Posted by: ARNoack | November 21, 2012

Digital Dependence is a Decision

This term, we explored how the Internet, digital devices and media affect our thinking and values. However, we don’t often think about how our own digital media consumption choices and habits play into this. The Internet can only change us as much as we use it. Kara, for example, reads physical books, doesn’t own a smartphone and doesn’t watch TV. She would probably rather explore the outdoors or a novel than cyberspace. Her brain and thinking patterns are likely less affected by the web than those of us frequently attached to several devices simultaneously. Sunday, Anthony observed of the Thursday StratComm class that almost every student takes notes with pen and paper. Maybe those students find, by removing digital distractions, that taking notes this way keeps them more focused. The students of the MMJ/StratComm cohort are intelligent, highly motivated people willing to sacrifice being “plugged in” to achieve their educational and career goals.

Which brings me to today’s children. Why do we let them convince us that they cannot live without computers, smartphones and the Internet? What happened to giving kids boundaries and limits? As our resident teacher Kathryn mentioned, her students become better writers and researchers when forced to put their cell phones and computers away. Parents are part of the problem too. Kathryn said several parents excused their kids from class because they stayed up all night for the Halo 4 release. Maybe educators and teachers should learn from South Korea and start teaching our children some “netiquette.” 

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