Is Technology Making Us Rude?

March 22, 2019
PEATHEGEE INC./GETTY IMAGES

Have you ever been so focused on texting with a friend that you ignored the one sitting right next to you? Technology can be a useful tool, but some people think it’s changing the way we behave, both online and in person.

While we’re focused on our devices, have we forgotten good manners? Do smartphones encourage us to choose screen time over quality time with family and friends? Do the comments we make to people online and in texts match how we would speak to them face-to-face? When we interact on screens, it’s easy to forget that there’s a real person on the other side. We asked TIME for Kids readers to weigh in on this week’s debate question: Is technology making us rude? Here, two students tell us what they think.

YES!

COURTESY TIRATH KAUR

By Tirath Kaur, 10

Dublin, California

Technology is making many people rude. Some people use it to spread misleading information. People may also post rude comments about others or make fun of people online, because they feel like they are able to do so with fewer consequences. Digitally tampered photos may be posted to embarrass someone or even to threaten them! Scammers may use fake identities to collect personal information and steal people’s money. Because of all this, kids should only make accounts on child-safe websites, and parents should monitor their kids’ social-media moves.

Technology can be good, but too many people use it for bad purposes. It’s our job to avoid wrongdoing by not being rude online.

NO!

COURTESY MARY BETH BACHELOR

By Alex Bachelor, 12

Schaumburg, Illinois

Technology does not make us rude. A person’s personality has a lot to do with it. Yes, cyberbullies are common. But people can anonymously report bullies online so the bullies get in trouble without knowing who told on them. People can be mean, but they can also be nice. Some video games even encourage users to help each other, so people learn to be kind. Plus, social media helps us remember important dates, such as birthdays. This allows us to share experiences with other people.

Technology helps us socialize. We can communicate with each other without traveling long distances. I think technology is making us kinder. Some people believe technology is pulling us apart, when actually it pulls us together.