It is worth noting that the development of society is directly related to the improvement of human capabilities. The spiritual and physical needs of people, which are constantly growing, force people to come up with new, more improved ways and means to satisfy them (Lareki, Martínez de Morentin, Altuna, & Amenabar, 2017). The invention of the computer, the development of the necessary software, and information technology influenced the development of society. The purpose of this paper is to discuss what impact information technology has on the development of younger generations.
Information technology (IT) is a set of methods and tools used to collect, store, process, and disseminate information. This is a general concept that describes various mechanisms, devices, algorithms, and data processing methods based on computer technology. At present, human life is increasingly dependent on IT technology in different ways. Every day, people go to social networks, check the news, chat with friends, and all this happens with the help of cellphones, which are representatives of modern IT technologies. At work, individuals most often perform their functions using computers and other technologies and devices (Lareki et al., 2017). Due to their use, society can perform various types of activities. From the point of view of development, modern technologies greatly simplify life in many ways and save time that can be used for comprehensive development and self-improvement.
Information technologies are developing at an unprecedented pace, and they have conquered almost all spheres of human life. In this regard, a number of psychological problems have arisen associated with the development of personality, requiring theoretical understanding and integration of various areas of psychology. One of the issues is linked with the negative aspects of human-computer interaction and the resulting psychological dependencies, computer anxiety, and self-efficacy (Lareki et al., 2017). Nevertheless, there are also positive aspects of the influence of information and communication technologies on human mental activity.
At the initial stage of using computers, psychological problems were associated with acquiring new technologies by a person. However, later on, scientists drew attention to emerging problems when using advanced technologies. In particular, this is a danger of withdrawal into cyberspace as a result of excessive enthusiasm for IT. Scientists have also described the positive aspects of the influence of information and communication technologies on personality development (Lareki et al., 2017). For example, by using IT technology, people can expand their knowledge dramatically and evolve their problem-solving skills.
Influence on Youth
The development of information technology and the Internet creates both new opportunities for development and risks. In particular, one of the main opportunities for growth is almost unlimited access to any information needed for training and development, the construction of new worlds, and the creation of new content (Rathus, 2020). However, negative aspects include the loss of the value of the real world in the consciousness and life of young people. This causes a weakening of real communication, reduction of personal responsibility for actions in the virtual world, mythologizing of worldview. In addition, the development of information technology enhances ethical and moral pluralism, as well as blurs the boundaries between good and bad in virtual activity, which weakens moral regulators.
Modern IT technology imposes fairly high requirements, on the one hand, to the ethical level of personality, and on the other – to the degree of mastery of the skills of their application. As a rule, a person possesses only one of these characteristics, while both are necessary in order to influence the formation of the values of the younger generation (Rathus, 2020). In the 21st century, due to the advent of new IT technologies, the direction of knowledge transfer is changing – not from the older generation to the younger, but vice versa.
Under the conditions of the high speed of changes in the modern world, a certain decrease in the authority of elders is taking place. They can no longer fulfill the role of teachers in such a significant sphere of life as the virtual one (Pittinsky, 2019). At the same time, there is a group of specialists that has highly developed skills in applying modern technology. Some of them have pronounced deviant, asocial tendencies, and it is they who can actively influence the formation of values of the younger generation. The influence of these factors leads to a decrease in the moral and ethical level and psychological culture of individuals.
It is worth emphasizing that these conditions for the development of modern society lead to the need to create digital competency. In its turn, in addition to knowledge and skills in applying IT, it also implies motivation for their correct use and responsibility for the actions in the virtual environment (Pittinsky, 2019). Digital citizenship involves the regulation of interaction in the cyber environment with generally accepted rules and norms of behavior, which in the modern digital world are at the formation stage. The main prospect of development is the formation of security for younger generations. This requires knowledge and understanding of the opportunities and risks that arise in the application of IT. More senior individuals and influencers need to set an example of the correct use of Internet technologies and exhibit constructive Internet communication skills, as well as illustrate how to handle manifestations of cyber aggression.
In addition, it is also worth discussing the fact that by shifting part of the daily operations to IT technologies, young people are expanding their ability to process information (Pittinsky, 2019). The volume and speed of work increase, which improves the processes of cognition. This has led to a dramatic increase in the potential of human thinking and certain changes in the structure of mental activity. Under the influence of advanced technology, people have started to think differently. In particular, if earlier a person thought with text templates, now they process information in images and pictures (book images gave way to graphic ones). Nevertheless, many researchers note that the imagination of teenagers is becoming poorer, as they stop fantasizing and cannot draw an imaginary object (Pittinsky, 2019).
Also, technology is gradually changing the technique of reading, as it becomes superficial. Due to the system of hyperlinks and other distractions, information is not processed in the mind of its recipient. Previously, people perceived information sequentially, and information and communication technologies allow them to quickly switch between different sources and control the choice of content, changing the reading process. Users devote no more than a few seconds to viewing each page and quickly focus on any other topics (Murray, 2019). As a result, information is not put off in consciousness as effectively as when during the process of reading. On the one hand, thinking becomes more active; on the other hand – less reflective since a young person is already used to acting immediately and filtering later (Murray, 2019). This is due to the frantic pace of life, which is dictated by the modern information space, with the huge amount of information that is available on the Internet freely, with its often questionable quality.
The rapid development of IT technology has opened access to information, and knowledge is gradually moving to a new qualitative and quantitative level (Murray, 2019). At the same time, a large amount of redundant information appears, which complicates the process of obtaining knowledge. The free choice of the sources of information (including unreliable ones) and methods of data search can lead in the wrong direction. Moreover, the apparent availability of information leads to the degradation of knowledge since there is no longer any need to remember the facts because, at any time, one can go to the Internet and find the answer to all questions. Technologies provide a lot of new opportunities for personal development, and people find themselves in an environment enriched with information and communications and can manage the construction of their identities (Collins & Halverson, 2018). To constructively apply the opportunities provided by IT technologies, it is necessary to develop the skills of meaningful perception and critical evaluation of information. Young people need to be taught to filter content and adopt adequate behavioral models when using these technologies.
Thus, it can be concluded that IT technologies strongly affect the life of the younger generation. They allow them to develop in new areas of knowledge, engage in self-improvement, but, at the same time, they force them to use their innate qualities to a lower degree and develop a certain dependence on them. Modern IT technologies can positively influence personality and growth, but there are also a lot of counterarguments. Nevertheless, it should be emphasized that without IT technologies, the life of the youth is impossible; therefore, it is necessary to cultivate in them an accurate and ethical attitude towards their use.
Collins, A., & Halverson, R. (2018). Rethinking education in the age of technology: The digital revolution and schooling in America. New York, NY: Teachers College Press.
Lareki, A., Martínez de Morentin, J. I., Altuna, J., & Amenabar, N. (2017). Teenagers’ perception of risk behaviors regarding digital technologies. Computers in Human Behavior, 68, 395-402.
Murray, A. (2019). Information technology law: The law and society (4th ed.). Oxford, England: Oxford University Press.
Pittinsky, T. L. (2019). Science, technology, and society: New perspectives and directions. Cambridge, England: Cambridge University Press.
Rathus, S. A. (2020). HDEV: Himan lifespan development (6th ed.). Boston, MA: Cengage Learning.