Digital technology and effects on young Nigerians.

Digital technology is majorly synonymous with making our lives better and convenient, but there are negative sides to digital technology on young people which include that it can be addicting and can even hurt our communication skills. Spending extended periods focusing on on-screen devices can result in health complications like eye strain, insomnia, reduced physical activities, depression, and anxiety. With digital gadgets, nearly permanently attached to people’s hands, it is quite important to look at some of the ways it impacts the lives of young adults, especially.
It is a well-known fact that the use of the internet has become a central part of both the developed and developing nations of the world. It is a network of networks that consists of millions of private, public, academic, business, and government networks of local to global scope linked by a broad array of electronic, wireless, and optical networking technologies”
Its origins date back to research commissioned by the United States government in the 1960s to build robust” fault-tolerant communication via computer networks. The development in technology was the foundation of the Internet. Its advancement has witnessed diverse enterprises which are disputable topics in very recent times. It has amongst several criticisms” evolved from function-limited to feature-rich and exciting computerized systems.

Digital technology can be defined as the branch of science or engineering knowledge that deals with the practical use of digital or computerized devices, methods, systems, etc. With the advent of digital technology, nearly every aspect of modern life has been transformed, ranging from entertainment to work, shopping, travel, and communication. These areas have been reformed in recent decades. It’s now rare to find an electronic device or piece of machinery that doesn’t incorporate digital technology in some way. Digital technology can be conceptualized as when devices become more compact, faster, lighter, and more versatile even as huge amounts of information can be stored locally or remotely and moved around virtually instantaneously.
In our society today, almost 9 out of 10 adolescents will be found making use of diverse digital devices. They use it for various purposes ranging from work-related use to business, social media, research, and assignments. But the question remains, how many of these adolescents make effective and efficient use of these digital devices? In this 21st century, one of the undeniable advantages of the advent and use of digital devices is that it has tremendously aided learning and made education more interesting. One of these can be viewed from the term digital learning platform which is defined as a new kind of classroom learning infrastructure enabled by advances in theory, research, and one-to-one computing initiatives. This system is designed to operate in a teacher-led classroom as the major carrier of the curriculum content and to function as the primary instructional environment.
Learning and knowledge acquisition has been enhanced through the societal embracement of digital device. To add to this, self-learning using digital devices has become the order of the day for quick, easy, and vast knowledge acquisition. This development and trend do not also leave out craft knowledge acquisition as information on various trade and craft skills can be accessed online using any desired digital device. The information could be in form of texts, pictures/graphics, audio and video to help cut across diverse users’ comprehension.
Digital technology particularly the Internet has become an integral part of Nigerian children’s lives. This is especially true for those children who use it more broadly for social networking, uploading photos, doing homework, playing digital games, or watching videos. Motivations for using the Internet vary mainly by the children’s age, location, devices, and frequency with which they access it. Numerous issues surround children in Nigeria and their use of digital technologies. The issues range from the availability of digital devices to high costs, low purchasing power, and epileptic infrastructure especially for those in the rural or poor areas. There are also challenges around the physical and psychological wellbeing of the children emanating from disordered consumption of digital content and digital technology in general.
Children across the two age spectrums spend an inordinate length of time engaged with digital technology each day. Through watching television, playing video games, or surfing the Internet the Nigerian child on average can amass screen time for lengths of up to three hours per day. In extreme cases, some children clock up to ten hours or more of screen time per day verging on addiction disorder.
The problem of technology addiction disorder is rampant among children as they are the group most prone to uncontrolled video game playing or social media use. Disordered use of technology arises when an individual engages in online activities at the cost of fulfilling daily responsibilities or pursuing other interests and without regard for the negative consequences. Parental educational level, age at first use of the Internet, and the frequency of using social networking sites and gaming sites are found to be associated with excessive Internet use among children. Nigerians are not left out in this long hour on the internet; playing games or watching films. These addicts spend most of their time on the internet instead of making friends or talking to human beings.
There are positive impacts of digital technology to Nigerians and some of them are,

Positive Impacts of Digital Technology

Digital technology enhances learning

Digital technology has become integrated into the classroom and learning environment over the years, in other to enhance the learning experience of willing persons and young people are no exception. Digital technologies such as document cameras, smart boards, and even 3D printers are now incorporated into educational tutorials and lessons to boost and engage students in the learning process and also to make academic instruction more meaningful. In addition, at-home educational technologies have also assisted young girls, for example, who are interested in learning skills like catering, bead making, braiding, and home decoration from the comfort of their homes.

