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Tess Harkin Headshot

Technology and Teens: The Newest Power Couple

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Technology is something that has become fully integrated in society with great speed. However, the use of it is still met with petty qualms on the daily. People argue that technology is ruining communication, that it's undermining the art of an in person conversation, and I'm sure we've all heard an adult say something along the lines of "Back in my day..." followed by a negative statement about how technology is ruining America. It certainly doesn't help that obesity rates seem to have increased alongside the use of technology, and that Internet addiction is now a real thing. It's almost too easy to agree with the majority and think, "People are right, technology is destroying the human connection." But I think just the opposite.

Technology brings people together. Shocking, I know? It sounds like some crazy marketing ploy, and many commercials support that. But the fact is, it's the truth.

I can talk to one of my friends in California, Canada or Taiwan with the touch of a button. Technology has helped me forge lifelong connection with people I would have lost touch with ordinarily. I can say I talk to more people now, whether it be through Facebook, texting or tweeting, than I did three years ago. And for the argument that nothing compares to face-to-face conversation? I'd love to engage and be a part of that, but the fact of the matter is, without Skype or Google Hangouts, I wouldn't be able talk to a large portion of my friends. I'm not trying to advocate for technology to replace all forms of in person conversation, I'm just trying to suggest the stigma attached to it isn't necessarily just.

One of the greatest arguments I have in favor of disproving stereotypes attached to technology is in my school, and within one class specifically. Having a jock, a punk rocker, a straight A student and a dancer all together in one room laughing, collaborating and creating sounds strangely similar to the plot of The Breakfast Club. But it's just my video production class. There's 12 other extremely different and diverse students in there with me, and to be honest, we don't have very much in common. But that hasn't stopped us from practically becoming a family. What is the common thread, uniting us? Funny you should ask. Technology. Working together with cameras and computers and all other sorts of gizmos and gadgets has linked us together in the best (and sometimes weirdest) way. Technology didn't push apart, it brought us closer together.

As I mentioned before, I'm not trying to suggest technology as a means to replace all personal communication. I'm merely proposing the idea that there's more value to digital connections than most people think there is. So next time you're on your phone and your parents roll their eyes and open their mouths, try to convince them of the benefit of that piece of plastic in your hands. And then make a date to see a friend in person.