Technology: Salvation or destruction?

By Sureya Kurji. Sureya, 15, is a student at Bishop Ramsey school, London, England. Please read her entry and leave your thoughts and comments below. (*Shortlisted for the 2018 prize!)

To me, technology is like any animal or plant. Each company is constantly in competition with the others, working to adapt and evolve to make their product the biggest and shiniest to attract their prey, the prey being us humans. Technology infects us like a virus, it takes over our schools, it invades our own homes and even haunts our dreams with the pinging and the blinking of the screens. In the same way, plants are interdependent on the sunlight to allow them to photosynthesise, we humans have become interdependent on technology craving it the same way we crave our coffee in the morning to wake up. The question is: is our need for technology such a bad thing?

Technology is important. It has become a substantial source for survival, for example its use in schools. As someone who is currently preparing to take their GCSEs I use technology every day. All of my homework is set electronically on one app giving me easy access to all resources required and communication with teachers. I often spend my afternoons online, using websites such as Senecca and Maths Watch to extend my learning. This is not a bad thing. Technology is advancing our knowledge and helping more people to pass their exams every year. Technology is furthering the advancement of the future generation.

While I do spend much of my time online for school reasons, I do admit to a social media addiction. As a teenager Instagram and Snapchat plays an important part of my life. Unfortunately due to my bad choice of phones I only have space for one of those apps and so I went with the path of Snapchat. Wrong choice. The creators of Snapchat are quite clever. The same way games give you a daily reward for logging on every day, Snapchat gives you streaks. If you send a ‘snap’ to your buddy every day and if they send one back (which you have to open) you create a streak with them. This implores people to log on every day to send their snaps, but not just once a day, no. Because you have to open the snaps you receive for the streak to continue, you get users logging on constantly throughout the day, stress building up within if they haven’t received a ‘snap’ back. I know this because it has happened to me, I have urged myself to stay awake before to wait for the ‘snap’ back so we don’t lose our streak because for some reason if I can keep that streak then this gives me a feeling of accomplishment. If I had gone to sleep at a normal time that night then I would not have been so tired at school the next day and I would have listened to the teacher and not lost out on marks on a test the following week. I would have had a sense of accomplishment for getting a good mark.

While technology furthers our education, it knocks us back as well.

Adults often associate teenagers with mobile devices and believe all they use on it is applications such as Snapchat and Instagram, this is not strictly true. As I mentioned previously, we teenagers need our mobile devices for educational applications too for example ‘showmyhomework’ but this is not the only thing teenagers use their phones for.

Youtube is a common app for us young people. Youtube has videos for everybody: gaming tutorials for the video gamers; theories on the latest sci-fi film for the nerds; vines and pranks for anybody in need of entertainment and much more. People can waste hours on Youtube without realising due to the creation of autoplay, I have often said I’ll watch this two minute video and then I’ll start on my homework. Then two hours later as the door slams shut with my mum on the inside, I remove my headphones, hastily, and unhappily look at the huge pile of work I have to do, which should have been half gone by then.

Technological devices are amazing, whether it is a laptop, phone or tablet with one click you have access to everything: yesterday’s X-Factor audition fails; homework set for maths by Mr Smith; the latest fan theory for Avengers 4; Kim Kardashian’s latest Instagram photo or an update on Brexit negotiations. However with one more click you find yourself in a darker place. I have often heard whispers in the shadows of my school. Hushed conversations of cyber bullying, porn and the dark web.

Technology provides us with two worlds. A utopia with endless information, help, support and opportunities but it also provides us with dystopia. A place in which everyone is filled with a craving for likes and comments. A place in which your day disappears with the click of the play button. A place in which reality disappears and teenagers are shown this unrealistic image of sex and drugs, an image which then influences our young people to do the same. A place where weapons can be bought with a click of a button. A place where your future can be destroyed with a click of a button.

I agree with Yunus, there is not a doubt in my mind that technology is important, without it I would not be getting the test results I am getting but if I had some more self-control and let my streaks disappear or if I had the confidence to press the pause button on a Youtube video once in a while. I would not be getting the test results I am getting; I would get better.

