As a part of a digital literacy program that I offer the students at our school, I recently screened this clip to a group of Grade 7 students.
It should be noted that I prefaced the viewing by asking the students to be prepared to share their thoughts on the clip and consider:
- 1 thing you found interesting and wanted to know more about
- 1 thing you did not know
- 1 thing you already knew that was validated
I figured that (surely!) this provocative and informative clip would garner or raise some concerns and anxiety. Perhaps instigate some questions. Maybe provoke a creative storm of “no ways” and “what the fudge?” and “that’s scary stuff”.
And the collective response…?
[cue ‘the crickets’ soundtrack]
As parents and educators, should we be nervous by this lack of response, reaction, and/or comment? Why the apparent indifference or lethargy? Are we ringing a false alarm? Crying wolf? We’re really only fifteen years into this societal ‘experiment’ Maybe it’s too early to show concern?
Have we numbed our youth with the ubiquity of technology that is intricately and purposefully woven throughout our society that even science-based research from esteem institutions of higher learning do not elicit a visceral response?
Am I giving our youth too much credit to comprehend what this could possibly mean for their future health? And why am I worried about this in the first place?
Too many questions. Too few answers.
So, why it is that so many of the students do not care to share their thoughts or feelings about the unknown harm that technology could be doing to their bodies and their brains? Is it just better to not acknowledge it and hope that it will go away? Or perhaps Mr. Yas will change the subject to something less comfortable? Maybe it is just a feeling of hopelessness: What do you expect us to do about this, Mr. Yas? Is there a piece involving shame around the dependency of the smartphone?
Perhaps we should be content with the fact that students are being exposed to this research and that they recognize that we don’t yet know the long term effects of our deep dependence and use of technology like smartphones.
I wonder if a group of adults would respond with the same impassivity and indifference?
I know what I would bet on.
Nevertheless, we have much work to do in our classrooms.