How Are the Drawbacks of Technology Impacting Us Socially?
The Drawbacks of Technology…
In my last two articles, I summarized a presentation that I recently attended by Dr. Leonard Sax. Leonard Sax highlighted the scary statistics of the increasing levels of depression in our youth today. He quoted a study by Kathy Charles from Napier University who found Facebook to negatively impact people the more they used it. She found an increased number of “friends”, for girls on Facebook, increased the likelihood of depression. I have listened to my teen clients report the same: Facebook causes extra anxiety, as does Instagram and the expectation to be constantly responding to texts.
Did you know that it is common practice, at least in the Vancouver area, for grade 12 girls to “have” to post a photo of their grad dress on Facebook as soon as they buy it, in order that no-one else can buy the same one! This is a challenge for some graduation classes where there are 250 girls! Can you imagine the anxiety this produces?!
Do you know the new word: Instacurity?
Definition of Instacurity: An excessive concern with one’s social media presence, influence, and/or likeability.
Check out this short 2 minute video which depicts young people talking about their “Instacurity”: Instacurity You Tube
Why Has this You Tube Video on the Disconnect of Technology Reached Over 41 Million Views?
The following 5 minute You Tube video poem has over 41 million views and is worth a watch! It presents the extreme perspective of how technology is creating such disconnect between us, and is obviously resonating with people in order for it to be receiving so many views.
Check out: Look Up! by Gary Turk
Of course there are the positive aspects of technology, and as with all things, moderation is the key. Although, Gary Turk unfortunately does use the word “bastard” in his very creative You Tube poem, I did show it to my 11 year old, as it’s a great discussion piece. There’s a love story message that two people may never have met, if the guy had used his phone to find directions, instead of asking the stranger who later became his wife. There’s a friendship message that friends can be sitting together chatting on a couch or sitting in isolation at home, texting each other. There’s a family message about spending connected time with the ones you love and sharing that special moment with just them vs. posting it for hundreds of “friends” on Facebook to see. There’s an overall message, which fits with the research, that the more one relies on social media for connection, the more isolated one truly is.
As with advertising that shows skinny, “beautiful” girls, and buffed-up, muscular, “handsome” men, we need to teach our children that all is not as it seems, as depicted in Dove’s Campaign for “Real Beauty”: The Dove Evolution Video. The Key Discussion Point: Model photos are doctored and social media is an illusion. They do not present 100% reality.
Ironically, as I write about the drawbacks of technology, in today’s post I have given more examples via You Tube than I ever have before! The positive side of technology is that we have the power to spread important messages more efficiently and vividly than ever before, thanks to technology! Gary Turk’s You Tube “Look Up” Poem would not have reached over 41 million people if it wasn’t for technology! As long we are having the discussions with our children and inviting them to use their critical thinking skills, we are teaching them not to accept images at face-value, and to use social media mindfully.
I hope you will take a few minutes to watch the videos and have a discussion with your children and teens.
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