By Avi Mehra
Faris Khetto, a sophomore at Summit Tahoma, has been greatly affected greatly by technology. His father often gave him death and suicide threats. “He used to be really aggressive towards me, and he threatened to kill me a couple times,” he told Summit News. One day, Faris felt that he would have really died. “I felt that he was actually going to really hurt me,” he said, “like I would be dead.”
Khetto had a deactivated phone, given by his father, with him. His father gave the phone because he believed that deactivating it would stop all calls from going through. “I was able to call 911 and stuff like that, like emergency services.”
“Technology has really changed my life.”
He called the police, not mentioning the death threats, and only saying that he “felt unsafe.” Custody of Khetto was taken away from his father. “I feel like that really saved my life, because if I didn’t have my phone, I would have been most likely dead … I really felt like there was a threat.”
Communications technology clearly has positive effects. In addition to life-and-death situations such as Khetto’s, these technologies can connect friends and family over long distances. Without such technologies, these connections would not be feasible.
Students at Tahoma also use communications technology for fun or entertainment. Many of Tahoma’s teenagers use social media on a daily basis. There are growing concerns on a national level that excessive social media use has significant detrimental effects on the social lives and physical and mental health of users. Tahoma students shared their viewpoints.
In a survey sent out to the Tahoma student body, only 8 percent of people responded that the effects of technology on social lives are more negative than positive. Of the students, 20 percent responded that technology affects their social lives very positively, and 66 percent responded that the effects are positive.
One Tahoma senior expressed serious concern with regards to technology use at home: “There are many negative things about technology that impact me socially and mentally. Some days I tend to feel lonely, sad, nervous, and full of self-hatred. I find that because of my anxiety and depression symptoms that I would tend to look to my phone to pull me away from life through pointless, draining YouTube videos, online games that are designed to addict and make money, and random memes. Because of this, I tend to forget about schoolwork during breaks and weekends. This got fairly bad when I didn’t do a lot of work over Thanksgiving break and I fell behind. This was the first time I had an overdue project in [three] years.”
Most students claimed technology use at home does not negatively affect schoolwork and personal health.
For sophomore Jasen Pardilla, technology is a great influence on his life: “Technology is part of my everyday life,” he said, “It’s all positive benefits.” He pursues working with technology in the future.
Sophomore Janelle Langarica, an aspiring video game designer, agrees. She is part of the programming classes at Tahoma. “[Programming] would definitely help me in the future because we live in the Silicon Valley; if you’re living here you might as well take advantage of what you have around you.” Langarica has expressed that using and working with technology has positive benefits on mental capacity: “Definitely – it helps with logical thinking. Creativity too – you have to be creative in how you put stuff, the design.”
Regarding the effects of technology on education, Tahoma students said that the positive effects were notably more significant than the negative; they reported similar results regarding the impact on their social lives. See below for survey results:
This is expected, as a majority of Summit’s curriculum is online, on the Summit Learning Platform. Students at Tahoma are able to see how technology can be used for legitimate and positive purposes and can see past negative effects that are sometimes focused on in the media.
The same student with the negative concerns wrote about how useful other, non-Summit-specific, technology has been for her.
“I don’t think I could have made it as well without the internet, document cameras, magnifiers, and my computer. This allows us to think more about the world around us and learn about things we couldn’t before … Especially for students with disabilities, like myself, technology is important to allowing us to participate in class better than without it.”
See below for a video regarding tech use and the Tahoma community:
I’m still debating about all technology use in our schools. It seems, in my opinion, that we don’t’ give students any “down” time where they don’t use technology. I teach a technology-based class, and I have noticed how much my health has suffered. I have had treatment for carpal tunnel three times, my eyes are under tremendous strain from looking at the monitor all day, and I even think technology has robbed me of my energy. It is very useful in education, but at what cost to other areas of our lives. Maybe after learning more in my graduate class, my opinion will change a little? Take care.