How is technology changing us?
Technology is everywhere. It seems like we eat it, sleep it, breathe it. Many of us wake up to the radio or television, use our cell phones and computers all day long at work, then come home to answer phone calls, emails and surf the web while our children play video games, or watch t.v.
But do we fully know how all that technology is affecting us? It is clearly redefining how we interact with our world, and to our children.
In a recent Times Magazine article entitled, “Quality Time Redefined,” Alex Williams talks about how technology is changing how we interact as a family. He writes, “Ms. Vavra, a cosmetics industry executive in Manhattan, looked up from her iPad, where she was catching up on the latest spring looks at Refinery29.com, and noticed that her husband, Michael Combs, was transfixed, streaming the N.C.A.A. men’s basketball tournament on his laptop. Their son, Tom, 8, was absorbed by the Wii game Mario Kart on the widescreen television. Their daughter, Eve, 10, was fiddling with a game app called the Love Calculator on an iPod Touch. ‘The family was in the same room, but not together,” Ms. Vavra recalled.'”
Not only is technology changing how we interact, but it also could be changing how we develop. More and more professionals are becoming concerned about both the benefits and consequences of technology on the developing brain. In fact the American Academy of Pediatrics has guidelines for when and how much technology children should use. For instances infants should not have any exposure to television before age two. Considering that a recent study by the Kaiser Family Foundation reports that children between the ages of 8 to 18 spend on average over 7 hours of their day engaged with some form of media, it is overdue that we start paying attention to just how technology is affecting us.
The International Network for Children and Families will be offering a webinar for parents in August on this topic. In the meantime, we strongly encourage parents to visit the Healthy Children Website powered by the American Academy of Pediatrics for information on children and media.