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Finding the Perfect Balance



For most of us, technology is a vital part of our lives. From making appointments, to accessing our medical records, to emailing and texting, we really cannot function without being technologically literate. It is a vital and efficient tool, and, for the most part, it generally makes our lives easier. For that reason, children need to learn to navigate the tech world in ways we did not when we were their age.


I am likely one generation older than most of you, and two generations removed from our students. When I was a young child, we had a black and white television with only two channels. We had a rotary phone, and a wringer washing machine, and my parents had one car. Things advanced a bit by the time I was in middle and high school, but life was still much simpler than it is today.


My older children were introduced to computers when they were in middle school, they played music on their Walkman, games on a Gameboy and Atari, and later they talked with their friends on MySpace. But then the technological world exploded, and now our children spend an average of 5-7 hours a day using a device of some sort - sometimes more. While they possess skills far in advance of what we knew at that age, they also have severe deficits in many other areas. For this reason, we, at St. Michael’s School, are making a concerted effort to use devices in moderation, and only when traditional methods cannot achieve the same results. The good old “paper and pencil” techniques are important to learn as well.


I hope you will thoughtfully consider the effect that screen time is having on your children, whether it is watching television, playing video games, being on social media, or using a cell phone. We know that enhanced vocabulary comes from talking (and reading), and the ability to communicate orally comes from having logical and thoughtful conversations – lots of them. Eye contact and good posture are also skills that are being lost in this tech age, and the emotional need to post every nuance of our lives and hope for positive feedback from a thumbs-up or smiley face is affecting everyone’s self-esteem. Our children learn their behavior from us, so you, too, need to put your phones down and TALK. I am a culprit, spending way too much time on a device, but I have made a concerted effort this Lent to limit my screen time when I am at home. Perhaps this could be a goal for everyone.


In Mission,

Kathy

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