“Honestly, I sometimes truly wish that ‘tools’ such as the iPhone (or any smartphone), laptops, iPads, tablets, etc. hadn’t been invented. Sure, they’re great, incredibly useful, and fun time-killers. But the way teenagers abuse them, and turn them into mini social control rooms is frankly awful.”
You might think that this is the latest Louder Seminars rant, however that statement actually comes from the mouth of a Tenth Grade student in Seattle, USA!
To put it bluntly, we live in a society where technology and social media can actually destroy us, yet we also need it to stay connected and we would probably be quite lost without it!
Recently when I spent time asking young people some questions about what troubles them; one of the things that came up was the constant wrestle with technology. The students said that they wanted to be trained and educated in technology and taught how to utilise it in a safer way.
It is a constant battle and one that we cannot ignore or pretend that it will just go away. We need to address this topic and our seminar ‘Did you say something?’ does just that. It tackles the pros and cons of the social media, tech savvy world and teaches students some of the keys to real relationships, communication and social media etiquette.
Sure there are some disadvantages of technology, many acknowledged by students themselves, such as; it lacks emotional connection, it gives people a license to be hurtful, it decreases face-to-face communication skills, it disables the ability to understand the tone of the message being sent, it causes major distractions, is proven to cause a lack of sleep and it causes you to compare your ‘normal’ with everybody else’s highlights reel.
However, there are also some great advantages, again identified by students, such as; breaking the ice on new relationships, communicating with friends and family who are far away, having greater and faster access to information than ever before, reminders for important events, disseminating world-wide news on a constant basis and some even said it helps them with their spelling due to auto-correct – not sure how you English teachers feel about that one?
Teens are exposed to an average of eight and a half hours of multitasking electronic media per day. Research shows that multitasking social media can be as addictive as drugs, alcohol, and chemical substance abuse and that milkshake-multitasking interferes with clear thinking and decision-making, which lowers self-control and leads to rash, impulsive buying and poor eating decisions. (Dr Caroline Leaf ‘Switch on Your Brain’)
These students do not want to be told why they should not be on social media; they want our help to train them in the more effective use of this technology. Most of us know that teenagers don’t necessarily want, or openly ask for boundaries, but we also know that they need them and feel safe within boundaries. We want to help students understand the value of boundaries when it comes to social media and technology and we want to empower them to set some in their own life.
It is imperative that we train this generation well, help them to understand the dangers but also the benefits and empower them to make good choices in their own use of technology and social media.
We would love to hear from you to help us in our research and to better address the needs at hand, simply reply to this email; what are some of the struggles that you have encountered with young people and technology or perhaps that you personally face in trying to better educate students in their use of it?
We look forward to hearing from you, have a great week!
(Sources: Psychology Today, Roots of Action, Dr Caroline Leaf ‘Switch on your Brain’)
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