Put down your phone and pick up a book.


Cortnie Hulse

Books are slowly being replaced by electronics

Cortnie Hulse, Reporter

Electronics are strongly affecting how teens think, and they are changing how they spend their time.  According to a study done by the American Psychological Association, less than 20 percent of teens read daily for pleasure. This means 80 percent of teens use social media every day. “American teenagers spend an ‘astounding’ nine hours a day with digital technology, entertaining themselves with streaming video, listening to music and playing games,” states wvea.org, “and ‘tweens’ aged eight to 12 are spending six hours with media.” At this age, teens’ brains are still developing, and this much electronic usage is strongly affecting how teens think in their daily lives.

Teenagers now usually send or receive a message every several minutes. In Nicholas Carr’s bestselling book, The Shallows, Psychotherapist Michael Hausauer noted that teens have an extreme interest in always knowing what is happening in their lives. That interest is usually coupled with the fear of being “out of the loop” or becoming invisible if they stop sending messages. This leaves them constantly on their electronics. Some teenagers don’t even put them down for dinner, which is unhealthy for a family relationship.

This newer generation is mostly focused on what people online think about them, and not as focused on a pleasant world reading brings to a reader. It’s deeply important teens take a break from their social media sites, and spend time in activities that bring healthy creativity, like books. In Carr’s book, he also writes that “Our brains turn into a simple signal-processing unit, quickly shepherding information into consciousness and then back out again.” When people are on electronics, they are constantly distracted with new things on their screens. They don’t have the time to deeply process what they are seeing. This prevents their brain from thinking “deeply or creatively” and they are no longer able to think consciously or unconsciously in a way that benefits the person.

Carr continues by writing about a 2005 interview with Michael Merzenich. In this interview, Merzenich states that electronics “heavy use has neurological consequences.” It is literally changing the way our brains work, and it is unhealthy for a young mind in high school to be constantly focused on the electronic world. They are changing our world in a fantastically-horrible way.

Cortnie Hulse