Technology and Cyberbullying: Is Technology Harmful or Beneficial?

Brandon playing on his phone while in class.

Bella Hazlett

Brandon playing on his phone while in class.

Bella Hazlett, Staff Writer

*This is an opinion piece.

Do you think that technology is a distraction and a danger or a useful tool?

Some people believe that electronic devices are distracting, but others believe the opposite.

With all the technology in the world, there’s not as much social interaction as there was in the old days. Kids these days are constantly staring at their screens. They’re oblivious about the world around them. Social media has taken over. People don’t call each other often. Instead, they’re texting or emailing.

Cyberbullying and online stalking is also an issue. There are people with harmful intents out there who want to hurt kids. People act nice so kids can trust them, but they really want to know where you live and what you’re doing. Kids should never give out their personal information online. They have no idea who’s really behind the screen. There are people who create fake accounts and pretend to be someone else. Talking to random people online can be dangerous.  Some people aren’t always who they say they are.

Parents have to check their kids’ phones regularly and look at the apps kids are downloading. Some apps can be for kids, but plenty of apps out there have inappropriate content.

YouTube has plenty of videos, but some videos can be inappropriate for kids as well. Kids never know who a channel owner really is. They may not always know what the person looks like or the person’s age. Kids could be conversing with random people on YouTube in the comments.

Texting is also extremely popular, especially on smartphones. There are texting apps as well. Kik is a texting app, but a lot of teens have to be careful while texting. There are child predators out there. Kids might be texting people they don’t know.

There are also a lot of popular social media sites, such as Instagram, Twitter and Snapchat. Vine is another social media app where people post funny videos and memes. Tumblr is another social media app. It’s a social blogging platform heavily used by teens and young adults. Google Hangouts and WhatsApp are additional social media apps that some kids and teens use also.

These social media apps are useful for texting friends and sending pictures. However, anyone can find pictures on social media, so nobody should post something they don’t want others to see.

However, electronics can also have many advantages as well. For example, electronics can be useful for texting people for an interview. They can be also be used in a safe way by setting electronic policies at home.

“I use Instagram, Snapchat, Pinterest and Twitter,” Chloe Pesa ’20 said in a text. “I do not really have an electronic policy at home. Although, occasionally, if I have been staying up too late, my parents will take my phone for the night so I can get a good night’s rest.”

She also talked about useful ways to use technology.

“Technology can be useful for homework, finding information quickly, directions, communication and photos for memories,” Pesa said. However, she also mentioned the potential drawbacks such as being distracted by technology during class.

“I’ve been caught using my phone in class” she said.

Sai Rayala ’20 also talked about her electronic usage.

“The social media apps that I use the most are Twitter and Instagram,” she said in a text. “I used to use Snapchat a lot but as of recently, I haven’t been using it as much.”

She also talked about her family’s electronic policy.

“There isn’t really an electronic policy at home,” Rayala says. “My parents used to be more strict about my electronics use when I was in middle school. But when I got to high school, they found that I depended a lot on electronics for my studies and homework, so they’re more lax now.”

She also explains about useful ways to use devices.

“I think I definitely use technology in a useful way. For example, all my documents are online on Google Docs. And then of course, I mainly use electronics for the internet which I need for pretty much everything, whether it’s homework or other extracurriculars,” Rayala said.

She also talks about being on her cell phone during class.

“I don’t think I’ve ever been caught for being on my phone during class,” she says. “However, I am guilty for being on my phone during class, but it is usually when all of my work is completed and we’re having a work day in class. I don’t think my phone has ever distracted me from paying attention during class.”

I also interviewed Bella Hohler ’21 about devices.

“I use Snapchat,” she says in a text. “As long as my grades are good and I do my chores, I get to keep my phone and computer.”

She also talked about useful ways to use technology.

“Electronics help me study, and I listen to music to help me focus,” Hohler says. “I’ve been caught on my cell phone before, but I am pretty good about it now. I value school.”

Mrs. Grenier, a vision specialist, has to deal with her kids using technology at home. She also helps kids with vision loss use their technology to get on Facebook like their friends.

“In my house, we monitor what our kids do on their technology. We monitor what they do so they don’t get on inappropriate websites or talk to dangerous people. We also don’t allow technology at dinnertime or bedtime,” Mrs. Grenier said. “I also help people with vision loss use their technology for directions to get where they need to go, to pay their bills, to read their mail and to cook.”

Even my own dad is involved in technology!

He uses Facebook. He doesn’t have an electronic policy. He uses technology for spreadsheets and email. He’s even been caught with his cell phone at work!

Even my mom is involved with technology as well.

“I don’t use social media,” she says in an interview. “My favorite way to use technology is to use a GPS to know where I’m going. I’ve never been caught on my cell phone at work.”

Personally, I have an electronic policy. I can use electronics during the week, but I have to put them away when my mom gets home.

Technology may be distracting, but it can also be useful! It all depends on how you use it.