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April Hamilton
Professor Lohmeyer
English Comp. 101
11/27/16

Healthy Decisions?
In 2017, the Iphone 8 is predicted to be better than ever before with new features that no other
phone has ever had. What runs through your mind? Perhaps you are excited for wireless charging. It could
be you feel frustrated. Maybe you just got the Iphone 7 and are still learning the new features on that. As
technology updates and changes, our thoughts as well as the way we respond, are affected. Technology is
affecting the thought process of teenagers, as well as their mental health, resulting in having depression
and anxiety.

In todays society, people are discussing whether recent technology is warping a humans
mind to not think for themselves. Nicholas Carr mentions this by how our brains thought
process has changed. Carr states, Never has a communications system played so many roles in
our livesor exerted such broad influence over our thoughtsas the Internet does today, (Carr
321). In making this comment, Carr argues how technology is used in so many aspects of our
lives. Others believe that humans and technology working together allow us to go further and
learn what we once thought was impossible. Clive Thompson agrees with this thought and feels
that having this new window of opportunity is creating a positive effect on our mind and how we
think. Thompson mentions, Our social awareness is shifting, too, as we develop ESP-like
ambient awareness, a persistent sense of what others are doing and thinking, (Thompson
352). Basically, Thompson is saying that being able to know what other people are doing and

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thinking can expand our own thoughts to create new ideas and make decisions for ourselves.
Through technology we are not being able to think for ourselves, which can make people see
only one option to be successful, smart, or beautiful. This can cause a person to become mentally
unstable causing depression. Being able to expand our knowledge with technology can be very
useful but also dangerous, as it can cause a person to become addicted and have anxiety when
they dont have this technology at their fingertips all the time. The concerns of how technology is
affecting our brains mentally was mentioned multiple times, but writers have failed to further
explain how technology can cause us to become depressed or have anxiety through our thoughts.
If we are right about technology warping a humans mind to not think for themselves, then major
consequences follow for young adults and teenagers.
Technology can influence a humans way of thinking negatively. In Carrs essay he has
talked with other people to hear their thoughts. Carr brings forward the point of what Marshall
McLuhan states, Media are not just passive channels of information, (Carr 315). In a simpler
thought McLuhan is saying that technology is not just teaching us general facts and information,
but as well as new ways to think whether for better or worse. Carr goes into further detail about
McLuhans opinion. He states, They supply the stuff of thought, but they also shape the process
of thought. And what the Net seems to be doing is chipping away my capacity for concentration
and contemplation, (Carr 315). In other words, Carr believes that our thought processes are
shaped by technology. I agree with Carr, that our thought process is being affected and shaped by
technology, a point that needs emphasizing since so many people still believe technology is a
helpful tool of todays society. Recognizing to both Carrs and McLuhans opinions, technology
is affecting a humans way of thinking.

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An individuals behavior or attitude is greatly impacted from technology. Thompson


thinks that technology is changing our minds for the better. Thompson states, Weve marveled
at the ability of brain scanningpicturing our brains electrical activity or blood flowto
provide new clues as to what parts of the brain are linked to our behaviors, (Thompson 354). He
believes that it is not scientifically proven that technology is causing us to change our behavior.
Changes of our behavior is becoming more familiar because there are different kinds of behavior
forming today. Thompson gives us his own input, New technology pushes us toward new forms
of behavior while nudging us away from older, familiar ones, (Thompson 349). Thompsons
point is that new technology is making old behaviors obsolete. On one hand, I agree with
Thompson that behavior changes could have a scientific component. But on the other hand, I
insist that behavior changes are also linked another way, like through technology. Technology
can affect a change in a persons attitude or behavior. While I do not deny technology is pushing
us away from our familiar behaviors, it is making new behaviors become our familiar behavior
today. What these new behaviors are, I do not know due to Thompson not going into any further
detail. Reading a message myself, from a friend or family member can change my attitude or
behavior to be happy, sad, or angry. From my own experiences, technology impacts how I
respond to others.
Technology disrupts a persons sleeping patterns which contributes to depression. Many
assume that mental illnesses, like depression, generates poor sleep; however, poor sleep
contributes to depression. David Volpi, an otolaryngology surgeon and author of Wake Up!
Youre Snoring, believes the relationship between technology and depression has to do with the
overuse of technology in society. In Volpis research, he found that late night computer use and
frequently using a computer without breaks, are associated with depressive symptoms in both

