Wednesday, January 9, 2013

I Love Technology, But Are Those Worrisome People Right?

Like many of you, I have read several articles in the past year that reeks of worrisome parents and teachers about the overuse of technology and the distractions our students and children face in today’s world of technology.  Now I usually scoffed at this idea and always cheered on the use of handheld devices, texting, social media, and instant access to the digital world.  I firmly believe in the freedom this attitude encourages, but like everything wonderful it does come with a price and extra responsibilities.  Driving a car requires a license and lessons in safety. Shouldn't the frequent use of technology demand some lessons about attention skills, time management, and safety? Recently, I have witnessed how distracting our handheld devices can be for kids.  

I heard it firsthand from a high school student at a school in the thick of a 1 to 1 environment with ipads.  “It’s a huge distraction!” She said.  “I often find myself getting on Twitter when I am supposed to be reading an article online.”  I saw it this week in a classroom.  A student decided to play a round of Angry Birds on his cell phone while his ipad was downloading a pdf.  I experience it every afternoon when I am asking my son to do his homework instead of texting people from his school.  

It is a huge responsibility and we must take the time to talk about it with our students and our children.  Just like any lesson that is worth revisiting, it is important to raise our kid’s awareness of how they are spending their time and the outcomes of their choices.  I love hearing about families that totally unplug for vacations.  I have to be honest, I have tried it and even I can’t do it 100%.  Maybe that is the key-  the happy medium.  Our kids need to know that every text message isn’t critical.  That people and angry birds can wait.  

The ability to stop and focus on what is right in front of us is so important.  It helps generate quality work, creative ideas, safe roads, not to mention less stress and pressure in the moment.  Just in the time I have taken to write this post my ipad has beeped at me three times and my phone has vibrated five.  It’s all I can do to not touch it.  Quite simply put, things can wait.  It’s a lesson we must master and we must teach.  How long can you stand to just leave it alone?  I gotta go, my phone is ringing.  

Written By: Jennifer Krzystowczyk


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