The Digital Revolution: How It Is Affecting Students

Every year the impact of technology grows more powerful. From the first beepers to the iPhone 5S, it is undeniable that plenty of progress has been made in the way we receive information in a very brief amount of time.

However, these technological advancements are not always a good thing.

It seems that everywhere you go, people are constantly online, especially teenagers, who spend absurd portions of their leisure time on social media websites like Facebook or Tumblr. It is a ravenous epidemic, and it affects their academic performance.

Paolo Peralta ’14, a student who keeps his Facebook tab open all day says, “Like anything else [social media] is good in moderation.”

Arguably, Facebook can be a useful study tool through its abundant amount of homework help groups.

However, Vincent Dennie, an AP American History teacher, notes that his students’ work and writing skills are being negatively impacted by the availability of internet sources.

“There’s increased plagiarism,” Mr. Dennie says, “but catching it has become easier as well […] It’s not just high school—[college] professors deal with these issues too.”

He even mentions that before Facebook, there was at least something instructive about copying another student’s homework by hand, seeing as it forced the plagiarizer to learn at least some information while cheating. Today’s methods of copying and pasting require the bare minimum of effort.

Even if most students are not plagiarizing, there is still concern for the large amounts of time they spend on websites like Facebook.

George Ogorodnik ’15 says, “If I have time, I spend two or three hours on Facebook. […] My friends made me make an account. I think it’s a contagious disease that I have.”

But Facebook is not the only social media website that is spreading a pathogen.

Nicole Retsepter ’15 says, “I spend an average of two hours on Tumblr each day. I would be on it longer if I didn’t have to worry about LAS [Law and Society Major].”

Perhaps having a large workload is a positive reinforcement then, by causing students who are preoccupied with studying to become less prone to getting addicted to social media websites.

So, how will this affect our generation in the long run? If this addiction to social media—and electronics in general—proves to do more harm than good, will we have to shape our education system around it, ultimately abandoning traditional ways of teaching?

It is certainly a possibility, seeing as technology is already being incorporated into classrooms through learning tools such as SMART boards.

Nevertheless, how we face these changes will become crucial to how we view education, and the dispute over the issue is imminent.

Until then, we will just have to try our best to cope and possibly grow a resistance to the omnipresent allure of the digital world.

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