Halloween is here and the number one boogeyman out there is TECHNOLOGY.
I feel as though every article I read, click on, and download is another study proving how smart phones and Facebook are single-handedly ruining our youth.
I recently read a response to a pretty good, fairly written article, where the author posits that an entire family went down the tubes because of the early use of the Internet and texting. All sorts and types of behavior were caused by early texting: tantrums, refusing to listen or cooperate, early sexual behavior, etc. Well, I felt my head explode a little and this is what I wrote:
There is heaps and heaps of evidence about obesity/poor health related to the lack of movement brought on by technology, and lack of connection in families, lack of communication in families, etc. There are new studies to look at “fired together, wired together” brain changes in young children who are exposed to new technology sooner. It’s all there. Don’t even get us started on the pedophiles that Chris Hanson awaits…(all found on the…wait for it…Internet)
I believe these studies to be true. Or have a ring of “truthiness,” at least.
And most of me feels like “meh.” Why? Well, geez, everyone in every culture saw the downfall of humanity, and their youth, with every new invention. You can find scads of literature on the warnings and dire consequences from the introduction of the phone, the car, the TV, the computer, you name it. And yet, by hook or crook, our crazed humanity marches on. Maybe a little more distracted, but it marches on.
I think that parents are facing NOT the battle of technology, but the battle of values, limits, and boundaries. It is not texting or sexting or friending or IMing that invades us as much as how our mettle is tested, in terms of how we live our own lives and how we see it played out. Food, TV, alcohol, computers, smart phones…they are all PLEASURE devices, and we are parents are mostly just as addicted as our kids, but then we blame the culture. WE are the culture. These obese, drunk, high zombie texting kids are ours.
Adler spoke of connection and how everyone seeks to have a real connection in this life, to do real work. Technology makes our children more globally connected than anyone living on this earth before. The possibilities for what they can learn, where they can go, whom they can touch, are vast, amazing, and exciting. And connection IS ultimately human to human, even if it is typed and even if it emoticon-ed. What is most important is that parents wake up to the connections in their own home.
Yes, put in the Spyware and put the computer in a place everyone can see it, but are you loving with your spouse? Do you connect with friends? Do you see extended family? Do you have a faith system that brings traditions? Do you belong to groups that bring tradition? Do you pursue passions that connect you to others who share your values? Do you volunteer? Do you eat together as a family? Do you hug and kiss and say “I love you?” If the parents answer no, I am less concerned with the smart phone and more concerned with the parents.
Show me a family where they say technology is the main issue and I show you a family where the tech is the symptom, not the problem.