Nadine Leffler
Photos Editor

It’s apparent everywhere, from the awkward couple at Alta texting people instead of talking to each other, from the student rushing through the hallways with their heads bent over their iPhone screens and the teenager snapchatting in their cars at stoplights—our generation is highly addicted to technology.  

This dependence on our  iPhones, our Droids, and our laptops, is inhibiting our generation from developing proper social skills, as in every “ awkward situation” we resort to checking Instagram, drafting fake texts, sending a tweet, doing basically anything to avoid a potentially uncomfortable conversation or any lapse in interaction.  This dependence upon technology is teaching us that in every spare second we have, we must stay updated upon where our peers are, what they’re doing, and who they’re with.  We become obsessed with how many people like our statuses, favorite our tweets, and follow us on Instagram.  While I must admit, it feels extremely validating to break a hundred likes on an Instagram post, this is by no way a measure of my worth in society.  Today we mistake friends on Facebook for friends in real life and likes on Instagram for personal validation   

Not only is technology, readily-available at our fingertips and all times, inhibiting our social skills, it is ruining our intelligence.

“ Lyke omg i cnt evn..r u srs tbh lol im smh.” 

Text talk is slowly but surely integrating itself into our everyday vocabularies.  “OMG” is said aloud on the daily and in fact, was added to the Webster’s Dictionary this past year.  Someone might say “ily” aloud to a friend as they depart.  Every day, our peers draft nearly-illiterate tweets.  We LOL at unintelligent text posts on Tumblr.  It appears that using less syllables, misspelled words, and an ever-growing array of acronyms, is becoming the trend.  Punctuation is rarely used.  Our generation is dumbing itself down for the sake of seeming cool. 

Not only are our conversational skills lacking but the Internet and technology is deteriorating our own capabilities of free thinking.

Teens prevent themselves from developing their own thoughts by the overuse of Google or Sparknotes.  If ever faced with a question, it’s a common thing to utter the phrase “Oh hold on, I’ll just Google that.”  And if a teen is ill-prepared for a test on a book, or looking for something smart to say in a Socratic Seminar, its straight to Sparknotes.  While these tools are helpful and even vital to the learning process, the over-reliance upon these technological search engines is inhibiting our own abilities to learn.  It promotes laziness and closed-mindedness. 

Another way technology inspires lethargy is the culture of the Internet .  The internet represents and promotes teenage opposition to school.  It’s extremely common to see in our Tumblr dashboards and our Twitter Feeds texts posts against school; bragging about procrastination, hating on homework, advocating the burning down of schools, or a very extreme tweet I encountered in my news feed: “can someone kill me so I don’t have to go to school today?” 

In combination to the support of dumbing ourselves down and the rage against all things school-related, technology is a huge distraction, and aid for procrastination.

Students at Newport Harbor are not immune to this and are in fact, heavily prone to this.  On the daily, peers tweet complaints like “I should hide my phone while I study #cantfocus” or “if I didn’t have a phone I would get to much more sleep #letsbereal” 

Undeniably, technology drastically distracts the Newport Harbor student body from their studies.  In a survey taken by the Beacon on May 29th of this year, the average Newport Harbor student wastes 4.2 hours using social media like Instagram, Twitter, Tumblr, or Facebook. 

While it’s easy to feel like you’re missing out on the social hype on the internet, while it’s much easier to skim the Sparknotes summary of a book rather than truly reading it, it’s okay to take a big step back from your phone, from your computer, or from your laptop.  In the long run, your social skills, your education, and you personality is at stake.  It’s best to connect with the people surrounding you in real like than those in your screen.

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