Saturday's Shared Links - Ever Present Internet

Constantly Connected

Filed in Shared

With a now two year old, I see the topic of screen time creating constant buzz in mommy blogs and parenting tips. I explore a few resources to think and act on this issue.

A New Technology?

Technology continually marches forward, whether discussing the wheel, the printing press, or artificial intelligence. However, in modern history, the use of a handheld computer, i.e. a smartphone, with constant internet connection exposes differences compared to previous generations. The Atlantic highlights this in the article Have Smartphones Destroyed a Generation? Dr. Jeane M. Tinge remarks when comparing changes among generations:

The gentle slopes of the line graphs became steep mountains and sheer cliffs, and many of the distinctive characteristics of the Millennial generation began to disappear. In all my analyses of generational data—some reaching back to the 1930s—I had never seen anything like it.

This backs up evidence The Atlantic previously reported with the article Your Smartphone Can Reduce Your Brainpower, Even If It’s Just Sitting There. National Public Radio also followed this with its affect on teens in the story Smartphones Are Making Today’s Teens Unhappy, Psychologist Says. Finally, in the Washington Post notes the harmfulness of our short attention span in the article The Death of Reading is Threatening the Soul.

Our Response?

Thankfully, several resources exist to help us think and act on the issue of ever presence internet connection. These resources aren’t a Luddite rejecting technology nor an apologist embracing complete support. Instead they help guide us to ask correct questions and come to good conclusions about the use of technology in our lives.

Tony Reinke wrote a book this year discussing exactly this issue titled 12 Ways Your Phone Is Changing You. A few articles on Desiring God point to the contexts of the book. Turn My Eyes from Worthless Things explores the attention span and what we gaze upon, with a full book summary found at Desiring God. These ideas intrigued me so I placed this book toward the top of my reading list.

On Russell Moore’s podcast Signposts, Andy Crouch discusses his new book written this year, The Tech Wise Family: Putting Technology in Its Proper Place. This book doesn’t scream at you for too much screen time or call for avoidance of technology. From the interview Crouch explains about the idea of using technology as nudges to create habits for life-giving activity, not a distraction from boredom. If you are even somewhat curious, I recommend you listen to the 30 minute interview to wet your whistle. It intrigued me so much, I put it at the top of my reading list.

Have you considered these books or read other resources to help us think about our use of Technology? Differing opinions about the shared links? Let’s discuss it! Connect with me on twitter @toddheitmann and send me a DM.