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Style Magazine

How One Local Teen Finds Her Balance

Sep 26, 2014 12:40PM ● By Jenn Thornton

At age 12, Alyssa Wong, 2014 Oak Ridge High School graduate, got a cell phone and started using computers for more than just school projects.

Today, when asked to tally her average tech use, the 18-year-old offers, “Maybe 14 hours a day? I’m on my iPhone constantly; it’s practically attached to me at this point.” I also watch TV a lot during the summer when I’m not working.” Alas, work. A sideline. Something else to do. With so much at a click, Wong, a frequent video chatter, places a high premium on its perks—namely, keeping tabs on friends and those stationed in other states. (She credits social media for bridging distances.)

Technology has also proved to be an asset to her in school. Having a phone with Internet, Wong explains, allows for fast access to information should she need to retrieve stats on the latest economic policies or correctly conjugate a verb.

On the flip side, Wong says, “You lose out on a lot of chances to have real, face-to-face conversations. A huge percentage of my generation doesn’t have basic conversation skills because they rely on their phones too much; instead of talking in person, they hide behind a phone or laptop.”

Wong’s parents embraced technology by helping her navigate the computer world. She, in turn, helped them become more cell phone savvy and now uses technology broadly, but in conjunction with the one thing predating even the most rudimentary forms of communication: her noggin. “Nowadays it is harder to have that balance because technology is used in every aspect of our lives,” she admits. “I think for me, when I’m with people, I know not to use any phones or anything, and that’s my balance.”