Updated May 4, 2020

Negative Effects of Technology

Read more about Internet

Technology can damage your social, physical, and mental health.It's important to understand how it affects your life and your relationship with others.

Keep reading to learn staggering statistics on the negatives that technology brings into your life.

Technology Has Its Bad Sides

  • What are the side effects of technology?

    Technology has its positives, but the negatives must be understood too. In a world of instant gratification and continual distractions, technology has the ability to make users easily distracted, impatient, and continually bored. Technology can also make users forget important information, communicate in shorthand, and be incapable of deep thinking.

  • Why are electronic devices bad for you?

    Parents and children are guilty of spending a large majority of their day on a digital device. According to Common Sense Media, parents and teens spend up to 9 hours a day on a screen and kids up to age 8 spend 2 hours and 19 minutes on a screen. Spending this much time on a screen can cause issues with your eyes, sleep disturbances, and even physical ailments.

  • Does technology cause social isolation?

    Technology has caused society as a whole to become unsocial. All too often, we plug into our phones or bury our faces into it and forget about the outside world. This even leaks into the business world, where co-workers communicate via email even though they are just two offices away. Technology also makes the work or even social network "always available." You can't ever get away from it, which can cause burnout and even more isolation as you withdraw from your "real life relationships."

Negative Effects of Technology on Children

  • Should children under the age of 2 be given screen time?

    The American Association of Pediatrics recommends that children under the age of 2 do not have any screen time. The AAP believes babies and toddlers should be communicating and interacting with "real people." Babies and toddlers cannot learn to imitate others if they spend their time on electronics.

  • Can technology cause ADHD?

    It's hard to pinpoint what is actually causing the increase of ADHD in our society. With pre-teens and teens spending as much as 9 hours a day on a screen and younger kids spending just over 2 hours, it may play a role, but studies have yet to prove that it's a definitive cause.

    The CDC states that 5.2% of children ages 3 to 17 are being treated for ADHD, and a study published in the Journal of American Medical Association shows that teens with excessive use of technology have an increased risk of showing symptoms of ADHD.

  • Does technology affect children's physical activity?

    Too much time spent on devices could limit a child's physical activity. According to the CDC, 18.5% of America's youth is considered "obese." The age range of kids ages 12-19 years old have the highest average, at 20.6%. Kids ages 6-11 weren't far behind at 18.4%, though. This could be linked to the amount of time children are spending on their devices.

  • Does technology affect children's social lives?

    Depression often plays an integral role in a child's inability to socialize. In a study published in the International Journal of Child Health and Human Development, technology has made it easier for children with depression to remain sedentary. In the study, 30% of children with major depression used the internet for at least 3 hours a day. This is in comparison to the 12% who don't have depression who use the internet frequently. The lack of face time these children get with their peers can affect their social lives.

  • Does technology cause problems in the family?

    Technology today can cause a family divide. Whether it's because of the parents' lack of inability to navigate the technology their children use or it's because children remain buried in their electronics; it's a prevalent issue. In a study conducted on working parents and their families, it found that only 30% of children greeted their working parent when they arrived home because they were immersed in their device.

  • How many teens use technology to make new friends?

    57% of teens surveyed in a national survey admitted that they made friends online via social media or online games. 29% of those surveyed admitted to making as many as five new friends online. Of those who met new friends online, only 20% actually saw them in real life.

Negative Effects of Technology on Education

  • Does technology take away from students learning basic skills?

    Creating one-on-one classrooms can take away from a student's ability to learn basic skills. Basic math and spelling skills aren't used because the computer or tablet does it for them with calculators and spell check. A study conducted by McKinsey Consulting determined that the best way to make technology an ally in the classroom is to mix teacher-based teaching with computer-based teaching. This gives students the "old school" way of learning and using their basic skills as well as the ability to keep up their technological know-how.

  • Does technology make it harder for students to retain information?

    Studies show that students, and people in general, are less apt to remember information because they know they can find it within seconds online. The study also shows that students are more likely to remember where to get the information rather than remembering the information itself.

  • Does too much screen time affect learning?

    Studies show that excessive screen time can cause issues with cognitive learning, language, and social skills in students. Executive function skills are also best taught in person rather than digitally. Kids with too much screen time show a lower ability to properly control their impulses, stay on task, and execute flexible thinking.

  • Can technology enhance a student's ability to cheat?

    A McAfee survey found that 21% of students admitted to using their devices to cheat. Whether it's to look up the answers in a search engine, text a friend, or even send pictures of the exam, students are doing it. Another 47% admitted that they knew someone who used a device to cheat.

  • Does technology distract students?

    In a University of Nebraska-Lincoln survey, college students from six different universities admitted to using their device an average of 11 times during class. In another study, published in the Journal of College Teaching, 95% of college students said they bring their phone to class and 92% said they send text during class.

Negative Effects of Technology on Communication

  • Does technology affect communication?

    Technology makes communication faster and more convenient. However, it can also depersonalize conversations and make bullying a much easier task when you don't have to divulge your real identity. Many people end up replacing face-to-face contact with contact via messengers or texting. This can cause isolation and may lead to other mental health disorders, such as anxiety and depression.

  • Can technology decrease communication and intimacy in a relationship?

    Technology can even be a problem in committed relationships. In a Pew Research study, 25% of married couples admitted that they text one another while home at the same time. Another 25% of those surveyed admitted that they felt technology distracted their partner from giving them the attention they need.

  • Is email still a valid form of communication?

    Email was one of the initial electronic methods people used to communicate. Today, it still remains a popular form of communication. In fact, almost 75% of millennials surveyed still prefer to receive email communication from business rather than social media messages or text messages. Email is readily available on most devices and 86% of those surveyed said they use their mobile phone to read and write emails.

  • How many people use their phone to text?

    According to Pew Research, more than 80% of adults send text messages on a regular basis. Nielsen also reports that an average of 764 text messages are sent each month.

  • How many messages are sent through Facebook daily?

    Every day on Facebook, there are more than 7 billion conversations. Within those messages sent, people use 1.7 billion emojis per day. Facebook also introduced video chat in Messenger, of which there were 17 billion of in 2017.

  • How many people check their smartphone before getting out of bed?

    As many as 46% of Americans reach for their phone before their feet even touch the ground in the morning.

  • How many Americans use their cell phone to make phone calls?

    Amazingly, 37% of adults still use their smartphone to make phone calls despite the many features smartphones have today. This is in comparison to the 26% who say they use it primarily for texting.

  • How many people check their phone in the middle of the night?

    As many as 75% of Americans leave their smartphones powered up 24 hours a day. As many as 10% of Americans say that they wake up in the middle of the night and check their phones.

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