digital balancing.



"The sharp increase in digital use suggests that most young people prefer the interactive enticements of on-line browsing to old-fashioned reading. This is not surprising for an age group readily attracted to the edgey, the excessive and the titillating. As economist Tyler Cowan says,"When access to information is easy, we tend to favour the short, the sweet and the bitty." The trend toward the superficial and the abbbreviated, fostered by the inherently beguiling nature of handheld devices, poses a real threat to helping young people learn how to think....
Unless young people shut out, at least to some degree, the outer stimuli that surround them and that are constantly vying for their attention, they have little chance for experiencing true introspection.....
Faced with these choices, young people are constantly being lured away from undistracted quiet, away from contemplative moments."
_ "Teenage technoholics: The Digital Revolution, it's Effect on Your Children and What Parents Can Do" by David Sloan, published in the Spring/Summer edition of "Renewal."

The excitement and sparkle of the girls' belly-dancing performance over the weekend.

Pondering technological engagement and introspection for myself and the girls.
I don't do TV or facebook or twitter or even have internet access on my cellphone. I feel the pressure, especially with facebook but I just keep choosing to "miss out" on that.
I do love the community of bloggers I have found on the internet but there is a fine line between the technological engagement filling me up and tipping into being a drain.
I have recently started to track my time on the computer since with emails and blogging I can find myself on the computer at night rather than doing things I would rather be doing, having quiet time or just going to bed. Tracking the time makes it more conscious.
For the girls, now and again they watch a movie. The old-fashioned, slow-paced movies, often musicals, are their favourites and what we keep coming back to again and again; Polyanna, Mary Poppins, The Secret Garden, The Wizard of Oz.
That's the level of their technological engagement and we are good with that.
Childhood is a short window of time.
Delaying the allure of digital technology means there is more time to play.
Delaying it means we have more space to grow a relationship with the real world and the people in it.
Delaying it also means that we have the time to build a relationship with ourselves in the quiet moments between.
We figure that this will give them a more solid foundation for when the time comes that they choose to step out into that technological highway.
Where do you find your balance with the digital world?

5 comments:

  1. I do agree we need to be thoughtful and conscious, but I tend to view technology as a tool, rather than a drain. Reading books is not inherently good if you only choose to read trashy romance novels. I think the content is much more important than the format. Personally, I use my iTouch as an alternative, accessible reading format that helps when my eyes are too tired to read print. With it, I can read the deepest, most thought-provoking material, some of it published hundreds of years ago. With it, I have access to hundreds of amazing books I could not read before. I use Facebook and Twitter to keep in touch with friends who I seldom see, but I don't really enjoy idle chatter or shallow games, so these don't consume my time. I have met a lovely group of unschoolers on Facebook, for example, and I gain a lot of support and information from them. I do also enjoy time outdoors and quality time with "real" people; many encounters which are set up via Facebook. I think the digital tools can be powerful when used wisely, and to me, avoiding them altogether would mean missing out on information and opportunities I enjoy. That being said, however, I don't fault people who prefer not to spend time online or who dislike the interface style of the popular social networks. I don't enjoy talking on the telephone. It's a preference. That's how I see it.

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  2. Great response Erin. Thanks. I guess I find it a drain when my engagement turns to passive consumption; skipping from link to link similar i guess to channel hopping. I agree about the content versus format argument but I do find all this social media leaves many people distracted and scattered.
    I too agree with using it wisely and i'm not seeing a lot of that around with screens in so many of our public spaces etc. i'm left wondering what we are loosing.

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  3. I have been thinking about this since I read it the other day.

    I think the key is in your answer to Erin.
    The issue isn't the tool...it's when engagement turns to passive consumption.
    It's the motivation for the use of technology that is the issue not the technology itself.
    I think disengagement, which is widely blamed on technology, started way before the information charge took hold. I would peg it back to the break down of families caused by industrialisation and schooling.
    I'm not sure what we're losing, but I believe all things are cyclical, and that as technology encroaches the inevitable backlash will occur and the movement 'back to basics' will strengthen.
    I think the balance lies where you personally are comfortable with it...as with all areas of your life. It's definitely not one size fits all.

    I still wish they'd take the playstations and kids games out of the library though ;)

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  4. Oh I love these long comments that encourage reflection. This has really helped me move forward Darnia - thanks. I agree - "I would peg it back to the break down in families caused by industrialisation and schooling" - so often contemporary issues are rooted back further than we sometimes care to look. "What you are personally comfortable with" is where it's at for me - I feel like I balance so many interactions in my every day life that i can't imagine managing more with more digital engagement. I'm sure there are people who are able to coordinate a beautiful dance around all of these digital involvements or have less in their everyday lives.

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