As many of us reunite and spend quality time with loved ones from across the country and around the globe, it is important to reflect on how our human connections are being altered by our technological connections. The truth is, we simply don’t know enough about how the frequency or quality of our technology use is changing basic human interactions and behaviors. In a recent op-ed in the New York Times, businessman and author, Tony Schwartz, offered an honest yet troubling account of what he calls his “addiction” to technology. Although the medical and research fields have not come to a clear consensus on what constitutes “technology addiction,” the behavior Schwartz describes is remarkably familiar to those of us who are on our devices more than we know we ought to be.
As we embrace exciting new technological innovations, it is important to articulate the need for balance in our media and technology use and to promote the new research so that we can all make informed decisions, both for ourselves and for our children. What is the impact of technology use on empathy? How can we develop strategies to minimize the cognitive costs associated with multitasking? How does media use affect our face-to-face communication?
As parents, we want to find ways to use media to support healthy development, learning, and community building. But we can’t begin to make sense of what these technological changes mean for kids until we understand what’s being used and for how long and how kids feel about technology and media . From there, we must delve deeper to understand how our technology is changing the way we live. We, at Common Sense, are committed to continue to do the research to inform and educate parents, kids and educators about the impact of technology on our kids, and we are committed to ensuring that kids stay at the forefront of our government’s policy initiatives.
We wish you and your family a healthy and happy holiday season,