hank you very much to everyone who submitted an entry to Competition 12: Leisure and Technological Change! You can see some of the winning entries below.
1st place (Year 10): Fatima I.
Fatima’s winning entry
Rise of the Planet of Tech.
Wake up, Twitter. School, Teams. Free time, Netflix. Today’s generation is like no other for one fundamental reason, the way we communicate to others, the way we learn, live, has all been heavily impacted by the vast expansion of the digital economy.
My day starts with my thumb, scrolling across a small glowing screen. I may be getting late for my virtual school but the posts I’m reading just seem to be getting more and more relatable. It’s not only me though, there is a 43% increase of 16-24-year-olds spending more time on SNS platforms during COVID-19 times. Despite social media being a means of communication for people, an ‘escape’ from reality, a means to promote your business, spread positivity and awareness over social issues (e.g., the BLM movement), it can be used wrongly, to cyberbully anomalously. Its ‘artificial’ nature has formed the harsh, unnecessary beauty standards and belief our lives must always be ‘perfect’, deteriorating the lives of young people especially. Additionally, its advanced algorithms mean that many are wasting valuable time, most of the time reading and believing fake news, one of our biggest issues. Fake news can spread to a lot of people instantly, influencing our thoughts which can be dangerous as over half of the world’s population uses social media. From a neurological perspective, social media affects different brain functions in unique ways. It contains many combinations of stimuli that can trigger different reactions, and because of this, social media’s effects on the brain appear in a variety of ways.
Sitting at home, learning virtually, but am I really learning anything? The poor bandwidth, eye strains and phone right next to me aren’t making things better. The benefit of e-learning is the ability to use search engines to research further into subjects or understand concepts better. It is also easier to find opportunities such as work experience and lectures to enrich studies due to the high growth and adoption in education technology, with global EdTech investments reaching $18.66 billion (2019) and the overall market for online education projected to reach $350 Billion by 2025 for language apps, video conferences, e-learning software etc. Multitasking was a prominent skill I was able to improve yet my soft skills haven’t developed much. The lack of communication (due to environmental changes) has been unfavourable to the billions of students globally.
After a strenuous day sitting in one place at a screen, I proceed to do the same thing for the next few hours. An American study states children spend 35% less time playing outside freely than their parents did. Dr Peter Gray, research psychology professor, said: “When children have adequate freedom and time to play, they develop all of the basic skills that human beings everywhere must acquire: physical, social, emotional, constructive skills, creativity and logic.” This means children nowadays, due to online entertainment becoming prominent, are lacking in indispensable skills and more importantly, a childhood.
The advancing digital economy can help this generation soar, and plummet.