Posted in ECI 830

Unplugging from technology….Is this the answer?

 We have become too dependent on technology and what we really need is to unplug.

The topic for our last debate was thought provoking to say the least. This idea had me looking at whether or not I am too dependent on technology. I quickly came to the conclusion that I fear many of us would. Yes!

cartoon

Source

I came across an article where you can check 7 signs we are too dependent on technology. Do any of these scenarios connect to you?

  1. If the internet is down, work is over for the day.
  2. Buyer’s remorse is much more common.
  3. You don’t live in the moment.
  4. Nobody knows a phone number.
  5. You are dreading having to break up with your significant other face-to-face.
  6. Brick and mortar stores are going the way of dinosaurs.
  7. Without your phone, you feel naked.

When the internet is down, luckily I’ve had plenty of experience. By now I have figured out how to continue on with my day without it causing too much of a disruption. I’ve definitely had buyer’s remorse, moments where I don’t live in the moment, I know very few numbers in my contacts and I do feel naked without my phone. I’m not sure if there is too much I can do about it, but being aware of my dependency is part of the battle we struggle with weekly after participating in the debates.

The agree side of the debate argued that social media is actually an anti-social network. The article, Text or Talk; Is Technology Making You Lonely? describes the impact social media has on making connections based on more than just an “app” and the loss of building personal connections and having actual face to face conversations. Quantity does not mean quality is certainly true for me. I have many friends on Facebook (Quantity) but I make a point of spending time with family and friends face to face (quality). I enjoy it immensely and I can’t imagine not making time for people who are important to me.  Internet was not around until after I was already an adult. I grew up only socializing in person, on the phone or the odd time, I wrote a letter. In many ways, I am very thankful that I didn’t have to grow up in a time of social media and You Tube. I can’t imagine what my digital footprint would look like today. Of course, it would be clean as a whistle!

digital footprint

Photo Credit:giulia.forsythe on Flickr (cc)

“Another recent study found that 48% of respondents only had one confidant compared to a similar study 25 years ago when people said they had about three people they could confide in.”

I found this finding interesting because I always wonder why? It would be much more difficult and complex to build sincere and life long friendships in a world of social media. Children say so many things that are cruel and mean to their friends and classmates. Sometimes to their face, but now these comments are said on social media. How can you trust someone at such a young age when you are trying to build relationships scattered out there for everyone to see?

Allison Graham’s Ted talk touches on many of the points discussed in this debate. Take a moment to watch if you haven’t already.

Another article the agree side shared was another interesting read. I found this quote really stood out to me.

“Compared to reading a newspaper or calling a friend for a long chat on the phone, social media encourages brief, unfocused, multitasking-friendly “check ins” rather than long periods of absorption.”

This is very well said and is absolutely right (in my opinion). If 93% of communication is nonverbal and only 7% is in writing, it is no wonder that studies are showing that social media is making people more lonely even though they have the MOST friends and or likes on Facebook.

The article also discuses the negative impact technology is having on people emotionally, mentally, and physically.

As the article points out, If multitasking and constant email cause a lack of productivity, negatively impact social relationships, and increase overall stress, can simply abstaining from using technology reverse these negative consequences? The simple answer, according to most research, is “yes.”

Finding time to unplug and take a break from technology is becoming a new trend. It makes sense that our brain needs time to rest and be given the opportunity to store short term memories. Due to these new found struggles with technology it is becoming more essential to take some time to “reboot.” There is now a National Day of Unplugging, special getaway experiences where real-life activities and bonding experiences are offered to help with the “withdrawal” of technology. One popular example is Camp Grounded in California where tech overloaded individuals participate in a gadget-free weekend.

 

Camp grounded

Source: Camp Grounded

I have no doubt that technology is here to stay, and with that, learning to adapt and adjust to this ever changing tech world rapidly whizzing by and surrounding us, will continuously be a struggle. Unplugging completely or for long periods of time is likely not the answer for me but I’d certainly consider it if the opportunity presented itself. I liked how Erin has set goals for herself and plans to take regular breaks from technology for short periods throughout each day.

To end off my final blog, I hope you take a moment to watch this inspiring, short video that I hope (but doubt) will be a reality some day. Enjoy!

http://www.edu.gov.on.ca/eng/about/excellent.html

 

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Author:

My name is Jennifer and I am a Grade 4/5 teacher with the Regina Public School Board. I am taking my 8th class towards my Master's degree in Curriculum and Instruction. EC&I 833 Foundations of Educational Technology: History, Theory, and Practice.

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