Thankfully my eyes have been opened and I am self aware of what I use technology for but a lot of my generation is not and this needs to change. We are the future, but if Apple, Samsung and Google keep throwing bigger, shinier products in our face. Global warming will never be stopped. Elections will turn into a social media contest and more people like Trump will be elected. Poverty will continue and our future will be robots. Children will not know the colour of the sky because no one will look up. Children won’t speak, they’ll grow up texting. Glasses will become cool because a lot more people are going to need them. Our world will not survive. The same way asteroids killed the dinosaurs, technology will destroy the human race if we don’t learn to use it properly.

64 comments on “Technology: Salvation or destruction?

  1. Karima on

    Fabulous work. I work as a nurse and frequently tell my colleagues that in the future our communication between patients and staff will be through texting. Physical presence of the nurse will be only when performing a task. So much for holistic interventions and addressing the social needs of our patients with touch or smile or a human conversation/contact. At the same time I use technology to gain new knowledge of medical conditions and interventions. So see both sides.

    Reply
  2. Shahida on

    Although I have completely embraced technology I have a wee bit of advice specially for the younger generation remember it’s a device not a lifeline be aware of what’s happening around you do not be the walking dead please.

    Reply
    • L on

      Agreed- especially when u see kids walking accross the road looking at their phones instead of traffic :0 it’s a death wish then not a lifeline. I feel like social media has made everyone wanting to be part of the crowd and not wanting to miss out which causes endless time spent on phones.

      Reply
  3. Hannah on

    This is such a sophisticated piece of writing with some very perceptive ideas which fully explore what is happening in everyday life. Thank you for sharing this brilliant piece with us all.

    Reply
  4. L on

    This is such an interesting discussion and great to hear it from the viewpoint of teenagers which is not always broadcast on mainstream media. You write with a lot of sophistication and maturity. A very interesting read.

    Reply
  5. Gill on

    Well written and insightful. I particularly loved the opening section. Balance in life has always been key to our wellbeing and technology is yet another thing for us to use in moderation…but easier said than done.

    Reply
  6. N on

    I enjoyed reading this piece ; definitely lots of food for thought. As a parent of a new Year 7 pupil in a school where mobile devices are supposedly not allowed , i was shocked at how much homework was set by being asked to take a photo of it.

    Reply
  7. RS on

    Thoughtful, perceptive and very well written. I think these issues affect anyone with easy access to the internet (i.e older people too), but those of us who remember life before technology might be affected differently to those who have been born into it.

    I’m going to get my teenage students to read this article in class this week as I think it’s so relevant. They will appreciate it having been written from the point of view of a teenager.

    Reply
  8. James on

    Not really much too say unless I repeat everyone so I’ll keep it brief. Interesting, thought-provoking read which really makes you stop and think. However one thing I will say is…WHAT IS WRONG WITH THE FUTURE OF THE ROBOT AGE?!?! I mean sci-fi anyone? Like Star Wars?

    Reply
  9. Kathleen on

    Lovely piece of writing Sureya
    You have got to the heart of the matter
    We cannot go back but we have to be really careful how we go forwards

    Reply
  10. Nish on

    Great essay Sureya 🙂
    The challenge is a prevalent need for the right balance – everything in moderation.
    Both extremes are destructive now that we live in a digital technological era …
    I read an article recently about Steve Jobs not allowing his own kids the use of mobile gadgets as children…not surprisingly though. Screen time is not all that good for our physical well being- due to all the radiation.

    Reply
  11. Julie on

    This is awesome very well written. I as a teenager often use technology a lot and I very much enjoy it however I do agree with you that a lot of our generation are giving teenagers and technology a bad reputation. For example I do not use my technology for social media predominantly I use it to write and explore new cultures and languages

    Reply
  12. Abid on

    Beautifully narrated, since the turn of the century we humans have been relying on technology. Although the social media side of the technology has been more exploited but it has also streamlined how crimes are reported. We just need to be more smarter and aware when using any technology and weigh the pros over cons. Good work

    Reply
  13. Shamya on

    This is a great article Sureya! I totally agree with your arguments for and against technology. I’ve seen how dependent I’ve become on my certain technologies over time.. social media being one of them. I think that it’s important to point out that these technologies are detrimental to our mental health as well. They may help us be more knowledgeable, and connected as ever, but that comes at a price.

