I want to talk a little more about technology and its influence on not only our lives but particularly in the lives of the most innocent and malleable, children. I believe wholeheartedly in not imposing our wants, needs, and desires onto our children, but I also believe in healthy limits. If there is one area where we have to be very careful in today’s world, it is in the area of technology. The rates of depression and anxiety are at extremely unhealthy levels in young people. I cannot deny the correlation between the rise in the use of devices and the rise in mental health problems.
The devices that were designed to connect us, are driving us apart. More screen and less actual social interaction is taking its toll. The fact that we are social creatures means that our device filled lives are changing the way we communicate and interact, and thus changing who we are. We need real social connection and interaction. I see it in the kids that we work with. If we could spend more one on one time with these kids, I guarantee that their mental health issues would reduce. If I had a house, I would bet my house on it!!
Children's brains are still growing and developing and are susceptible to the allure of these new technologies and applications. They have been designed by neuroscientists who know how the brain works and have been paid millions of dollars to make them as addictive as possible. They know about how and when a young person’s brain releases the chemical dopamine to give them that happy feeling, and how to entice them back to find it again, and again. Social media and video games are the best examples of the addictive use of technology.
I can only speak from my current location and context. Within this context, I see so many young boys who play video games that promote violence, power, fame, and male dominance, and the worst of all is that they make this whole package cool. I remember when I was younger, all I wanted was to be cool and liked by others. All of the bad behaviour that I have seen within learning spaces, including my own behaviour, has been a power struggle to be cool, be liked, and part of a tribe. One on one these boys are angels! The problems arise in social situations. Power games are played out within the environments where they live and are magnified through these mediums used as entertainment.
I am talking about young boys because of 1. I was a boy once and understand a little bit about how they function and 2. I see the source of the majority of societal problems within this social context coming from males. There is a foul male/female dynamic that exists within Argentina but even more so in vulnerable communities.
It isn’t only the boys who are affected by too much technology. There is also a big problem with the young female image and how it is being presented within this sexist environment. The images and videos that are posted from very young girls only feed the macho culture. They are also presenting a false sense of what the female image is. I would like to say that I have an answer, but in this case, I really do know nothing. It has to be attended to at an early age within the education system because it is an intergenerational culture that isn’t going away any time soon. The only way that it will change is at a snail’s pace and over many generations. There is no easy solution.