Information and communication technologies: negative consequences of their use in the university context


Information and communication technologies: negative consequences of their use in the university context

Las tecnologías de la información y las comunicaciones: consecuencias negativas de su uso en el contexto universitario


Bertha Lidia Torres Martínez1*
Duniesky Villareño Domínguez1
Maritza Franco Perez1
Michel Araujo García1


1 Villa Clara University of medical Sciences. Cuba.


* Author for correspondence. Email:




Information and Communication Technologies are an essential part of current scientific-technological development; they have invaded all spheres of human life, including education. In this complex maelstrom there is a recurring tendency to the formation of human beings dangerously tied to needs and interests artificially created by these media and the propaganda they disseminate. The present work aims to highlight issues related to its use in the university context, with emphasis on some negative consequences that its inappropriate or abusive use may cause, and to encourage the Cuban university to specify an educational didactics congruent with current social needs.

MeSH: information technologies and communication projects; students; education, medical.


Las Tecnologías de la Información y las Comunicaciones forman parte esencial del desarrollo científico-tecnológico actual, han invadido todas las esferas de la vida humana, incluyendo la educación. En esta compleja vorágine es recurrente la tendencia a la formación de seres humanos peligrosamente atados a necesidades e intereses creados artificialmente por estos medios y la propaganda que divulgan. El presente trabajo pretende resaltar cuestiones relacionadas con su empleo en el contexto universitario, con énfasis en algunas consecuencias negativas que puede provocar su uso inadecuado o abusivo, y alentar a la universidad cubana a concretar una didáctica educativa congruente con las necesidades sociales actuales.

DeSC: proyectos de tecnologías de información y comunicación; estudiantes; educación médica.



Submitted: 25/01/2021
Accepted: 26/01/2021



Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) are an essential part of today's accelerated scientific-technological development and they have invaded all spheres of human life, transforming reality in all orders.

Education is not alien to this global phenomenon and it´s debated in an authentic earthquake of news, changes and mystery. As a historical-social process, it is determined and it´s determining in man, society and its progress. Therefore, renewing and tempering it at the height of the scientific-technical revolution is a declaration of principle.(1)

ICT defines the set of resources, procedures and techniques necessary to manipulate and / or manage information, convert it, store it, administer it and transmit it.(2) Therefore, in the information age they occupy a privileged place within the educational context. Its possibilities, benefits and functions are immense if they are correctly used as mediators of learning and not as a mere instrument or pedagogical hardware store. They group in themselves texts, images, sounds, interactivity, distance learning, diverse applications, platforms and social networks, among others.(1) Incorporating them into the educational system constitutes the ideal way to achieve equitable access to knowledge and information.

But this very technological development in the field of education is called -at any of its organizational levels and together with a trained teaching staff- to reinvent educational formulas that offer laudable, ethical and worthy solutions in certain excesses related to their use and consequently, they favor the tendency to develop human beings dangerously tied to needs, motivations and interests, artificially created by the technological media of communication and the propaganda that they disseminate.(3) It corresponds to the university to carry out this permanent exercise of clarifying its relationship with the society it is a part of and to which it must serve.

ICT take to the university context a huge avalanche of audiovisual products, programs and applications mostly imposed by economically dominant countries. That is why letting oneself be carried away "naively" or not, by the "absolute wealth of benefits" that they provide, would put at risk the responsibility of the university to conceive a training that provides the graduation of a professional located in the very center of scientific -technological discourse, cultured, prepared, synchronized and independent, with the coherent and creative attitude that current times demand. Hence the need to promote didactics that ensures the proper selection, design and use of ICT.

It is the purpose of the authors of this research paper to bring teaching professionals closer to this highly current topic in the university context and, without the intention of establishing a precedent on the subject, share some of the concerns or harmful consequences of misuse or abuse of ICTs, in order to alert and promote the desire to reverse such situations:

