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Potential ‘dark sides’ of leisure technology use in youth
Turel O.  Communications of the ACM 62 (3): 24-27, 2019. Type: Article
Date Reviewed: Nov 18 2019

New computing technologies may sometimes adversely affect young users. What is the undesirable result of too much unrestrained computing on adolescents? Turel presents some investigative results of technology’s impact on teenagers.

In an effort to identify trends in technology use, Turel analyzes data from teenagers surveyed at hundreds of US schools. The data analysis focuses on 1) trends in technology use for schoolwork and leisure, 2) the impact of technology on healthy routines and social events, and 3) youth perceptions of self-esteem and welfare. The analysis investigates the relationships between Internet use and youth participation in social activities and schoolwork. The correlation algorithms used in the analysis are questionable given the almost perfect linear trends in the displayed data. Perhaps the author used parametric correlation algorithms instead of nonparametric algorithms to investigate these relationships. Statisticians should review this further.

The survey results reveal that adolescents are significantly more likely to use computing technologies for leisure rather than school tasks; the regularity of youths partaking in breakfast, exercise, and adequate sleep is deteriorating; the rate of adolescents dating, socializing, and meeting friends is waning; and levels of self-worth and well-being are fading.

Not surprising given the questionable analysis, the associations between Internet use and social activities and schoolwork are nearly zero. Despite the debatable data analysis and results, the author clearly echoes the urgent need for parents and schools to be more proactive in reducing the negative influences of emerging computing technologies on children.

Reviewer:  Amos Olagunju Review #: CR146777 (2003-0058)
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