I wish more people would do the same! Don’t get me wrong; there’s nothing inherently wrong with electronics. In fact, I’m very thankful for my phone, computer, and occasionally my TV, and on very rare occasions, I enjoy playing video games with my kids (it’s the only time I’m good at bowling)! The problem is that most people either cannot or do not use electronics in moderation. Instead of using them as helpful tools, they end up wasting time, including days, months, and even years of their lives…if you don’t believe me, just do the math!
Research has shown that electronics can cause an addiction that triggers the same area of the brain as alcohol and drugs. (Click here for one interesting link; there are many more if you are interested in studying this further, and we will post others on Facebook throughout the week.) So if you or your child has difficulty turning off a computer, video game, or television, you may want to consider whether the desire to “relax,” or to “connect with friends,” or to “play a few games” has ventured beyond something on which you can place healthy limits. You may need to ask yourself the same questions I often ask myself:
- Do electronics interfere with my opportunities and ability to connect with my family, friends, and other loved ones?
- Do electronics interfere with my health (weight, exercise, cardiovascular functioning, mental and emotional health)?
- Do electronics take up more time than productive work, either at home or in the community?
- Are electronics interfering with my ability to succeed at school, at work, or in relationships?
Part of using electronics successfully instead of having them control our lives is defining their role and appropriate usage. A few years ago I developed “electronic contracts” to use at home with my own teenagers. The discussions they sparked have been invaluable for ensuring that we are all on the same page regarding the expectations for the use of phones, computers, television, and video games, and that we have established suitable consequences (both positive and negative) for either following or for not meeting them. (You can purchase the contracts in a pdf document at http://socialincites.com/resources-by-laurel-falvo.html).
Although there is much debate as to whether the following quote is attributable to Albert Einstein, as some claim, it is a point worth pondering:
I fear the day that technology will surpass our human interaction. The world will have a generation of idiots.
Regardless of who said it, I’ve seen some interesting groupings of photos accompanying that quote, all depicting people huddled over their electronics, interacting with a small box rather than the people seated around them. And I’m guessing most of us have seen (or been a part of) similar situations!
There are some interesting research articles and personal perspectives regarding the use of electronics. This week we’ll share some of those on Facebook for those who are interested in reading more. Regardless of the “pros” and “cons” of electronics, we know that there are numerous benefits to using them in moderation, making sure we control them, and not the other way around!
Best wishes as you grow personally and interpersonally (because of or in spite of electronics)!