March Slice Challenge #17
from NYTimes.com Reading Club article
How do phones affect your life? According to this month’s Scholastic Scope magazine, in more ways than you may have considered. The article was about “digital distraction” and how leading neuroscientists are worried about the negative effects of being around technology constantly.
Statistics have shown that phone related accidents have become a major health problem. The author cited stories about a teen being killed by a car while using her smartphone when stepping into a crosswalk; a boy who suffered a severe concussion when he walked into a telephone phone; and another teen who fell off a bridge because he was distracted by his phone. It’s concerning to think about how dangerous our devices can be if we’re not careful when using them. It’s very easy to get distracted and zone out. I am definitely guilty of getting lost in the world of my smartphone only to realize that someone was trying to talk to me.
Another interesting point in the article was how our smartphones make it harder to focus and get work done. It compared our brains to a computer in the way they need time to reboot when “powered down.” For the human brain, it takes about 30 minutes to get into deep concentration for writing an essay. If you’re distracted by your smartphone, and you pause to check your social network updates, or take a quick picture to post to Instagram, it will take you longer to get back on task and get your work done. As I type this blog post, I am trying to resist looking at my phone to see what notification just sounded.
Constant interruptions and even distractions from notifications can make me irritable and cranky. Especially since I enjoy peace and quiet when I’m writing and trying to think. I’ve often wondered if our increasingly digital world was unhealthy for us; however, I didn’t want to sound like the grownups I remember who always said things like, “I remember when I was little and we didn’t have….” “Times were simpler then and better because…” I didn’t want to sound like I had a case of the technology jitters but when leading experts cite studies like the ones in this article, it makes me wonder if the way this generation uses technology really is different…and not in a good way.
I found it especially interesting to read about how no one seems to be bored anymore because of our technology. I wonder if that’s really true. I think we definitely have more ways to distract ourselves from boredom but I’ve been bored with technology plenty of times. There are times when I can’t look at another status update, blog post, or photo online. I think we can still be bored.
I also think we can still be creative despite being bored less.
That being said, I LOVE the times when I am unplugged and have an excuse to ignore all of the digitial distraction. I forgot my mobile phone at home this afternoon when I was running errands with my family. Not being able to text, check things online, or take photos of my son helped me stay more in the moment, and enjoy my time with my family more today.
It all comes back to making choices and finding balance in life. Especially with the use of technology. As we become a BYOT school, this is important to remember. I am excited about the BYOT program! But I know it’s important to unplug to connect with each other, too. As a classroom, we will need to strike a balance and help each other.