Their every day will be caught in the wheels of a mechanized society to the point where I wonder how they will find the time to enjoy the most simple pleasures we had at our disposal: silence, calm, solitude. Having never known them, they shall not be able to miss them. AS for me, I do—and I pity them.
Albert Robida (born in 1848)
With all the advances in technology, intended to make work more efficient why, with increased use of these devices, do I find myself struggling to effectively use my time?
I own an iPad, iPhone and laptop. I use these machines with the intention of making my life easier to manage, and in many ways they help me accomplish this! They definitely provide easy access, not only to information but also to people. Could this, however, be why my time feels increasingly more complicated to manage? Whether I attempt to work from home, or behind closed doors in my office, these devices allows others to access me directly at any time of the day or night. Finding time to work, or even think, without constant interruption is difficult to accomplish, no matter where I go. I recognize that only by intentional, (and somewhat difficult) choices on my part, will I gain control over this access.
If this is happening to me, what is taking place with our youth, who by their teen years consider the ownership of these devices- especially a phone- a “must have?”
Is this the reason why today’s students struggle to find time to get their school work done well? Is this the reason that so many find school work increasingly difficult?
Little data exists that addresses the long term impact of this modern, entirely invasive technology on the developing minds of our youth. No history exists that we can learn from. Current students will be the first case study. Like the 1915 locust invasion in and around Palestine that stripped the region of almost all vegetation, the technological invasion of today has come in like a storm, impacting their entire lives and disrupting their time. Back in 1915, the people had no idea how to stop the locusts, and we seem to have no clear plan on how to address the technological impact on our youth. (And us!)
Today many American high school students carry with them, at all times, a mobile device. Small and light, and easy to hide in a classroom, it has the power to disrupt their learning, and every aspect of their life – and at an age, where their self control and patience are still maturing. (Texting, which occurs at alarming rates even in the classroom, reduces participants’ quiz scores by nearly 30%, and also reduces note taking considerably.)
At their finger tips, at all times of the day and night, are messages from both those who love them as well as those who despise them; from those who wish to encourage them as well as from those who wish to take advantage of them. Parents, peers, and even predators, have easy access. By these devices, they can post on Facebook walls both truths and lies for hundreds to see. Their mobile screens can display both the vilest of photographs and messages as well as deeply inspirational views and passages. The world- both what is good and what is evil- is literally at their fingertips. Are they really mature enough to manage this wisely?
We dislike our physical space to be invaded, but we have allowed the spaces in our minds to be invaded and bombarded by intrusions that suffocate and crowd out the capacity to reason and even to pray.
What is this doing to the developing minds of our students and their ability to reason and have self control? Unless we are willing to apply disciplined guidelines regarding the use of technology, these devices will redefine how we and our children spend time, what we focus on and ultimately who we are. Unless we are willing to put tight boundaries into place for our kids, the networks in their brains may develop to merely support distracted thinking rather than concentrated effort.
In this media saturated world, we may be losing more than we realize. It’s time to wake up and seriously consider the impact of the tech invasion on our kids. (More next week regarding the impact on their developing brains.)
- Be diligent to LIMIT the use of cell phones and technology. Otherwise, it tends to fill up every space of time.
- Don’t be naive and complacent by allowing cell phones to be taken into the bedroom at night. Many parents are shocked to discover extensive use during the night hours by their teens. Make a practice of every family member turning in their phones. It’s called accountability.
- Regularly check the history of your kid’s cell phone usage, both texting and calls.
- Set clear expectations in place for kids to carry a phone such as absolutely NO deleting and parental rights to check the phone unannounced. Hold firmly to these expectations.
- DON”T text your students at school unless it is absolutely necessary. Schools find it increasingly difficult to manage cell phone use when parents participate in texting with their kids as well. Set a standard.
- Read Thrilled to Death by Archibald Hart as a family.
- Set aside time each day to pray without distraction. Distraction eats away at prayer, the most powerful action we can participate in. We need to “gird up the loins of our minds.” (1 Peter 1:13)
NOTE: As a school, we are developing strict guidelines for cell phone use both for students and faculty to assist our families in managing this growing issue.
Let your eyes look directly forward, and your gaze be straight before you.
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