QUT EAP 2 / Prof. Hilde Frederix / Academic Research Writing / 13 January 2018

Assignment Topic: Outline the effects of electronic communication on teenagers

Due to the progressive advancement of technology in the late 20th century, several new telecommunication medium has emerged to enhance the quality of human beings’ lives. These significant technological innovations include phone, radio, television, and computer which have been created to improve humans’ lives more efficient and convenient. After several decades, these crucial digital inventions have been immensely popularising in today’s world. Since the impacts from these electronic devices are influential, as a result, they have affected young generation abundantly. This essay will outline several momentous impacts of digital communication on young adolescents from three different perspectives, in terms of health, social, and educational aspects.

Health problem is one of the major negative impacts of digital media use on young adults. It could be separated into two parts, which include psychological impacts and physical consequences. The first factor is that adolescents who spend a long time on electronic devices are associated with several psychological health issues. According to Martin’s report (2011, p.6), excessive screen uses of electronic devices for teenagers are associated with a variety of psychological diseases, such as depression, anxiety, and attention problems. That is to say, the longer time they utilised the digital devices, the more mental illnesses they could receive eventually. The second point is that using electronic media has some adverse impacts on adolescents’ physical health. In fact, Arora et al.(2012, p. 361) indicate that obesity is one of the major physical health problems and it has a close relationship between overweight and wasting too much time on electronic media. As well as adiposity, some studies even suggest that more screen time of personal laptops for young adolescents have been linked to back pain and headache (Torsheim et al., 2010, p. 326). For instance, sitting or watching computer’s screen for too long triggers these physical disorders because of muscle strains and eye fatigues. Hence, psychiatric symptoms and physical afflictions are two main parts of health issues which are related to the use of digital communication for adolescents.

The second effects of electronic devices on young adolescents are social issues. It could also be divided into two sections, regarding defective social abilities and escalated social segregation. Firstly, decrease social skills in society is the first social difficult which these youths could encounter. For example, suppose that teenagers spend a great deal of time on cellular phones or laptops, consequently, it is predictable that they might be the lack of social experience and even have impoverished relationships among their social circle because they do not actively socialise with other young people. Secondly, social isolation from society is the second social problem if teenagers continue using digital media for a long time. Some scientists have pointed out that several factors that mental problems from these young adults could ultimately gender social segregation. For example, Fitzpatrick, Pagani & Barnett (as cited in Rosen et al., 2014, p. 365) state that “the negative impacts of violent media content predicted antisocial behaviour, inattention, and emotional distress among Canadian school children in second grade.” Furthermore, in some the worst conditions, this can happen to early childhood development, prolonged screen time of electronic media may generate behavioural and emotional problems, including aggression, victimisation, social isolation, reduced prosocial behaviour. (Parkes, Sweeting, Wight, & Henderson, 2013, p. 341). So, ruined social relationship and disconnection from society are two social issues of effects of electronic devices on adolescents.

However, not all the effects of electronic communication are negative. Interactive media has also enhanced the quality of educational technology in teenagers’ education system. Two valuable learning methods have replaced the traditional teaching approaches by utilising electronic technologies, such as computer software and the internet to achieve educational purposes more effectively. The first remarkable educational Impact on adolescents is synchronous e-learning, which means to build a real-time and virtual environment for students to participate their classes through online video seminar or instant chat on the internet (Bower, Dalgarno, Kennedy, Lee, & Kenney, 2015, p.15). For instance, Skype is one of the most popular telecommunications applications. It provides video conference and instant messages which could be a substitute for a real school. On top of that, it can also exchange digital documents, such as pictures, texts, and videos which replaced conventional paper textbooks too. The second advantageous effect is asynchronous e-learning which indicates that using technologies, such as message boards, videos, audios, emails, e-documents, blogs and websites to present students’ academic performances. Asynchronous e-learning is extremely worthy and it has been defined as a personalised learning tool (Lorenzo & Ittelson, 2005, p.3) because it gives learners a chance to finish their assignments in any place and within a flexible timetable. Thus, synchronous and asynchronous e-learning are two serviceable educational effects of interactive media for youths.

In conclusion, the essay has addressed two major defective impacts, in terms of health issues and social obstacles, and one beneficial effects, regarding education. Although most of the impacts of digital implements on adolescents are pessimistic, however, the educational results of it are relatively optimistic. In consequence, using digital media have both negative and positive impacts on young adults. Since it seems unlikely to moderate the high-speed technological progress of revolutionary innovation, therefore, it is of paramount importance that educational experts should keep finding valuable solutions to help young generation using electronic devices accurately.

References

Arora, T., Hosseini‐Araghi, M., Bishop, J., Yao, G. L., Thomas, G. N., & Taheri, S.(2013) The complexity of obesity in UK adolescents: relationships with quantity and type of technology, sleep duration and quality, academic performance and aspiration. Pediatric Obesity, 8(5), 358-366. doi: 10.1111/j.2047-6310.2012.00119.x

Bower, M., Dalgarno, B., Kennedy, G.E., Lee, M.J.W., Kenney, J. (2015) Design and implementation factors in blended synchronous learning environments: Outcomes from a cross-case analysis. Computers & Education, 86, 1-17. doi: 10.1016/j.compedu.2015.03.006

Fitzpatrick, C., Pagani, L. S., & Barnett, T. A. (2012) Early childhood television viewing predicts explosive leg strength and waist circumference by middle childhood. International Journal of Behavioral Nutrition and Physical Activity, 9(1), 87-92. doi: 10.1186/1479-5868-9-87

Lorenzo, G., & Ittelson, J. (2005) An overview of e-portfolios. EDUCASE Learning Initiative. 1-28. Retrieved from http://www.case.edu/artsci/cosi/cspl/documents/eportfolio-Educausedocument.pdf

Martin, K. (2011) Electronic overload: The impact of excessive screen use on child and adolescent health and wellbeing. Department of Sport and Recreation, Perth, Western Australia (2011), 1-13

Parkes, A., Sweeting, H., Wight, D., & Henderson, M. (2013) Do television and electronic games predict children’s psychosocial adjustment? Longitudinal research using the UK Millennium Cohort Study. Archives of Disease in Childhood, 98(5), 341-348. doi: 10.1136/archdischild-2011-301508

Rosen, L.D., Lim, A.F., Felt, J., Carrier, L.M., Cheever, N.A., Lara Ruiz, J.M., … Rokkum, J. (2014) Media and technology use predicts ill-being among children, preteens and teenagers independent of the negative health impacts of exercise and eating habits. Computers in Human Behavior, 35, 364-375. doi: 10.1016/j.chb.2014.01.036

Torsheim, T., Eriksson, L., Schnohr, C. W., Hansen, F., Bjarnason, T.,  Välimaa, R., (2010)
Screen-based activities and physical complaints among adolescents from the Nordic countries. BMC Public Health, 10(1), 324-331. doi: 10.1186/1471-2458-10-324