Families and Technology

6 Oct

Naturally, in a blog about new innovations in publishing one must reflect on the current state of the upcoming generation of readers. I recently read an article about a book discussing the role of technology within the family dynamic.  The book is by clinical psychologist Catherine Steiner-Adair and is called The Big Disconnect: Protecting Childhood and Family Relationships in the Digital Age.  The book has anecdotal and case evidence, tips and stories about how to keep children from becoming disconnected  in this technology-heavy age.

One of the most compelling arguments Steiner-Adair makes is that by being constantly connected, children are losing the ability to reflect. They can no longer summon the patience to sit and only read a book, and they cannot adjust to the pace of everyday life without a screen to constantly stimulate or distract them.

I, personally, worry about this issue.  Even I, for whom cell phones were not prevalent until I was out of undergrad, have intermittently gotten firmly entrenched in a constant-stimulation loop.  It was cable TV or Bejeweled on a smart phone or Zelda on a Gameboy, and each time I realized when I was using technology for escapism, to avoid dealing with or thinking about the events of my day. And each time I made a conscious effort to set the remote/phone/controller down and return to that more peaceful state before I made it my business to constantly cram stimuli into my eye/ear-holes so I didn’t have to think. I cannot imagine what the younger generations, who grew up with these distractions as the norm, will have to do to find the same level of peace.

In The Big Disconnect, Steiner-Adair makes an argument for keeping children away from technology before the age of three, and adds in tips on how to talk to kids about sexting and online pornography.Seems like a great read for anyone rearing kids in this technology age, and for anyone interested in the effects of technology on human psychology.

Sources:

The Big Disconnecthttp://blogs.publishersweekly.com/blogs/PWxyz/2013/10/04/tough-questions-about-families-and-technology/

Publisher’s Weekly review of The Big Disconnecthttp://www.publishersweekly.com/978-0-06-208242-8

Q&A with Steiner-Adair: http://www.publishersweekly.com/pw/by-topic/authors/interviews/article/57824-parents-say-no-to-screens-pw-talks-with-catherine-steiner-adair.html

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