I read an article titled “8 Ways Screens Are Ruining Your Family’s Life” based on an interview of more than a thousand children in America, in the Huffington Post. Conducted by a clinical instructor at Harvard, the study was to find out how technology was impacting the lives and relationships of children aged between 4 and 18. The results are interesting, but not very surprising.
It is quite frightening how much we are attached to our smartphones and tablets for both personal and work purposes. I was at an event about tablets in learning and teaching last week, and similar conversations about reliance on technology took place over there. There were people describing their devices as a life partner, something they couldn’t do without. You might laugh at that, like I did, but have a serious think about how much is actually on your device and what would happen if it was taken from you right now. There are many people who use their devices to coordinate every aspect of their lives, from work meetings to social interactions to their personal life and it would be a serious inconvenience for them to be without it.
Although the article raises many valid points about the negative impacts of screen time, I think it is also fair to say that no matter how we like it, this is the future. Children’s (and adults) lives revolve around this technology and as with all things finding a balance is key. As one commenter on the article put it “There’s a difference between seeing a tree on a screen versus climbing one or plucking a fruit off and eating it”.