    Reply
  14. Taz on

    I’m part of a generation where computers did not exist in my formative years. We used texts books and journals for research. We used phones to chat with friends. Unfortunately for your generation, the device you use for homework is the same device you use to socialize with and so your generation deals with more distractions than I did. Tough situation to be in.

    Reply
  15. Dev Patel on

    A beautiful piece of work, it’s all about Global Footprint , glad to see young people like you think about this for the future generation. This sort of blogs should come often to inspire the future generation so they will care about the Global environment.
    Amaizing Sureya , great work. Well done

    Reply
  16. Jackie Salmon on

    What an amazing article and how true. Although technology is brilliant and we all rely on it a lot to look up information, it takes take over from aspects of reality and spending quality time with family and friends. It can be intrusive in our life as well as a bonus. I think it is about trying to arrive at a place in which we have a “happy medium”.

    Reply
  17. Farah Kurji on

    This is a really interesting analysis of something that a lot of young people take for granted. It’s good to read such a thoughtful piece of writing that shows maturity of thought. Well done

    Reply
  18. A.n on

    Having just wasted 2 hours on social media , the points you raise are also relevant for the oldies …a well put across and well thought out essay .

    Reply
  19. Gillue stoneham on

    Great insight and communication of lessons learned. We can all benefit from reflecting and considering whether we need to step back from habit. Thankyou.

    Reply
  20. Gillie stoneham on

    Great insight and communication of lessons learned. We can all benefit from reflecting and considering whether we need to step back from habit. Thankyou.

    Reply
  21. Jesenka on

    Wow… great piece… this essay should be read by each and everyone, adults as well as teens. I fully agree with you; the technology is a blessing but a curse at the same time. Well done you!!! I am so proud of you. 😘

    Reply
  22. Charlotte on

    Omg sureya this is amazing. Well done.
    Thank you for sharing this with us and really advising people on the effects of technology.
    I am so proud of you, love you 😘😘🥳🥳

    Reply
  23. Marsha Clark on

    Excellent work Sureya and it’s great that you have realised the negative of these devices and have implemented self control. Unfortunately though not all teenagers are so observant as you. This is an exceptional piece of writing and I’m sure many parents would love to read it. Keep up the great studies 😘😘🤩

    Reply
  24. Terri on

    I thoroughly enjoyed reading this article to see the view of a teenager put so eloquently is reassuring for the future of our world
    Well done young lady xx

    Reply
  25. Nathan on

    Great article.
    There’s a few episodes of Black Mirror that touch on the positives and negatives of technology (admittedly in a slightly darker way),I highly recommend it.

    Reply
  26. K C Chandak on

    Hmm,
    Understanding positive and negative side of technology and putting it on paper by teenage student is remarkable achievement. “Just like glass of Milk is healty but 2 litre of Milk at one time is very hazardous for health” Right use of technology is Amrit and excess use is poison. Well done writer.

    Reply
  27. Andrew Taylor on

    Well-crafted arguments and fluid prose help make this a persuasive and relevant piece.
    The author does well here demonstrating her talent as a writer with a bright future.

    Reply
  28. Faz on

    Thoughtful and intelligent. I am not very teccy and am worried about the impact of young people living their lives online…oversharing and making very public mistakes that will be there forever. It is so nice to read such a mature and thoughtful piece of writing from a young person

    Reply
  29. Felix on

    Sureyka! Have you considered a career in journalism? Seems very fitting with this piece.
    I’d be interested to know what question you would ask next to expand upon this topic.
    I’m proud that you are part of the next generation that will shape our futures! Superb writing.

    Reply
  30. Max on

    I work with young people who are misusing the technology which is putting them at risk and do to read such an article from 15 year old… you have given me a hope for the generation in grow.

    Reply
  31. JO on

    Very interesting piece but I have to agree with some of my predecessors, the future of robots is our salvation and Star Wars is the example of said salvation

    Reply

Leave a Reply to Jackie Salmon Cancel reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Subscribe to our newsletter!