Fosters problem-solving skills

Several digital technologies, most notable games on devices, help improve and foster reasoning and problem-solving skills as the player must work independently to achieve a specific goal. In the process, they are posed with different types of roadblocks and challenges, which they must learn to navigate and overcome. In turn, they’ll be encouraged to come up with their problem-solving solutions when facing real-life issues such as school homework, disagreements with friends, or personal hardship, as well as technology-based obstacles.

Develops future technological leaders

Our future lies in many of today’s emerging technologies and in the years to come, technological skills will be more valuable in the workplace, as well as the growing impact they will have on day-to-day life. One of the greatest benefits of exposing the 21st-century youth to technology is the fact that they will be well-prepared to jump into a pool of available, high-paying tech jobs. Tech jobs are here today and there will be even more advanced tech jobs in the future. Who’s going to be best equipped to fill those positions? The one who starts learning now.

Negative Impacts of Digital Technology

Diminishes relationships and social skills

As young people use digital technologies more often, they are more apt to be virtually connected with family and friends, rather than physically spending time together; they are more likely to text, chat on social media, or connect through online gaming than actually meeting them in person. According to Lisa Rai Mabry-Price, the associate director of school services from the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA) in an interview with the Inquirer, “Social communication skills are also in jeopardy due to tech overuse. These skills are developed and honed through daily interaction and include knowing how to take turns during a conversation, using facial expressions, changing the way you speak based on the listener—such as how you talk to a baby versus an adult—and making appropriate eye contact. Such personal interactions are limited as children passively view a screen.”

Digital technology stimulates health issues

Excessive use of digital technologies can be harmful to the health of young adults and children alike, as the more they use it, the less physical activities they do. Also, as they spend more time in front of those screens, the less time they spend outside playing, running, and burning off calories. Over time, those unhealthy habits can lead to significant weight gain and other associated health problems.

Digital technology reduces sleep quality

Young people who use media before bed are more likely to not get enough sleep at night. Even further, having access to a media device in their sleeping environment, even if the device was not being actively used near bedtime, is also associated with an inadequate amount of sleep. An average human requires about 6-8 hours of sleep, depending on their age. Sleep is immensely important for young adult girls, as it helps the heart, promotes growth, affects weight, increases concentration and attention span, and even boosts learning. However, when young people don’t get the proper amount of sleep each night, these ever-important qualities can suffer.

Digital technology usage is becoming more prominent every day and this has made it easier to pass more information in a shorter time than was traditionally possible. Although, digital technology through media and electronic gadgets can help the 21st youth to gain vast amounts of knowledge, teach them how to be independent, and has given them access to educational resources; some negative impacts are accompanied by the positive ones which should not be neglected. This negative impact can lead to social isolation and give rise to other serious physical and mental diseases. In other to reap the positive impacts of digital technology, young people should be encouraged and enlightened on how to regulate and limit their usage of the technology as the time they spend using digital technologies could well be spent in other more creative and productive ways.

Digital technology is transforming the experience of growing up adolescents. It brings the good and bad to adolescents. At its best, high-level engagement in digital technology causes adolescents to lose focus on academic tasks and negatively affects their academic results. This is in line with the result of the research. The result from the findings of this study showed that adolescents’ addiction and exposure to digital technology can hurt them such as distracting adolescents from their academic work, taking most of their productive time, loss of concentration, etc. Therefore, there is a need for teachers, parents, and well-wishers to come up with a template on how their adolescents can maximize the benefits of digital technology. School management should incorporate rules and regulations on the use of digital technology in the school and, that the government should put in place adequate control measures to regulate their use among adolescents.
In the light of the findings of this study, the following recommendations are made for improvement: Adolescents should be thoroughly educated on the growing influence of digital technology on their academic performance and should be properly monitored by teachers and parents on how the devices can best be put to use. However, adolescents should be guided on how to better manage their study time and avoid distractions excessive or abuse of the use of these digital devices. In addition, the use of digital technology by adolescents should focus more on academic relevance instead of using them for sinister or negative purposes.

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