When considering if I feel that the internet is making today’s youth more unhealthy or not, three things come to mind.
#1) Yes it most definitely IS.
#2 ) Technology is not the only problem. Increased exposure to fast and processed foods, raising costs in sports and recreation fees, having both mothers and fathers working full-time jobs, all contribute to the devastating decline in the health of today’s youth, along with many other factors. Technology, once again, is only ‘part’ of the problem.
#3) It is not just youth that are being affected by the amount of time people spend on the internet. Children, teenagers, adults, and even seniors (insert vision of my Grandmother watching the Gameshow network all day long) are all contributing to this Global problem.
Being a person who loves sports and the outdoors, I have some pretty strong opinions on whether I feel the internet has made our children unhealthy. First, I think it’s important to point out, that like Kristina Hatch’s article suggests, there are definitely aspects of technology that are better preparing our children for tomorrow, especially in the increasingly digital world that we live in. However, I don’t feel that the good is so far superior to the damage it is also inevitably creating in our world.
This week’s debate team, along with author Lindsay Holmes, gives a very specific list of some of the health concerns that arise from overexposure to the internet. Some of these concerns include: wrecking your spine due to bad posture, increase of blemishes due to bacteria building up on phones, lowered sperm count, and strained eyes, just to name a few.
Additionally, like Asap Science’s Youtube video points out, social media has proven to be addictive. Getting ‘likes’, and ‘page hits’ create a feeling of gratification that keep internet users coming back for more. This addiction has been labelled a psychological addiction rather than a substance addiction, however, the negative impact can be extremely consuming. We have to admit it, we are all victims of this to some extent. This class is a prime example of that. I know that I, for example, am always curious to see who I have sucked in to reading my latest blog. With classroom blogs, I love watching to see how many parents actually log in to see what we have been doing. When the results are favourable, the feeling is great. However, on the flip side, when you shoot, you wait, and dog gone it, you far from score, and nobody reads what you’ve written, the feeling of disappointment lurks behind like a tail on a dog. There’s not much you can do about it…. except minimize how much time you devote to spending online.
Additionally, the Livestrong article, also pointed out that nearly one third of America’s children are obese in today’s world. Together with this article, the debating teams also acknowledged that children are spending upwards of seven hours a day in front of screens. ANDDDDD Huston, we have a problem! (Play the video PLAY THE VIDEO!!!)
Even Steve Jobs didn’t think that children should be getting access to iPads and devices as much as they are today.
So where do we go from here? Technology is far from going away. In time, we are only going to continue to get more surrounded by this digitally charged world. If exergaming is the closest to getting exercise that one can get, it’s a place to start, or it can be part of the bigger picture. It’s not all on it’s own bad, but it just shouldn’t be “everything”.
I once heard a parent say that they never ever told their child they couldn’t have their device… but the rule in their house was, before you get it, you need to earn the time you want to spend on it, by playing outside for the number of minutes you wanted to be on the device. So, before getting the iPad for an hour, they had to go outside and play for an hour to earn that time. As my children begin to grow, this system seems like a decent idea. My colleague Kyle Ottenbreit, notes that while he does not feel personally responsible for what students do on their own time outside of the classroom, it would be beneficial if society as a whole created an awareness to the dangers that can occur as a result of too much screen time. He also suggested watching a video on nature that has 2.7 million views to date. PEOPLE, GO OUTSIDE! You don’t need a video to get the drift! That being said, nice touch Kyle! It was funny.
At the end of the day, we need to maintain balance. We need to find a way to keep up with this digital world, but still maximize the non-digital opportunities and adventures that life has to offer. Now go outside, take a big breath of fresh air, and get back to your blogging my friends! 🙂