social skills you learned
along the way, like making eye contact, smiling and laughing at appropriate
times, pausing at the right time during conversations, and answering/asking
questions at a relatively even distribution. Did anyone actually ‘teach’ you
these skills? More than likely, you simply picked them up along the way. How
did this happen? 

In bits and pieces as you interacted with
others, you began to notice and adapt to their social cues, which are subtle verbal or nonverbal actions that let
you know what would be acceptable or unacceptable. These include things like
facial expression, tone of voice, body language, and direct wording. Let’s say
you’re talking to your friend about a new job and you

 

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suddenly notice her eyebrows raise and she looks alarmed.
Though she isn’t telling you outright, you will probably notice these cues and
ask her what’s up. 

Social cues are important for many reasons but mostly
because they help us navigate social situations. Your students need to learn
and develop these skills in order to interact in a society — to make and
maintain friends, get a job, talk to the bank teller, and so on. How do they
develop these skills? You guessed it, they learn them by interacting with
others.

 Information overload has
become a reality, with the Internet providing much more knowledge at the click
of a mouse than could even be imagined in the past. This means there is much
more data that can be communicated about any topic than was previously
possible, limited only by our own ability to find, absorb, and store this
information. As a result, savvy communicators have learned to turn toward
specific technology solutions to help them harness, organize, and manage the
data deluge. The Spreadsheets app from the multi-platform office solution WPS
Office, for example, allows users to more efficiently contain and categorize
different types of data using commonly used formulas. The app offers built-in
tables and cell styles that simplify data organization and presentation.

 

Technology is impacting
development of creativity in children and teens:

Technology has completely changed virtually every
aspect of our society over the past few decades, from the way we work to the
way we socialize and everything in between. One of the differences that have
been most noticeable is the change in the way that children play and interact
with each other from previous generations. Although technology does provide
many positive benefits for learning, it also can have several negative effects
on child development and

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quality of life.

One of the biggest
differences in the way that children live today is that they don’t get as much
exercise as they used to. This is because technology such as computers, smart
phones and television encourages them to be sedentary when they get home from
school, as opposed to going outside and playing with other kids. Child obesity
rates have risen drastically over the past several decades. In 2012, the child
obesity rate was measured to be 18 percent, which is an 11 point difference
from the obesity rate in 1980. While many schools and parents have made strides
to change this by promoting organized exercise both during and after school, we
still have a long way to go in helping kids playing in more conventional ways.

In addition to not getting
enough exercise, many kids do not experience the benefits of spending time
outdoors when they are heavily reliant on technology for entertainment
purposes. Spending time outdoors has a huge number of positive effects on the
body?—?it provides you with exposure to sunlight, which supplies your body with
Vitamin D. This helps to fight
infections and keep your skin healthy. Additionally, regular
exposure to sunlight helps to keep your sleep cycle regular by influencing the
body’s production of melatonin. Recent research has shown screens from devices
such as tablets and smart phones emit harmful blue light that can cause
headaches, eye strain and irritated eyes for children. Furthermore, sleep is
also disturbed by harmful blue light
when children are exposed to screen time in the evening due to the suppression
of the hormone melatonin which regulates the sleep wake cycle. This makes it
increasingly difficult for a child’s body to effectively prepare to get ready
for a goodnights sleep.

Technology also has
profound impacts on the way children think and feel. Since technology is full
of stimuli and often requires paying attention to many different things at
once,

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children who play many video games or spend most of
their time online tend to have less of an
ability to focus than kids who use technology minimally. It can also
affect the way kids process information?, ?when kids are exposed to high levels
of technology, they tend to think through things only superficially and don’t
develop the ability to think critically or be creative when learning new
concepts.

Technology changes
the way kids socialize and interact with others, which can have huge impacts on
their mental and emotional well-being. It has now become common knowledge that
high levels of social media use, in both kids and adults, can lower self-esteem
and create negative moods. However, all types of technology can actually have
negative effects on children when used in excess, because they lower children’s
frequency of interacting with their peers. This makes it more difficult for
them to pick up on social cues and develop meaningful relationships with
others?—?something that can have serious negative consequences as they grow and
develop. They also have a difficult time developing emotions the same way other
kids would if they spend too much of their time with technology and not enough time
being engaged while in the presence of others.

 

Technology can be
a constant distraction from reality:

Office distractions eat up an average of
two hours a day per person, and that’s in addition to the way we distract
ourselves. Human beings switch activities every three minutes, meaning we
change focus up to twenty times each hour. If we apply ourselves, we can focus
on a task for an average of eleven minutes before getting distracted; it then
takes twenty-five minutes to return to

 

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the task, if we do at all. Overall,
distraction and wasted effort cost organizations around $650B each year. 

We can continue the
way we are, struggling to focus, becoming overwhelmed, stressed out, and
miserable, which has a negative effect on our relationships, health,
reputation, and sense of fulfillment. (Technology certainly isn’t helping.) Or
we can accept certain truths about the way we work and make a cultural shift.

Like
most everything else, cell phone usage can become an obsession and we can spend
too much time using them, they can become invasive of our lives. Everyone
thought the television was wonderful until we found that a lot of Americans
were watching television when they should have been exercising, completing a
special project around the house or even doing their homework. Cell phones are
just like many devices – when used carelessly or to excess, they become more
harmful than helpful.

Cell
phone usage has become a major contributor to accidents and other incidents. Citing
Edgar and Snyder, a law firm representing injury cases, 1 out of every 4 car
accidents in the United States is caused or related to texting and driving. That’s
330,000  injuries per year just
associated with accidents caused by texting while driving. To put it into
perspective, answering a text while driving takes your attention away from the
road for about 5 seconds. If you were traveling at 55 mph, that would be enough
time to travel the length of an entire football field.

            So what’s being done to combat the surge in accidents
relating to cell phone use and driving? Many cell phone companies have
implemented options on phones similar to the ‘do not disturb’ feature that
essentieally lets people know that you are unavailable when you are driving and
unable to respond at the moment. Banning cell phone usage is a
newer law which has come

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about because of the high
level of distraction from the devices and the amount of people using them. Some
states ban all usage while others ban more specifically texting. Texting bans
are now enforced in 39 states and it is expected to expand to all 50 states.
Many experts compare using a cell phone while driving to drinking and driving
due to the high level of distraction and the amount of time the driver’s eyes
are off the road. If you are caught using a cell phone in a way which is
banned, you could potentially be pulled over and ticketed by a police officer.
Fines vary and insurance carriers will likely see the violation and add a surcharge to
your car insurance policy at your next policy renewal.

            Technology,
whether we enjoy it mildly or rely on it for almost everything, has become a
drastically major role in our day-to-day life over the past decade. While there
are major advances impacting a positive change, such as medical advancements
and car technology, the negative impacts cannot be ignored. People are changing
the way they socialize with each other. The loss of human connection is forcing
a world of hermits in a younger generation that are being fostered to be more
distant in person and are losing the right of free thinking and creativity. Our
constant ‘distractions’ have become a commonplace comfort and hiding place that
is all too easily accessable for everyone young and old. In a world where the next
new thing is always sought after and envied, if not owned, perhaps it’s time we
stop looking down so much and start looking up. 

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