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Some consumers suffer from screen addiction.

I’ve always felt lucky to have been born in the perfect year (1983) to grow up alongside an incredible technology evolution – from land line phones and cassette tapes in junior high; to CDs and the first Nokia cell phones in high school; to texting, MySpace and Facebook’s first days in my early 20s; to 24/7 connectivity and media streaming via smartphones and other devices in my late 20s and early 30s. I loved the fact these innovations came about during these particular stages of my life; today’s senior citizens, for example, missed out on the fun until later on and are more hesitant to adopt new technology (unless you’re my 100-year-old grandma, who texts and uses Facebook daily. No joke.) And Gen Zers are stuck navigating adolescence in a world of posting and sharing. The way bullying took place when I was that age – verbally and in written notes – was bad enough; cyberbullying takes it to a whole new level.

As thankful as I am to have experienced this tech progression as I did, and to have all the resulting conveniences at my fingertips, I think we can all agree our hyperconnected world is leading us into sketchy territories. With every benefit of technology comes a drawback: We can always be reached on our devices, but that also means we’re always “available.” We get to receive as-they-happen news updates, but we also can’t escape the news cycle. And we can communicate without having to utter a word, but we’re losing – or in the case of the youngest folks, never developing – valuable social skills. I think it’s a shame that Gen Zers will never have the experience of suffering through a heart-pounding phone call to their crush’s land line, stuttering through a conversation with them and/or their parents. Yes, this was an incredibly awkward thing to do, but it also built character and helped prepare us for more difficult confrontations later on in the workplace and our personal lives.

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Natasha Chilingerian

Natasha has served as an editor for CU Times since March 2015. She also served as a communications specialist for Xceed Financial Credit Union (now Kinecta FCU) in Los Angeles from 2013-2015, and as a CU Times freelancer from 2011-2013. She has been a professional writer for more than 16 years, specializing in news and lifestyle journalism as well as marketing copywriting for companies in the finance and technology space.

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