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men and women. He also mentions how screen time using technology affects our sleep. Volpi
himself writes, Its been shown that the light from TV and computer screens affects melatonin
production and melanopsin stimulation, and throws off our circadian rhythms, This interrupts or
prevents deep sleep, restorative sleep, causing an increase in stress and depressive symptoms
(Volpi par 6). In making this comment, Volpi urges us to not use technology before we go to
sleep at night due to an increase of symptoms of depression. Mary Carskadon, a philosophy
doctor, also believes technology interrupts sleeping patterns that is contributing to depression and
talks about how light from technology can interfere with our sleep. Carskadon states, Teens
struggling to go to bed early enough and wake up to the alarm should routinely have less or no
light in the evening and more bright light in the morning, (Carskdon par 14). In other words, she
believes that teens are having a hard time going to bed early because of spending time on
technology before they go to bed. Carskadon shares the Sleep Foundations reasoning of why
technology is taking away time from sleep. The Sleep Foundation did a poll of electronic devices
in a teens bedroom. According to the Sleep Foundation, Having 4 or more was associated on
average with 30 minutes less sleep each night, (Carskadon par 10). Basically, Carskadon is
warning that anytime we use technological devices before we go to bed, it is affecting our sleep
pattern. A group, including Carskadon, engaged in an observational evaluation of sleep in high
school students. One of the students, named Susie, received very little sleep due to homework
and extra-curricular activities. Susies parents noticed that she seemed to be unmotivated, sad,
stressed out, often irritable and moody, and her grades were not as well as they once were. After
Susie started seeing a pediatrician, she started taking medication to treat her depression. I agree
because of my own experience, teenagers spend time with technology at night doing homework

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or for their own entertainment. Also the use of technology in the evening can disrupt our sleeping
patterns, causing a person to have depressive symptoms.
Using technology can be a crutch that causes anxiety. Anxiety is the uneasiness of mind
that can be caused by fear of danger. Jim Taylor is an adjunct faculty at the University of San
Francisco. He argues about how technology is creating anxiety. They call this anxiety
disconnectivity anxiety. This can be when a person is at unease because of not having 24/7
connection to technology. Taylor introduces Marc Cooper to his article, agreeing with what
Cooper has to say. Cooper states, This is not just a hobby or an amusement or another
accoutrement, its actually deeply woven into their lives and is integral to their social interaction.
So when its cut off, its a problem, (Taylor par 7). Basically, Cooper is warning us that not
having social interaction through technology is becoming a problem today that is more
commonly found. Also in Taylors article he explains how important technology has become part
of our daily life. In Taylors view:
And make no mistake about it, emerging technology is changing every aspect of our
lives, all based on our ability to obtain information and communicate at lightning speed
24/7: how we see ourselves, how we think, feel, and behave; our social interactions; the
way we do business; how we entertain ourselves. (Taylor par 10)
Taylors point is that technology has changed how we learn, work, entertain, and compare
ourselves. Taylors theory of disconnectivity anxiety is extremely useful because it sheds light on
the growing problem of a persons need of technology. Our brains are wired to think we need
access to technology to socially interact with others. If we dont have this access and are worried

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about it, we most likely have disconnectivity anxiety. Most people dont realize how much
they use technology as a crutch until they no longer have access.
At first glance, teenagers might say technology will not impact their mental health. But
on closer inspection the fast pace of changing technology and its possible repercussions on
mental health is unknown. These findings of changes in thoughts, behaviors, and mental health
pertaining to depression and anxiety, need to be recognized. When the next big technological
advancement occurs, pause, and reflect upon both the positive and negative outcomes it can
personally have on you.

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Citations:
Carr, Nicholas. Is Google Making Us Stupid? They Say/I Say: The Moves that Matter in
Academic Writing with Readings 3rd ed. Ed. Gerald Graff and Cathy Birkenstein. New
York: W. W. Norton & Company, Inc., 2015. 313-329. Print
Carskadon, Mary A. Adolescents and sleep: Why teens cant get enough of a good thing. The
Brown University Child and Adolescent Behavior Letter 25.4 (2009): 1,5-6. Academic
Search Complete. Web. November 20, 2015.
Taylor, Jim. Computer World. Adam Dennison. August 12, 2009. Web. November 20, 2016.
Thompson, Clive. Smarter than You Think: How Technology Is Changing Our Minds for the
Better. They Say/I Say: The Moves that Matter in Academic Writing with Readings 3rd
ed. Ed. Gerald Graff and Cathy Birkenstein. New York: W. W. Norton & Company, Inc.,
2015. 340-360. Print
Volpi, David. Huffingtonpost.com. N.p. October 2, 2012. Web. November 20, 2016.