Often flustered parents will ask me about the effects constant social networking has on their children’s developing minds. This is certainly an issue of growing concern for many of us. Yesterday’s New York Times‘ cover story was a deep dive on adolescents growing up in the age of perpetual distraction.
*The Kaiser Family Foundation found that 56% of young people (8 to 18) are using technology “some” or “most” of the time.
*Among lower socio-economic classes, computers were used as a form of escape rather than as a tool for education.
*Playing video games negatively affected sleep and learning much more so than the technological bad boy of yesterday—television.
*The brain requires rest and downtime to “synthesize information, make connections between ideas and even develop the sense of self.” ‘Downtime is to the brain what sleep is to the body,’ said Dr. Rich of Harvard Medical School.”
Kids couldn’t pull themselves away from Facebooking or video games to devote focused attention to their studies and were struggling academically as a result. The effects were not just intellectual—one young man admitted he hadn’t exercised in two years.
The quiet question the article kept asking was where was all this frenetic connected action leading to?
One solution which wasn’t discussed was using attention-developing tools like meditation to calm the inner frenzy and cultivate focus. Its my hope that instead of being pushed along by the tide of unrelenting information that we proactively develop ourselves to have a more assertive relationship with the technological forces that surround us.
What do you think?
The whole article is here.