by Ore, Emilie & Maddy
65.5% of junior high school students belong to the internet addiction-risk group. Why is this happening? Approximately a year and a half of online learning and periodical lockdowns are to blame. Students from all schools, especially North Toronto, have gained a deficient addiction to technology significantly affecting their mental health and quality of school work this year.
Approaching the end of the 2019-2020 school year, school abruptly went online due to the excessive transmission COVID-19. For the rest of the year, students participated in mandatory online learning.
Throughout the 2020-2021 school year, students began participating in in-person-learning. Due to the rapid increase in cases at times, students shifted from in-person to online learning a total of three3 times. They participated in online learning for about half of the school year. When they were online, they’d spend an average of 6 hours online daily. This time was spent attending a class wide Zzoom or google classroom call, or completing online work.
The significant amount of time spent in front of a screen, created unhealthy habits affecting mental health and an addiction to technology. This addiction was caused by relying on technology for necessary tasks. It is even said by Newport Technology that “Numerous studies over the past decade have shown that tech dependence has the same effect on the brain as drug addiction”.
The reward system in the brain releases dopamine in reaction to a joyful experience or hyperarousal, video games can be immensely addictive. When a person is overly engaged when playing video games, the brain correlates the activity with the release of dopamine. Video games are addictive because they cause a person to acquire a strong desire to seek out that same pleasure over and over again.
A North Toronto grade 10 student, Ray Macaulay, shared his thoughts regarding technological addiction. His response was, “The reason why I think the internet is so influential and inspiring is because I can make positive elixir trades in Clash Royale which I find to be quite satisfying” He also mentions that he has an addiction to technology.
Despite many positives that come with modern technology, it can also lead to addiction and overpower one’s life causing it to be harder to focus on more important tasks like school work. This would partially explain why numerous students’ grades are decreasing during and after online learning.
Another North Toronto grade 10 student, Chloe Nakamura, shared how she feels influenced by technology and if she believes she has an addiction. She answered as follows, “It definitely influences my daily life because it makes life a lot easier, but also has some negative impacts on my mental health, and yeah.” Technology addictions can go either way, making a positive impact on one’s life or being detrimental to one’s mental health.
Technology is tailored in a way, as Chloe and Ray have stated, that makes tasks in our everyday life more efficient and enjoyable, with potential negative impacts. Tasks as small as contacting a friend or searching facts on the internet become second nature, further influencing us to develop an addiction.