We all have seen our loved ones, our friends and maybe even ourselves, come down with this nasty epidemic that is currently destroying the world. And the most affected are us, teenagers. Never has a disaster of this multitude affected teenagers. According to Forbes magazine, teenagers spend an average of nine hours a day in front of screens. That’s more time than I usually sleep per night. In addition, this disease is so malignant that teenage brains are slowly being rewired as we speak, according to CNN. Dear follower, friend or subscriber, you may be asking what disease I am talking about. Well if you put your phone down, I’ll tell you. We are being overtaken by screens.
When I wake up in the mornings and check my iPhone, I see texts from my dad warning me about this dangerous disease. The articles that pop up in my messages scream out “When technology addiction takes over your life” or “A toddler dies as her mother checks her phone, and China wrings its hands” or “Teenagers and technology: ‘I’d rather give up my kidney than my phone.’” It’s hard not to feel despair and want to put on a sad Spotify playlist and cry the world away. How can we prevent this disease from exponentially spreading? I look around me, in the breezeway, at restaurants, even while I’m in the car, and can’t help but feel that we are doomed. But, not to fear dear subscriber, I believe I have found a solution.
One day as I was driving to practice, I was setting my phone down (this disease has even overtaken the ‘law’) when I noticed a storage facility outside my window. Now that all our information-photos, documents, books and even our pets-are on our phones, these facilities have become obsolete. It occurred to me that these empty warehouses could be used to contain something new–technology addicted adolescents.
We all have heard about the importance of the prefrontal cortex, the area behind the forehead associated with planning, problem-solving and related tasks. According to a MIT young adult development project, the prefrontal cortex does not fully develop until a person is 25 years old. As a result, it is important that as a society we protect the future generation from this disease by shipping them off, away from the destructive influence of screens. Obviously, adolescents would still attend school and do extracurricular activities. However, their movements would be confined to certain locations in order to prevent the possible contact with technology. At night, kids would be assigned a separate lot in the storage facility. The walls of each lot are already built to be impenetrable by wifi or other technological signals, and would serve as sturdy barriers that wall off outside technology from infiltrating the fragile minds of the young.
Critics might argue that walling adolescents off from the rest of society might make them single minded, not capable of understanding the real world or underdeveloped when it comes to learning how to make their own decisions. To those critics I say that the keeping our youth away from the dangers of this screen disease, such as cyberbullying and distracted walking (where people run into poles, buildings or even cars because they are on their phones), outweighs the potential consequences. After all, missing out on all the information and power technology provides will not make you a vegetable.
Already, this has become an epidemic. I don’t want to sound like the 66 percent of teen’s parents that have given their children talks about the dangers of technology, according to Forbes magazine. Instead, I want to bring to the chat room a solution. I may have 19 Snapchat streaks, 415 followers on Instagram, broken three iPhone screens and FaceTimed continuously for more than three hours, but that doesn’t make me an unreliable source. There is a global disease and we need to contain it, and while we’re doing it, feel free to follow me @alwaysinthesky.