In the Tech Bubble
Prediction: This is going to turn out to be a major issue in a decade or two:
Smart phones, MP3 players, laptops and other devices are the air kids breathe — perhaps too deeply, judging from a new study that shows children ages 8 to 18 devote an average of seven hours and 38 minutes a day consuming some form of media for fun. That’s an hour and 17 minutes more than they did five years ago, said the study’s sponsor, the Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation. And they’re champion multitaskers, packing content on top of content for an even heavier onslaught. …
The researchers warned that further study is required to link media use with any impact on the health of young people or their grades. But 47 percent of heavy media users among those surveyed said they earn mostly Cs or lower, compared with 23 percent of light users. The study classified heavy users as consuming more than 16 hours a day and light users as less than three hours.
The problem is greater than just time away and distraction from studies, although those are clearly detrimental. As a parent, I can testify that even within a few weeks of introduction of one of these addictive technologies within the house, personalities begin to change. When I was young the parental concern was the deterioration of attention span, but now, it’s as if the kids forget how to entertain themselves and play creatively without the hyper-stimulation of gadgets.
Without a doubt, society benefits greatly from technological advances, but we shouldn’t lose sight of the fact that they amount to blind experiments on future generations.