Technology offers benefits — but some pitfalls — for teens

BY ANIEL SHAPIRO, Junior, Block Yeshiva

Cell phones, laptops, and television have revolutionized society. As a result of these technological innovations, people spend more and more time plugged in, especially teenagers. According to Sciencedaily.com, most teenagers spend an average of 20 hours per week in front of computer and television screens, and the numbers continue to increase.

Knowledge of the negative implications of too much technology has become widespread. When teenagers are attached to a computer or television screen, they miss out on physical activities, homework, and spending time with friends and family. In addition, serious technological addiction can cause indirect health problems. “A lot of TV watching can surely cause eye strain and fatigue, particularly for those sitting very close and/or watching from odd angles,” said Dr. Lee Duffner of the American Academy of Ophthalmology. Additionally, the Nemours Foundation’s Kids Health website reports that “children who consistently watch TV more than four hours a day are more likely to be overweight, which in and of itself can bring about health problems later.”

On the other hand, technology has proved to benefit teens. The internet contains an enormous amount of information that can be useful to all people. It has simplified tasks that would have taken much longer to do, like conducting research and sending mail. There is also the advantage of being able to shop for items without ever leaving the house and communicating with people in a matter of seconds. The internet has also become a valuable tool in education. Electronic libraries are essential for many students around the world.

For Jewish teens in particular, there are many useful ways to take advantage of the scope of the internet. Jewish teens can use the internet to find out more information about different Jewish youth groups and events. These groups can help teens connect to Jews from all different places. Additionally, because the internet is a massive source of information, teens can easily find fascinating words of Torah to inspire themselves. On the internet, there is a wealth of information about Jewish traditions and laws. To truly harness the power of technology, Jewish teens should take advantage of all the learning available and spend a little less time with mindless web activities. In this way, the internet can be of important use instead of an interruption in the life of a Jewish teen.

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Technology has a lot to offer to a Jewish teen. Of course, teens must not become consistently distracted by all that the internet and television have to offer. With the right focus and time management, technology can be essential to Jewish teens’ busy lives without consuming too much of their free time.

This article represents the perspective of the author.