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Are We Too Dependent on Computers?

Computers are, without a doubt, a useful tool that many of us use every day. But are we coming to rely on them too much?

    Since their invention, people far and wide have become increasingly dependent on computers. Computers have found their way into just about every aspect of our lives, and in most cases, they make things easier for us. They allow us to work from home, socialize with our friends and family who live too far away to visit, and they provide an ever-welcome stress relief when we come home from school or work and just want to have some fun. But as we increasingly rely on computers to get through the day, the question begs to be asked: have we become too dependent on computers?

    Despite the many benefits of computers, there are also a number of arguments against them, one of which is the negative effect some believe they are having on children’s education. Illiteracy is a growing issue, and many say that computers are to blame. In the past few years, many teachers have taken to shuffling their students off to a computer to type out short, quick assignments that could easily be written out by hand. While this isn’t much of an issue for older students, it is an issue for the younger students who are just learning to read and write. Regardless of how much we’re coming to rely on computers, printing and handwriting are a necessary skill to have. But typing out assignments has an affect on more than just the ability to print — it can also negatively impact their spelling and grammar. While most programs now have spell- and grammar-check, they are not infallible; they cannot differentiate between homonyms and will often times suggest corrections that are not, in fact, correct. Furthermore, information is often more easily and accurately remembered when children have to spend a little time writing it out by hand, rather than a few quick minutes typing away at a keyboard. Because of these factors, computers in school should be reserved for older students, longer assignments, or classes which specifically teach how to use a computer.

    Another case against computers crops up when a person’s interest in computers goes too far and becomes an obsession. Computers make our lives easier and give us new ways to learn about the things we’re interested in. They make it possible to do many things from the comfort of our own home — we can shop online, keep in touch with our friends online, even go to school online. They make it easier to record and organize information and entertain us with a nearly endless variety of games. However, it’s still important to maintain a life outside of the cyber world; a life spent attached to a computer screen isn’t a real life. When a computer becomes the central point of a person’s life, they undergo a change in behaviour; they become lazy and develop anti-social tendencies, and, in some severe cases, simply cannot function without a computer. It’s a common thing to see with children who have been allowed to spend too much time on the computer, watching TV, or playing video games: when it comes time to walk away, they throw temper tantrums. But it’s not just a matter of behavioural changes — when a person can’t tear themselves away from the screen long enough to take part in any other activity, it can take a toll on their comfort and health. They may experience weight gain, strained eyes, and headaches, among other unpleasant side-effects. However, it can also be argued that this is not the fault of the computer, but rather the fault of the person.

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