Monday, 30 May 2016

Technology is not the problem... It is how society is misusing the tools

I am a strong believer in the concept that you create your own opportunities and you are in control of what you do at all times.  Blaming technology for making you unhealthy is like blaming McDonalds that you've gained 10 pounds over the winter.  I have never met a McDonalds employee that has held a gun to my head and forced me to eat my Big Mac Meal with medium fries.  I make that choice.

The Huffington post article that Aubrey, Jayme and Jennifer posted almost had me laughing.  I understood what the article was saying but in my mind it is way to much of a common sense versus reality for me.  Staring at my phone creates 60 lbs of pressure on my spine... What about staring at 32 essays for 5 hours a night for 5 nights in a row?  That's my job and I know I look even further down so does that mean the pressure on my neck increases to 70... 80...

To much screen time can put a strain on your eyes... really.  See above.

There was a section I did agree with in that HP article where it talked about shutting off your devices before you sleep.  Of course, it is like keeping the TV on and then trying to sleep all night.  It just doesn't work.

Finally the article links to how the tech we are using is slowing changing our brain function.  This links to their youtube video:
This piece of the article linked with the video very well, but again it goes back to how each individual needs to control their own actions.  I understand that within our society it is becoming to be more difficult to make that conscious choice, but I also feel like I have to make a similar choice when I go out with friends for drinks on a Friday evening.  If I have had a couple beers and I even think I have become impaired I need to make that choice to call a cab or Zero8 (not so shameless plug... these guys are my favorite people after a night out on the town).  Very similar to I need to make the decision not to post my entire life online, or become succumbed with needing social media to substantiate who I am.

Finally I come to the obesity argument.  I have a hard time placing blame on a device when it is the parent/child's responsibility to make the healthy choices.  I feel our society needs a little bit of a kick in the back side when it comes to being active.  We need to make the choice, and stop blaming technology.  Steve made a comment about how certain apps are misused and people are cheating while using them.  I am sure many people are, but again, this is a personal choice.  If a person truly wants to improve themselves they will learn the self discipline needed to improve.  The only person to blame is the one entering the information into the tool.   Steve later went on to discuss how kids are wearing fitness monitors from boxes of cereal because our society is too sedentary.  I agree with that, but is a fitness monitor not a better "prize" then the crappy little plastic maze game that we used to receive?  At least the companies are attempting to give the kids purpose to exercise.

The Livestrong article about Obesity in Children makes a good point that technology increases snacking.  I've done it.... a lot.  But choosing what you are snacking on is a huge part of a lifestyle.  My wife loves her chips, and I am the lactose intolerant ice cream fiend, but the way we get around the habitual snacking is simple.  DON'T BUY THE CRAP!  Self control.

The disagree side came at this from a strong stand point that I feel I am with strongly.  They used the article Determining the Effects of Technology on Children and within that article Sherry Turkle is quoted “I’ve tried to get across that computers are not good or bad – they’re powerful… I think we’re getting ourselves in a lot of trouble thinking there’s an Internet or a web that has an impact on children”.  Technology is not the problem it is how we are choosing to use the tech that is creating a poor lifestyle.  The article continues to talk about the benefits of tech in a classroom (which I wish I found for our debate), and talks about how tech is supposed to be a supplement to good teaching.  So how can a teaching tool be detrimental to ones health?  Is a textbook going to make me sick if I read it?

The article on Researcher: Forget Internet Abstinence; Teens Need some Online Risk was eye opening and to me I feel like it is a very teachable moment.  We have talked about digital citizenship and how we need to be teaching our students not only to be good citizens but also to carry themselves in a positive manner in their digital worlds as well.  The interconnected world is becoming closer and closer every day and I feel it is everyone's responsibility to help keep kids safe.  So maybe a little bit of work on how to stay safe online is a  good thing.

This article pairs amazing with the disagree sides last post with the list of videos.   Each one demonstrates how we as teachers can be helping our students become better digital citizens.  I have students working on an inquiry project right now around the future of social media and it's security features to help aid in the reduction of cyber bullying and decrease the amount of self harm done due to online bullies.

All in all I have to disagree with the argument that technology is making our kids unhealthy.  I am sorry if I was a little blunt but we need to teach students (and sometimes parents) that each person is responsible for their actions.