A survey has found that young people spend nearly 40 hours every week using technology, four times more than they spend doing physical activity, advocacy group Cyber Angel’s Pick (CAP) said yesterday.
The group interviewed students ranging in age from third-graders to college seniors to determine trends and views on Internet usage among young Taiwanese.
The survey found that on a weekly basis, respondents on average used their cellphones for 25.91 hours, were online for 13.72 hours and watched television for 13.03 hours, CAP chief executive Huang Wei-wei (黃葳葳) said.
However, they only did physical activity for 11.64 hours, showing that tech usage is taking up time that could be spent on other activities, said Huang, who is a professor of communications at National Chengchi University.
Cellphone and Internet usage is also affecting young people’s outlook, she added.
Respondents reported feeling less capable of taking care of themselves, while anxiety about making mistakes and the future was common, she said.
As for external pressures, they felt unable to express differing opinions or meet their parents’ expectations, she said.
They also believed school rules to be unreasonable and that appearance is more important than health, Huang added.
As tech use has increased, young people have become less likely to seek help from others, and are less likely to help those around them, Huang said.
Participation in school clubs and teams has also declined, she said.
Parents need to be aware of their child’s technology habits, as interpersonal relationships can suffer as a result of increased tech use, she said.
However, technology has the potential to expand a user’s worldview when it is used to learn more about an interesting, multifaceted topic, rather than passively absorbing whatever algorithms choose to show, Huang said.
Use of technology should follow the mnemonic “CHECK”: choice, home, examination, change and knowledge, she said.
Choice means carefully choosing platforms with which to share your location, while home means protecting the privacy of yourself and your family, for example thinking twice before posting photographs of your child, she said.
Examination means thinking critically about the content of a post, keeping in mind that pictures are not always true, while change involves security, for example regularly changing passwords, she said.
Knowledge means keeping up to date about issues related to Internet security, she said.
CAP held an award ceremony yesterday for the 14 winners of its photography competition, which was designed to encourage young people to be more mindful about their use of technology.
The competition was aimed at helping young people pay more attention to their surroundings by keeping a record through photographs and location tagging.
CAP organized the competition with Hanshin Department Store and Hi-Lai Foods, and more than 1,000 entries were received.
The winning photographs are on display at Hi-Lai Harbour in the SOGO Tianmu store until Jan. 28.
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