We often hear that people spend too much time on their phones, on social media, on their I-Pads, and I can agree with that to an extent. BUT, is it really as bad as some make it out to be?
How often do you spend on your phone in a day? How many times do you check your social media accounts? Instagram? Snapchat? Reddit?
(Flickr Photo by Jon Fingas)
I admit to checking my phone quite a few times a day. I mostly check Facebook and recently I find myself having to check Twitter due to a Digital Literacy class that I’m taking.
I personally spend quite a bit of time on my computer during the week, but that’s because I’m a college student and my classes have primarily been online. I dislike how often I’m tethered to my computer, but it’s going to be worth it when I finally earn my degree. I honestly don’t think I would be attending college right now if technology didn’t give me the access that I have now to all of my classes.
You see, technology isn’t necessarily all bad.
Paul Miller had an excellent TED Talk explaining his year off from the internet and what he learned. Here are some important points that I took from watching his video.
*Ask yourself if the internet is changing your behavior. If it’s having a negative effect, it’s time to make a change in the way you are using it and how often you are using it.
*Don’t let the internet distract you from what’s important.
*Accessing the internet can help build relationships with friends and family and help keep you up to date on what is going on in their lives.
*The internet allows us to make connections with people that would not be possible without the internet.
*It’s not the internet’s fault. You’re in charge of your own life and you get to choose how much time you spend on it and what you do with that time.
*Find a good balance. Prioritize your life.
Miller had many excellent points. He reminded people that we can’t let the internet be the center of our lives, BUT that there are also positives that can occur when we have access to the internet. Case in point, he talked about being able to watch his niece and nephew perform on their violins on Skype, which would not have been possible without technology.
I personally have found that social media has helped me build relationships and keep in touch with others that live hours away. For example, I use technology to stay in touch with my grandmother in North Dakota, as we connect on Facebook and we also play Word With Friends together. Since my grandfather died last year, it’s been tough being so far away, but technology has allowed us to video chat, play games, and share pictures and messages. Our relationship has grown thanks to technology.
I’ve also found that technology has allowed me to connect with and get to know other people. I’m an introvert, I’m shy, and I have social anxiety. Social situations are difficult for me, but social media allows me to have conversations with others that might not have been possible if I met them face to face.
Today’s students won’t know a world without technology at their finger tips and that doesn’t necessarily have to be seen as a bad thing. We need to help students find a healthy balance. We need to help them prioritize. We need to teach them to be good digital citizens, because technology isn’t going anywhere anytime soon.
As long as we don’t find ourselves in a “The Machine Stops” kind of world, then I think we’ll be okay. 😉