I’ve been listening in on discussions in the last month of the outcome of a study by Cigna, a US health company. Among many things, it shares data on what appears to be “the loneliest generation,” largely as result of a way of communicating and thinking very different from generations before them.
An edgy public speaker I follow that talks about communication, writing, and media threw this out in a recent presentation: “I’m convinced that one day we will look back on adolescents and pre-adolescents having free range access to devices and data access without limits in the same way currently think back on the days of kids wandering around moving cars without seat belts.”
Clearly, this is a relatively new matter in the world of parenting and education without years of experience of how to put things in their rightful spot. At minimum, the growing consensus among is that technology not only changes how we connect, but more significantly how we think. As we track a generation of learners who progress through childhood, adolescence, and young adult years, information is surfacing about trends we need to pay attention to.
Some good questions for all parents to consider:
• How much time does my child spend with all of the “screens” in their life?
• What’s the ratio of real-life interactions vs. e-communication in my child’s life?
• When are they consuming vs creating?
• Is there sufficient downtime in my child’s life when they don’t have to be socially “on”?
• Are there understood boundaries, limits, or other constraints about how much, where, and about what that they communicate?
Do we talk about these things in our household and check up on habit the same way we check
for other signs of health (or lack of it) in a child’s life? Our children are waiting for us to help them through this very recent cultural change. Parents and educators alike are quick to tell you they have personal experience that proves they can’t do it on their own. Let’s commit ourselves to
watching carefully and using faithful discernment of how to live life God’s way.
P.S. On this topic, I highly recommend The Tech-Wise Family: Everyday Steps for Putting Technology in Its Proper Place by Andy Crouch.