Sociality- or media-loaded, digitally enhanced intervals in lines, on the bus, at the gym may not actually be brain breaks after all, and in fact may be depriving us (and our kids) of the kind of down time we and our brains really need. Technology like smart phones, iPods, and Kindles “makes the tiniest windows of time entertaining, and potentially productive,” the New York Times reports. “But scientists point to an unanticipated side effect: when people keep their brains busy with digital input, they are forfeiting downtime that could allow them to better learn and remember information, or come up with new ideas.” Good food for thought, ironically! But the headline – “Digital Devices Deprive Brain of Needed Downtime” – is misleading, if you really think about it. It’s actually, we, not the devices, who may be depriving ourselves and our kids of time for reflection and learning, depending on how we choose to employ those devices. Last spring I wrote about the breathers and reality checks our children need as they – like everybody else, but in the middle of the intensity of their adolescent development – negotiate today’s online+offline, 24/7 exposure to life’s big and little, local-to-international dramas but, for them, especially school-related social drama. Sure, life is changing amid the constant availability of all forms of media, including the media we’re producing ourselves, and this requires a certain level of acceptance so we can get on with figuring out how to deal with the media shift constructively and help our children do so too. But the very 24/7 accessibility of tools for staying “productive” or entertained calls for more critical thinking, not less, and how can we expect our kids to value reflection and independent thought if we don’t demonstrate for them that we do? Just a thought.
NetFamilyNews – by Anne Collier
- Students called heroes in this 6th-grade class
- In the face of school violence, what do we default to?
- Popularity: The other kind of vulnerability
- FB & Oculus VR: The potential of a virtual-reality platform
- What’s (importantly) different about Snapchat
- We ‘like’ faces in social media: Study
- Yik Yak update: How the app came to geo-fence off US schools
- Smart safety: YouTube’s ‘neighborhood watch program’
Analysis & News – by Larry Magid
- Identity theft a problem from cradle to grave — Kids most vulnerable
- How to protect your family from Heartbleed security flaw (slideshow)
- Beware of Heartbleed inspired phishing scams
- Are sites you use vulnerable to Heartbleed security flaw?
- Microsoft ends support of Windows XP: Machines highly vulnerable to security risks
- The evolution of online safety: Lessons learned over 20 years
- Safety through mindfulness: Watch ‘The Science of Character’
- Adults spend 11 hour a day using electronic media