Device Devotion is “Tech”nically Not the Only Problem

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.

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Photo Credit: Adrian Salgado via Compfight cc

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!!!)

(source)

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! 🙂

 

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12 thoughts on “Device Devotion is “Tech”nically Not the Only Problem

  1. I agree that there needs to be balance. I also agree with your three opening statements. Especially numbers 2 and 3. I think that there are so many other factors that come into play when we talk about what is making people unhealthy. Our households look a lot different today than they did 20-30 years ago. In most households both parents are working, or there may be single parent households which both require a lot of work. I feel like our kids are involved in more outside of school than they were in the past as well so it seems like it’s always go go go for some families. For some people, it is easier to grab some fast food and feed our kids on the go then to meal prep and plan to eat healthy. Society has made it so easy to be unhealthy. Even the billboards that we see with ‘beautiful’ men and women send us messages that lead to us being unhealthy. We do need to encourage our kids and students to go outside and play. I like the idea of making kids earn their screen time. I think that we are trying to be more aware and make better choices when it comes to screen time and our kids. We just need to keep moving in the right direction.

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  2. I think the idea of kids getting outside is crucial. While we cannot control what the kids do on their own time, we do often suffer the consequences when student’s engage in no physical activity or socialization for extended periods of time. I can often tell you exactly what my student’s were up to on the weekend based on the first few minutes of our daily routine. I continuously encourage my students to get outside and play.

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    1. That’s funny. I think it’s a teacher super power. I can totally pick out the students who have stayed up watching tv late at night and those who haven’t had any fresh air in eons either!!

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  3. I appreciated how you brought up the fact that it is not merely teens or students that are affected by technology. I have seen many adults who are constantly on their phones or allowing their kids to be plugged into technology for a ridiculous amount of time throughout the day. If parents and adults are modelling this behaviour for kids and teens, what can we really expect? It is an incredibly important topic you bring up, and I really enjoyed reading your stance on it! Thanks for sharing!

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  4. In a perfect world, I would love to model a love of being outdoors and being active in a way that inspires kids to WANT to be outside just as much as they want to be in front of a screen. Maybe that’s wishful thinking!

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