Addiction to the Internet or Just Another Part of Life?

Astrid Ressler
Staff Writer

The so-called Millennial generation has an addiction to technology and the Internet. As members of this generation, we’ve heard it all before. But how true is that statement?

“What’s a book?” asked former late night television host Craig Ferguson. “It’s a long, papery blog,” he said, answering himself. Laughter and applause naturally came from the audience, but is it actually humorous or cause for alarm?

With the World Wide Web infiltrating homes in the late 1990s and cell phones finding their niche right after the turn of the millennium, most of the students on campus and most young people in developed countries have never experienced life without these resources. It is hard for many of us to imagine not being able to simply Google an answer for our homework or e-mail a professor with questions about class. Not many (or any) of us have ever used a typewriter to type an essay for class, or going further back, had to handwrite a research paper for a grade.

Any technology that helps make the lives of people easier is always good, right? Not always.

English student John DiCorato explains that he believes technology and especially social media “increase anxiety and mental health issues in young people—fear of missing out.”

At every opportunity, young people are stereotypically seen with their noses pressed right against the screens of their cell phones. Between sending and receiving text messages in class or browsing Facebook while in a lecture, what relief does that offer?

The anxiety that comes from having a professor ask his students to put their phones away during class could potentially hinder a student from learning because their brain is more focused on what they could be missing out on online. Does that not sound like addiction?

On SUNY Oneonta’s campus, Biology major Kelly Sawyer has noticed “the amount of times in a week when a person walking across campus or to the dining hall will need to move out of the way for someone else who is looking down at their phone and not watching where they are walking.”

Everyone who owns a cell phone is guilty at one point or another of typing or reading a text message while walking and not realizing where they are going or what is ahead of them. Technology definitely has the ability to stunt a person’s own growth in the real world.

How did the generation that grew up before the Internet and cell phones even survive?

The Millennial generation is not known for their perfect penmanship or eloquent language. So many young people prefer sending a text message rather than talking on the phone, and would choose to text doctors and pharmacists instead of calling them to make appointments or to refill prescriptions. A lot of young people don’t know how to fill out a paper check or balance a checkbook.

What does that say about them? Are these things, which were once considered common knowledge, simply the result of changing times?

Or is this perhaps a real, generation-wide concern that needs to be addressed?

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