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Eleven-year-old: Electronics and the Internet are ruining my generation

… a very astute analysis

From the mouths of babes, the adage goes.

That is definitely the case of Julienne Vincente of San Diego who as an 11-year-old middle schooler wrote a few years ago that she perceived how much damage her generation's reliance of technology was causing.

Over the past 15 years, and possibly much longer, American youth have engaged in the use of electronics that many experts are now warning against on many levels.

These include everything from cell phones to iPads to laptops to calculators.

Young Miss Vincente is right on so many levels herself with her analysis.

Criticism of the Internet

The young middle schooler wrote in 2019 that she realized that her generation was in a problematic place because the young people were not using their brains, instead substituting electronics for too many efforts.

She begins her essay this way,

I grew up hearing, "Figure it out, but don't look it up." I could use this advice when I'm tempted to turn to a search engine for answers. Should all of us limit our use of technology?

Nicholas Carr, the author of "The Shallows: What the Internet Is Doing to Our Brains," says that we should take some time away from screens. According to Carr, "Deep thinking, brain scientists have discovered, happens only when our minds are calm and attentive."

It is difficult to focus while using the Internet. On top of all the distracting notifications and advertisements, there's also the tendency to start surfing on websites from one topic to another.

I know what it's like to look up a question and end up skimming through unrelated information. Some people might not even notice when they start mindlessly scrolling and clicking. Our digital generation uses the Internet as a second brain.

Julienne Vicente, “Is the Internet teaching young people not

to think?” Newsela, May 19, 2019

What is intriguing about young Miss Vicente is that she writes this as a college student would, citing professionals to support her position.

Does the Internet make “it too easy”?

The young author acknowledges that the World Wide Web has significant advantages, if it is kept in proper perspective,

Everyone knows that the Internet makes problem-solving easier, but is it too easy?

David Price, a guest blogger on a website called techaddiction, says that teaching may be getting easier with Google because parents can now use the Internet to help with their kids' homework. This led me to think about how schools make us memorize facts and equations even though we have apps to solve problems.

Why should people have to remember all that when they could turn to Google instead? We have to at least attempt to use our minds for problem-solving so we don't forget how to do so.

If we always turn to technology for answers, we'll never learn anything on our own.

Julienne Vicente, Newsela, May 19, 2019

That is an excellent assessment. If student learning comes down to copy and pasting material from the Internet, are they learning to think or just regurgitating information without placing it in any kind of educational context?

Should we also take calculators away?

To place her argument in context, she used a great analogy,

An example is when my class had a math test and we were allowed to use calculators. Most of us used it at every opportunity even though everyone in that room was capable of solving each problem.

The Internet is like that because we know the answers to many of the questions we search. We use technology because we can get the answers and don't want to be wrong.

Julienne Vicente, Newsela, May 19, 2019

Should young people be using calculators or doing their calculations the old-fashioned way: In their heads?

Technology has advantages, but …

While the young lady acknowledges that the use of electronics on any level has many benefits, she ends this way,

I understand that the problems with technology are only when it is used in a certain way, but the positives of technology don't erase the negatives. We can delete or use fewer of those apps that won't help us improve.

I'm convinced that technology is not as unproductive as many people say. However, it's not the solution to every problem.

Julienne Vicente, Newsela, May 19, 2019

This young lady has given us some tremendous food for thought. Perhaps we adults should start taking her advice seriously.

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