University of Chicago
Type of paper: Thesis/Dissertation Chapter
Technology’s Negative Effects on Society
In the past 20 years people have become more and more dependent on technology as time goes on. Computers were invented, and we use them for almost everything, in fact almost every job in the united states requires the use of a computer. With computers comes the internet as well, no longer do students have to research in libraries, or even go to class for that matter. Why? It’s all online. We also have cell phones, and the more recent invention of the smart phone. Smart phones have almost become a permanent part of people’s lives, some people even claim that they cannot live without theirs. Some would say that as a society we have become almost overly dependent upon technology. Others would even go on to say that our dependency upon technology has caused huge repercussions on our society.
The United States has become so dependent on technology, to the point where it has become a major problem. Some say that technology has made people become overly lazy. Instead of picking up a dictionary or an encyclopedia someone can easily open up their laptop or turn on their smart phone and instantly figure out their questions through Google, Bing, or some other search engine. Instead of sending someone a letter, or calling them on the phone at home one can be instantly connected to the person they are trying to reach, all they have to do is send them a text, email, or call them on their cell phone. There is also the fact that you do not really have to leave the house to be entertained anymore either. Why go out and socialize when one can access everything at home? People can do almost all their shopping right at their home computer and receive it in the mail within the next day if they wish. With the advances technology has made in the last few years, people can now easily access millions of movies and TV shows with a click of a button, we have endless cable channels and services such as Netflix, Amazon, and Red Box. With all of these convenient services right at their fingertips, it is easy for society to become lazy.
Technology is not only making society lazy, it has also caused many American jobs to be lost. As technology progresses and develops, more and more jobs are being replaced by machines. According the New York Daily News website, more than 1.1 million secretaries lost their jobs to technology from 2000
and 2010, being replaced by software that lets employers do a secretary’s job so easily that they would have no need for one any longer. However, it is true that technology does create jobs, but it by no means keeps up with the ones it is eliminating. The New York Daily News website also tells us that in Europe most Human Resources Jobs are being replaced by technology as well. Now, it is up to employees to be their own HR person since most of it is now automated. Technology might be a great tool to have, but is it really worth the harm it can have on our economy?
On that note, some jobs could not even survive without technology, such as an engineer, architect, scientist, and countless others. What would happen if suddenly we had a freak power outage? Would society be able to move forward and prosper after relying on technology for so long? Many people would not know how to do their job without their computer. Computers are a great tool to use, they help us simplify tasks and even answer our questions with a simple Google search, however we should not rely on them so heavily to the point where we would not know how to live if they were to one day vanish.
I am in no way saying technology is a bad thing whatsoever, but it has its drawbacks. For example, we are already seeing issues with social interaction. Many children and teenagers are being raised in a society where we no longer have to speak face to face. We have thousands of social networking sites that allow us to create profiles of ourselves and talk to friends and family right from our home computer or smart phone. Some even meet new people that they would have never met if it wasn’t for the internet, however this can cause catastrophic problems as well. For instance, if you meet someone through any type of social networking site, you might think you are talking to a 30 year old male that has a great career, and lives not too far away, however in reality, you could be talking to anyone. They could be 90 years old and live over seas; you would never know because it is all through the internet, and not face to face. This can be dangerous if someone is not careful, especially through dating websites. Even websites such as Craigslist can prove to be deathly. Richard Beasley, “the Craigslist Killer” killed three men by putting up fake job postings
through Craigslist. This goes to show that the internet might be useful, yes, but can be deathly if one is not careful.
Another major issue with the internet is hacking and identity theft. Millions of people today store their private information on their computers including: bank account information, social security numbers, credit card numbers, passwords, and even personal pictures and videos. Computers are a great tool to use to store this information because you don’t have to worry about losing it, however, it is also incredibly dangerous as well. The NBC News website reported that in 2012 there were 12.2 million victims of identity theft, the article goes on to say that this high rise in identity theft is due to numerous internet and computer hackers. Every year the number is getting higher than the previous, this just goes to show that people should use extreme caution when putting any of their vital personal information on their computer and especially the internet.
Computer hacking and identity theft is not our only problem with our ever developing technological society, there has also been talk with how much of a negative effect that technology has on our children. Some say that we are teaching children to become dependent upon technology, with this I have to agree. Children are being raised to rely on technology for almost everything, it is how they learn to read, to write, learn their colors and numbers, almost everything that a child can learn can be taught through some type of computer. Schools are integrating tablets into more and more schools everyday. Even my own three year old nephew learns through his leap frog tablet. I do understand the appeal of learning through computers, it is more interactive for children and can hold their attention longer than a teacher most likely could, however, this in turn might create irreversible effects on our new generation. Instead of going outside to play, they might rather sit in front of their computer or TV. Some would say we are almost conditioning children to rely on technology for everything. Most don’t know how to do simple multiplication or division without a calculator; others don’t know how to spell simple words, instead they rely on spell check. This is becoming a bigger and bigger problem as technology develops. What will happen when technology progresses so much that we learn to rely upon it
for everything? Will we still be able to do things for ourselves?
We also have to take into account the negative effects that new technology has on the education system. Everyday high school and middle school children are finding new ways to cheat. Students have always found ways to cheat, but with ever expanding technology, it is becoming easier for them everyday. According to Common Sense Media, more than 35% of students have admitted to using just their cell phones to cheat, 52% said that they have cheated by using the internet, 38% admitted to copying text straight from a website, and turning it in as their own. These statistics are almost scary, how many students truly learn anything at school? With the internet it makes cheating so much more tempting for students. I am not saying that cheating never existed before, but with cell phones and computers it makes it easier for students to cheat than ever before.
Technology is a great tool, but that is all it should be, a tool. We have learned to rely upon it so much that our society has started to bear negative consequences because of it. We are getting lazy, losing jobs, creating problems with social interaction, and threatening our individual identities and privacy, all due to technology. Even our children and students are becoming too reliant on technology. I am in no way saying that the use of modern technology is a bad thing. It is a great thing to have, and makes our lives so much more simpler and convenient. I go everywhere with my computer, but I know that if I lost it, I would still know how to do tasks without it. Perhaps we shouldn’t rely upon technology so heavily as we do now, if we continue on the path set out for us we might never be able to live without technology again.