60 Minutes recently posted a “groundbreaking” study about screen time and the adolescent brain. Whenever reports like these come out, within a few hours my inbox, Facebook feed, and text messages are all blowing up highlighting the negative things that the study reveals. In the last few months, I’ve noticed an increased amount of fear (and shaming) when it comes to technology and our kids. As an administrator in a 1:1 district, I hear about it all the time from our community. Articles like these from the New York Times don’t help the matter, as they tend to fan the flames of fear and anxiety on an already guilt-ridden parent population.
One thing I try to do whenever someone sends me an article or blog post is really evaluate it heavily. Is there actual research linked? Who is performing the research? How large is the sample size? Is it longitudinal? Or, as is usually the case, is it just a line in the post that says “more and more studies say…” or “research says…” without any actual data or evidence. The truth is everything our kids interact with changes their brains. That doesn’t mean it’s for the worse or for the better, it’s just change. The same thing happened to our brains with the invention of the printing press (although MRI’s and Twitter weren’t around then to show it). Instead of being afraid, we need to be empowered. Because after all, the iGenie is out of the bottle at this point and he isn’t going back in. Here’s a link to a longer article on “Technology Fear Therapy” (be sure to check the research!)