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The Era of Technology: The Case for Digital Dementia

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

By Chad McCoy

Technology: The necessary evil; sometimes. It is almost impossible to go throughout your day without relying or using technology. Let me rephrase that: It is impossible. At least 10 times a day I find myself checking my fancy, spancy iPhone for one reason or another; unless I’m at work. I never check it at work, boss. Sometimes this checking is for pleasure whereas other times it’s for business. Now usually I wouldn’t give this another thought as I am a great proprietor and advocate for technology, but it appears that recently I have over indulged. Keep in mind I’m a 28-year old adult male.

Now think about your children. How much of their life is encapsulated with technology? They get up, check their Facebooks, Instagrams, Twitterings, or get to Tumblr-ing and Snapchatting almost immediately. They carry their phones or versatile tablets to school and continue the routine of checking with almost OCD-esque timing all under the guise that it betters their education. We are so concerned with our online persona that many times we get stuck in that routine rather than living our own lives.

Again, I come from the beginning of a generation that really took to technology and ran with it. By the time I was 16 the first iPhone hit the scene changing the way we viewed cell phones ever since. These truly are “smart phones.” We have the world at our fingertips. A better part of my arguments with friends are solved by my good friend Siri. What does blitzkrieg refer? I’m sure your phone can tell ya. How do I find the square footage of my bedroom? Wolfram Alpha can solve that! Our lives are made easier due to this technology, but I’m beginning to wonder at what cost.

One study published recently points to the idea that our memories are hindered of specific events because we’re trying to take photographs. The idea is that we disengage parts of our memory system by not allowing ourselves to partake. We can’t recall certain aspects, because we never recognized their existence. That’s a troubling thought. If by simply taking pictures can hinder memory I wonder how the other aspects of technology are affecting us. Possibly we are unable to make strong relationships because we are investing in our online life. We don’t develop the appropriate social skills necessary for the real world because only view others as another account on a website or because we simply are not there. Of course with all good things in moderation, this probably could be rectified.

For the next week, mentally monitor your time on technology. How much time are you spending? Do you put down your laptop to simply pick up your smart phone? What other things would you do with that time if you had an accurate representation? Would you spend time with your family? Would you have a “No Tech Night” at your house so you can foster relationships more than just screen deep? Take the time to spend with your family, friends, whoever. This could free you up to read more than simply the Book of Face. You may hear tweets rather than just read them.

If you’re a parent, this may be simple, but for your teen this may be more difficult. Selling this idea will be tough. That’s their lifeline! How they interact with the world. You’ll just need to make that a priority and an expectation of your child. Read a similar book and share your thoughts about it. Go for a walk and discuss your day. Have them help make dinner and enjoy it together. A little time away from their tech may open the door for you and your teen to have a relationship.

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