It is a fact that our generation is what can be called “The First Computer Dependent Generation”. Computers have 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. Computers are intensively used in every aspect of man's life. Computer systems manage almost everything we see. Banks, schools, malls, libraries, broadcasting, military, aeronautics and governments have systems where computers play a vital role. We rely on computers to do most of our everyday activities. This is the computer age. With the help of computers, mankind is entering a new era of enlightenment.
Dealing with the enormous amount of data that the modern man is faced with can only be done by means of computers. What is more, due to them, huge progress has been made in many important fields such as surgery for instance. In addition, they are becoming more than ever a necessity to the educational system. By means of computers lessons are made more attractive, more instructive, certain skills are better developed. It no longer costs thousands of dollars of equipment to make a film or to compose music.
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Amateur filmmakers can produce work from their own homes. Graphics engineers can use computers to create three-dimensional models, or even to generate short or full-length films. Anybody who owns a computer can now enter the field of media production. Communication in our century would be unconceivable without the Internet, which is a massive network of computers, each with the ability to access any of the others. The Internet is something like universal virtual wisdom that can be instantly accessed for any kind of information.
E-mailing has become one of the most efficient ways of quick communication. However, this reliance on computers has several disadvantages. Anyone who has worked with computers for long periods of time knows that computers can be just as addictive as smoking or drinking. Computer addiction can have a number of physical, social, and psychological effects and it is to be taken as seriously as any other addiction. One common physical effect computer addiction can have are back problems.
Sitting for so long can take a toll on a person's muscles and can result in poor posture. Poor posture can result in chronic back problems that require the services of a doctor. Dry eyes and vision complications are some eye problems caused by overuse of a computer. Headaches are quite common in computer addiction and are linked to the straining of the eyes. Because of the long hours spent in front of a computer, addicts often have eating irregularities. Computer addicts experience sleep disturbances or changes in sleeping patterns.
Social effects of computer addiction include reduced time spent socializing with others. People may begin to feel that their computer is the only relationship that they have the time to focus on. They lose the desire for human contact and communication and in a way they are breaking away from reality. Lacking the desire to make contact with others means lacking the desire to create new relationships or to build on already existing ones. After a certain amount of time, they lose their conversation skills completely.
Within the lives of computer addicts it is their friends and family that suffer the most from this form of alienation (=estrangement). There are stages in children’s lives when they should know how to play, to be able to learn the values of trust, initiative, competition and cooperation. A child can only appreciate these through social contacts. Studies show that individuals who spent their childhood in front of computers are more distant, isolated and have difficult social lives. Another point is that the availability of online chatting systems makes people rely on computers to communicate. Because ofthis, social interaction, the development of social skills is jeopardized (=endangered). In addition to this, the convenience provided by the use of computers in everyday life also has its price. Online banking systems are rather potential hacking zones, computer file management and storage are vulnerable to viruses and hackers, individuals’ personal data are no longer private.
Although crime prevention has benefited a lot from computer usage through CCTV cameras, GPS systems and digital identification systems, people do not seem to be prepared to live in a world where their every step is being watched and recorded. In modern society convenience comes at the expense of privacy loss. I strongly believe that if people are aware of the potential hazards of computer dependency and if governments can do something to educate or inform people about them, then problems arising from this issue will be minimized.
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