“All these gadgets, the phone and the computer, they expose the inside of your brain in a way that’s bad.” Michel Gondry
Advancement in technology and communication has resulted in numerous gadgets. Every second a new gadget is being introduced in the consumer market. People have come to a point where they cannot live without these gadgets. As a result, gadget addiction has become a serious problem in the world especially among the youth. Gadget addiction is enjoying a particular activity very much such as laptops, IPods and Play Station and spending as much time as possible doing it (Oxford English Dictionary, 2012).
Today, it is difficult to imagine a modern teenager without a mobile phone or any other gadgets. The worrying research found that 97 per cent of 11 to 16-year-olds owns a mobile phone — eight per cent more than the percentage of adults who own one (Dr. Emma Bond, 2009). Gadget addiction is caused by the desire to get more freedom and the attraction of the gadget applications.
Subsequently, this addiction may cause unhealthy lifestyle among teenagers and affect their academic performance. The first cause for gadget addiction among youth is the desire to get more freedom.
Why Teens are Attracted to Video Games
The reason for this situation is video games provide a window to another world, where the person playing the games holds all the power and decides the fate of all the virtual lives. This is in contrast to the real world which is full of stress, failure, bullying and conflicts. In other words, freedom that comes from the video games helps teens feel more powerful and confident. Now we are living in a new millennium where 97 percent of children aged 12 to 18 would prefer to play videogames on laptop, Play Stations or Gameboy. Research has found that 41percent of people who play online video games admitted that they played computer games as an escape from the real world (Hussain, 2009). Example of the video games that provide the youth with more freedom are fighting games like Mortal Combat, action games like Counter Strike and simulation games like The Sims. It can be concluded that playing video games with gadget often appear harmless, but they can be very damaging to children and teens that are lacking in self-control. Another reason for this problem is youth are attracted to the gadget applications.
The youth are attracted to the sound, graphics, pictures, animations and also how the applications are used which is available in games and social networks. Most of the youth prefer to the gadget applications that is related to communications such as Facebook, Twitter, Skype and Yahoo mail. This is because, social networks are an easier way to share what they think and feel. This is contrast with the real world where their voice is ignored by the others especially elders. Furthermore, they also feel more comfortable to express what they think without the need to be face to face with each other. Besides that, they also like to spend their time playing online games. According to Liz Thomas, (2011), youngsters now spend an average of one hour and 50 minutes online and two hours 40 minutes in front of the television every day. Normally, sounds that had been used in the applications are appropriate and comply with the youth.
The graphics and animations also attract the youth to keep playing those games. In other words, these applications have its attraction that can cause the youngsters to become addicted to gadgets. Gadget addiction also brings the negative effects. One of them is it can affect lifestyle and health among the youth. Majority of youth that spend long hours in front of their computers are unaware they are victims of bad posture, seizures, neck pain and repetitive injury. Dr. Craig Kasper, Director of audiology at the New York Otolaryngology Group, warns that these devices can also cause ear damage if used improperly. Moreover, obesity is also one of the effects of this problem. Prolonged use will contribute to inactive lifestyle. Individuals that are addicted to social networks are rarely unaware about their intake of snacks and carbonate drink. Besides that, they also did not do exercise and do outdoor activities. Next, youth who are addicted to the gadgets will also experience the radiation impact namely electromagnetic-radiation source held near the brain.
Research has found that cell phone technology hurts teenagers worse than adults. “What the horrified researchers saw on their monitors was deep penetration of cell phone microwave radiation into soft brain tissue” (Put This in Your Ear and Light It, 2005). All in all, this has shown how gadgets addiction can lead to unhealthy lifestyle and health. Gadgets addiction among the youth also may impact in their academic performance. Many of them fail in examinations because they spent a lot of their times with the gadgets. Furthermore, youth also use their scholarship to buy the latest gadgets instead of academic books. Thus, they are unable to do revision. Besides that, youth also use improper language in the communication networks like short forms. As a result, it has become a habit either in their daily life or learning process. The study by Pew Internet (2008) has proven that 50 percent of the students use informal slang in their assignments. Another, 38 percent admit they used shortenings in their schoolwork like ‘LOL’, which stands for ‘laugh out loud”.
Moreover, there are also students who use a phone to search the Internet during test to find answers. This situation has a very negative effect on a student, his mates and test results of other students (Parker, 2006). In addition, youth also use their gadget for entertainment purpose including porno services and violent games. This may lead to harmful effects and bad behaviour. As a result, this will affect their behavior and concentration in the class. The worst is they also may be expelled from the schools or universities. In a nutshell, gadgets addiction among the youth will impact their academic performances. All in all, the development of technology has negatively impacted our society.
As a result, many of them especially youth have become addicted to the gadgets. Gadget addiction is caused by the desire to get more freedom and the attraction of the gadget applications. Subsequently, this addiction may cause unhealthy lifestyle among teenagers and affect their academic performance. Nevertheless, parents and government should take measures protecting teenagers from unpleasant consequences. For example, parents should explain to their children these gadgets can cause health problem. Government should take actions by organized a campaign to increase the teenagers’ awareness about the bad effects of gadgets. Everyone must take a steps to prevent this problem from becoming serious.