  • Technological processes imply an infrastructure that is economically impossible to afford by less developed countries. This generates a gap that implies that a high percentage of the "educational products" that are generated are elaborated and disseminated by more developed countries while the former act as users, which generates phenomena such as transculturation, loss of identity, and decontextualization of educational phenomena by assuming models that do not correspond to the realities of each nation.
  • The necessary logistics for non-contact and distance teaching-learning process platforms is sometimes insufficient, limiting the possibilities of interconnection and interactivity between cognitive subjects without the need to travel; Thus, the pedagogy that must accompany the new technological paradigms does not always find its total and genuine concretion.
  • The unidirectionality of the created platforms does not fully respond to the characteristics and needs of each student, since both the pace and the amount of information are generated based on an average student, in which individual learning styles could be unsatisfied. This confirms that machines can never replace the role of the teacher.
  • Not always the philosophy around the use of ICT is totally consistent, either due to the lack of preparation to discern quality audiovisual programs and products, or due not to assuming the personal responsibility that each person should have in this regard. Information is consumed without science or wisdom, lending itself to alienating and banal activities at the same time that superfluous aesthetic tastes are being formed that border on the lack of morals, and that manifest the deterioration of ethics and the weakening of values (because everything is consumed and this conditions the action).(4)
  • On the other hand, and paradoxically, while closed and intolerant attitudes develop that close their users to others, distances are shortened, the right to privacy ceases to exist and unusual forms of aggressiveness, insults, mistreatment and manipulations that destroy the figure of the other, according to Pope Francis, in his Encyclical Letter "Fratelli Tutti" published in Rome, Saint John Lateran on October 1, 2020.
  • The lack of technical preparation of university professors is another element that eventually hinders the efficiency in directing the process. Training does not always occur at the rate of technological development, which means that integral parts are unknown, as well as their own abilities for their management and that of certain basic programs, with infinite possibilities. This puts him at a disadvantage compared to his students.
  • Intellectual practices lacking in ethics and voluntariness are another important topic on the subject. Computers and mobile devices have infinite manipulating advantages, preserving information and establishing dialogues or interaction with subjects, developing cognitive and metacognitive capacities, lightening the intellectual load due to their operation, saving time, etc. The lack of ethics concatenated to the facilities of some of its useful operations (save, cut, copy, paste) put at risk the development of basic intellectual skills to process and summarize scientific information since their own ideas are not elaborated (from the interpsychological to the intrapsychological) and are used instead for the commission of plagiarism, without even changing words, the meaning of sentences or using synonyms, even copying with the same writing and spelling errors.(4)
  • Another manifestation of the problem lies in the fact of not taking personal notes, reducing the processing of scientific information to capturing or photographing the summary of the teacher or other classmates with the camera of a mobile device.
  • On the other hand, the use of ICT in the university environment reflects such a degree of acceptance that its use has been turned into abuse or excessive use due to long periods of time in front of digital screens. This has brought with it the appearance of muscular, bone, visual diseases, social isolation, addiction and monophobia, and others of the central nervous system caused by the electromagnetic fields that these screens emit, such as sleep disorders, vertigo, etc. With this behavior, the ability and enjoyment of communicating with others is at risk, causing the attention to truly essential people, activities or really important things.(5)
  • Finally, it is striking how digital presentations (posters, slides and others) are usually designed, lacking the essential pedagogical and didactic requirements, ranging from excessive information (sometimes technically poorly focused depending on the sender and not the receiver of the educational message) up to designs with excesses of colors and shapes, erroneous contrasts, excessive and decontextualized animations, out of place decorations, etc., which only detract from the didactic purpose for which they were designed.

Such behaviors demand the transformation of the educator in the dimensions of thinking, feeling and acting to go beyond the polytechnization and knowledge of the subject he teaches, and allow a proactivity that humanizes the teaching-learning process, communicating to his students an attitude of respect for human life, of interest towards what is really essential under the discernment of the best and adequate sources in the face of a complex global ideological reality.



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2. Belloch C. Las tecnologías de la Información y Comunicación en el aprendizaje [material docente]. Valencia: Universidad de Valencia. Departamento de Métodos de Investigación y Diagnóstico en Educación; 2012.

3. Machado Machado Y, Cruz Martín O, Santiesteban Pineda DM, Cruz Lorenzo C, García Ortiz Y, Paz González SA. Abuso de consumo de productos tecnológicos en edades tempranas: problemática no abordada en estudios médicos. EDUMECENTRO [Internet]. 2017 [citado 21/01/2021];9(3):[aprox. 15 p.]. Disponible en:

4. Calviño M. Vale la pena. Escritos con psicología. La Habana: Editorial Caminos; 2011.

5. Hodelín Hodelín Y, de los Reyes García Z, Hurtado Cumbá G, Batista Salmon M. Riesgos sobre tiempo prolongado frente a un ordenador. Rev Inf Cient [Internet]. 2016 [citado 21/01/2021];95(1):[aprox. 15 p.]. Disponible en:



Declaration of interests

The authors declare no conflict of interest.



Contribution of the authors

Bertha Lidia Torres Martínez: detected the problem and conception of the article, wrote and agreed with the final draft.
Bertha Lidia Torres Martínez, Duniesky Villareño, Paz Maritza Franco Pérez, Michel Araujo: contributed with bibliographies related to the subject in the university context and participated in the writing of the final draft.
Bertha Lidia Torres Martínez and Paz Maritza Franco Pérez: agreed with the final draft.



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