The computer has become one of the most important and influential luxuries of this generation. Young people use computers every day for school, work, and entertainment. They are the first generation to have become computer literate as early as the onset of adolescence. For most of their lives they have used computers, so it is not surprising that our generation has become highly dependent upon them. Frustration usually occurs when one can not get access to their computer. In college dorms, students get upset when Internet service is down for even an hour.
While off-line, many of these “stranded” students dial in every minute to see if the network is back on-line. Occurrences like these show that this generation can be defined as overly computer dependent. Computers are becoming more of a necessity than ever to higher education. Universities make it clear that computers are crucial for success. This is demonstrated by the ever-growing number of course web pages, and increasing use of student e-mail. Computers also facilitate communication in large lecture halls where sometimes students find it impossible to talk with their professors.
E-mail has become the most efficient way by which teachers and students interact. However, one can argue that e-mail is an artificial substitute for student-teacher contact. After all we did come to college to get an education from superior individuals in their subject area. E-mail seems to defeat the purpose of this idea because anyone can e-mail, but, not everybody can go to a world renowned professors office and have a conversation about the material being discussed in class. Sometimes, entire classes are on a web page. These students need not even go to class, because they know the lecture notes will be on the class web page along with the practice midterms and finals.
The fact that computers make these things easier reinforces the computer owner’s dependence. Furthermore, students no longer have to do research outside of their room. Today, students can do all their research on the web, or through the online library system, which many universities offer. Students who do not own a computer are at a disadvantage because they have to spend added time accessing computers. Living in a college dorm, I have been surrounded by computer junkies for the first time. These users resemble hermits, at times.
However, since computers provide so many conveniences, they live happily within the vicinity of their colored monitor. What is most surprising is the excessive time spent playing computer games. Many friends of mine spend four, sometimes five or more, hours a day playing computer . They skip class and stay up at all times of the night, to play popular computer games, like Star Craft. Even when Friday and Saturday nights come around, these students insist upon staying home in front of their computers rather than going out to the lavish social life that most college students live on weekends.
Unsurprisingly, almost fifteen-percent of my dorm mates are on academic probation. My age group is not the only part of Generation X that has a fixation with Video games. Whether it is kids sneaking in video games during high school computer class or adults downloading the latest games onto their computer while their bosses head is turned X ers turn to video games for a good time. For these individuals, the computer has become the main source of fun and entertainment in their lives.
It seems that, the more time spent playing games, the more dependent they become on the computer for entertainment. Because of their excessive use, these avid computer users find social interaction boring, and, as a result, interpersonal skills decline. This can be harmful, because for most jobs, an interview is required, for which these skills are crucial. Interpersonal skills are used to communicate clearly, skills, which are not learned easily, or quickly, skills that take time to refine.
If a person spends the majority of their time on the computer, time is lost, time which could be used for social interaction. The result is most likely detrimental to the individual’s social development. This generation is beginning to define itself as computer dependent. We have grown up in a society where computers are the trend.
And, furthermore, we constantly reaffirm our dependence upon them, as a substitute in the work place and at school, as well as a substitute for a rewarding social life. If this trend continues the dependence will become greater as computers continually offer to make our lives easier and more convenient.