Issue of November 5, 2017

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Gadgets in our lives

Every time we look around, we see children and adults texting, wearing headset, playing, and taking photographs through their gadgets. They don’t even notice that you are talking to or watching them. Most often, we see them in a group but everybody is busy manipulating their tablets or cell phones. Interactions are between them and their gadgets. These lead the parents, educators, and concerned individuals to a conundrum whether the technological advancements are solutions or a problem that we should give attention to.

An article at @inquirerdotnet stated that the Philippines is No. 1 in the world in terms of time spent on social media. Being No. 1 is a thing we should be proud of. However, in this case, we are number one in using these gadgets or social media in a way it was intended.

There are many advantages of gadgets. They serve as instant dictionaries. Some applications offer pictures and graphics that help illustrate examples. Some have games and interactive programs in all academic subject areas that help increase the student’s interest in learning. They are also very advantageous in social communication. Today, it is very easy to communicate with people away from us. We could easily locate and communicate with anyone we have not seen for a long time.

On the other hand, there are also disadvantages, especially for individuals that lack discipline. More often, as we sit to make our tasks and projects, we cannot concentrate well because we instantly check our email and Facebook accounts. We quickly respond to them until the project is neglected. If this happens to us adults, how much more to children or learners?

In another scenario, as students should be focused on working on their homework or assignments. However, text messages or calls interrupt their concentration. It would then be difficult for a child to keep his mind on the task at hand due to the distractions. Even when they keep their gadgets on silent mode, their minds are on it. Their eyes are always on their gadgets waiting for messages. As a result, their academic performance is affected.

Aside from that, their health is also at stake. Too much exposure to electronic gadgets destroys their sense of sight. It lessens their time for sleep that leads to insomnia and migraine. The next day, they feel weak and their minds wander. It also keeps them from doing physical exercises.

Gadgets tend to affect children’s interaction with the people around them.

Moreover, it is not only the children who are susceptible to such situation; even parents and professionals. Interactions among them are lessened. Instead of telling stories, watching television, and playing with the family members, they are more focused on their gadgets. Parents do not even notice how their children are doing.

As observed, children today are more violent. It is possible that this is due to lack of direct socialization.

The situation will worsen if we don’t do anything about it. We may not prevent technological advancement, but we can do something to help our children and other people, such as managing our time for work, study, and using gadgets. We can make evenings at home gadget-free while members of the family share dinner, share stories, and discuss matters in person.

It may be very idealistic to set such goals, but most of the time, the things we think are very idealistic are the things that encourage us to improve.

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