Instant Gratification and Teens

As I write this article, every now and then I will get the urge to check my phone, switch tabs to check my email, or scroll through Instagram for a little bit. Part of the reason why I feel like changing tasks may be due to minor case of writer’s block, but in reality, it acts as a prime example of how technology has increased our need for instant gratification in our daily lives.

The possibility of hearing the ring of the phone as we get a text message, or seeing what our friends posted on Instagram makes us want to pick up the phone, in hopes of seeing a gratifying image on the screen. Whether it is on screen, or off, technology has slowly instilled a demand for what we want as fast as possible. Patience, once a virtue, is now crumbling away and being replaced with a “right here right now” mentality which ultimately stands to result in long term negative consequences.

We get frustrated when the internet is slow or when we don’t immediately get straight A’s for the first grading period, and as we get older, we are bound to fall victim to our own impatience.

Author Simon Sinek addressed this issue in a video that has since gone viral. He stated that younger people expect more results faster when it comes to building a career. People that want to start businesses easily become discouraged in the early stages because they aren’t seeing a huge outcome. People straight out of college are quitting their jobs after only a few months because they aren’t being given higher positions, all because they have been taught that things we want can come instantly. But that is simply not the case.

The lack of patience, ingrained by increased use of technology stands to do us an injustice when performing tasks that normally take time to achieve. It raises a number of concerns, from work ethic, to social trends. The intensified need for instant gratification is so prominent that it has become hard for us to slow down, unplug, and take time to relax. Even reading a book has become a tedious task simply because it takes time to get to the thick of the plot.
While getting things like a car ride or your favorite TV show streamed to your phone in an instant makes life a little easier, the overlooked, lurking, long term effects of instant gratification will be more impactful in the future. In this growing age of technology, we need to take time to unplug and essentially teach ourselves how to be patient again.