Warning: Tangent

I’m just going to go ahead and aplogize here because I’m about to climb on a soapbox.  Not a tall one, not a superior one, because I’m terribly at fault here. Since it is afterall, MY blog I guess I don’t have to make excuses.  BUT, I know I need to write these thoughts down right away because they are coming at me from a million different directions.  Here are the articles that gave me a wake-up call: (In addition to Elder Bednar’s talk I mentioned in my last post.)

1. http://www.deseretnews.com/article/765575928/How-to-miss-a-childhood.html?pg=1
How to Miss A Childhood – Rachel Macy Stafford, Deseret News

2.  http://www.npr.org/2011/02/25/134059283/have-we-grown-too-fond-of-technology
The transcript of an NPR interview with Sherry Turkle
Alone Together: Why We Expect More from Technology and Less from Each Other

3.  http://segullah.org/daily-special/the-battle-in-our-brains/
Catherine A. on Segullah

I definitely suggest reading them all.  Reading through each of them was almost painful, as I realized the truth of the science and experiences represented.  I’m going to share a few quotes here and my thoughts on them.  I’ll reference them with the corresponding number to the above articles. 

“when you compose a text, when you compose an email, you can perform. You can compose it the way you want, on your Facebook status update, you can get it exactly the way you want it. And a generation has gotten used to performing themselves. 

They go from I have a feeling, I’d like to make a call, to I want to have a feeling, I need to send a text. In other words, the constitution of a feeling becomes – in order to have the constitution of the feeling, you need to be texting someone about it.

And that becomes a problem because they become dependent on other people even for knowing what they’re feeling, and it’s a kind of use of other people that can get them into trouble. They don’t develop a kind of necessary autonomy that’s so important for an adolescent to develop. ” (#2)

I feel a little embarrassed that she is talking about teenagers and yet I know it applies to me.  I know it applies to me because even as I type this blog I am doing it because I am part of that generation who is compelled to share, and  shares to elicit feelings. 

“Input always travels the path of least resistance. So the second time we see the new image, it will travel the same route. And before long, the new neural pathway has been stimulated enough to “desire” of itself continued activation. A habit is born.

After that, when the brain is not currently occupied, we long for that image. That is why we constantly check our phones or email. That is why, when we have a free moment, we click onto a favorite blog, check facebook, and tweets, or any other source of input we frequent. Without realizing it, we have begun to crave these places of input, hunger for them, to the point where they can surreptitiously dominate our time.” (#3)

It’s frightening how I can relate to this.  I find myself constantly returning to my laptop throughout the day.  I wander back to it to avoid things, to pass time when I’m anxious for something, and because I’m DRAWN to it.  Check my email, check my google reader, check Pinterest, shop on Craigslist or Amazon.  Fortunately she offers some great solutions to over-riding our current neuro-pathways.

The first article listed is probably my favorite as far as “Give it to me straight” dos and don’ts.  She talks at first about ways we are missing our children’s lives, and like I said it was painful how many I could relate to.  But then she turns it to the positive and makes suggestions about how to be actively involved with them.

Prof. Turkle mentions that she doesn’t like to call it an addiction, with addictions complete sobriety requires getting rid of the substance.  But like compulsive eating, we have to live with food therefore it is in our best interest to learn HOW to live with food in a healthy and satisfying way.  And that’s her (and my) view of technology.  Although my guilt is such in this moment that I feel like throwing my computer and iPhone in the garbage, I know that’s not necessary. 

So there are my thoughts.  Obviously the fact that I’m blogging tells me I have a ways to go.  So I’ve “pinned” the articles and plan to come back to this laptop and read them again.  (Yes, Lori, more irony!)

3 thoughts on “Warning: Tangent

  1. I'll definitely read those articles, thanks for sharing. I think this is on all of our minds! I know I think about it everyday, as I again reach for my iPhone for some distraction.This post makes me really miss you and miss having discussions with you 🙂

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  2. Hey Jo, I just finished reading them. I needed to hear what they said so thank you for sharing.I don't struggle with talking on the phone too much or checking email or even texting too much. My Achilles is reading the news on my various news apps. Oh, and instagram. But mostly the news. I've known I waste far too much time on it. But these articles have made me recommit to setting boundaries for myself. I want to be here with my children and look at them in the eye when they're filling me in on their day. But even when my children aren't at home, I waste too much time reading news. I will do better. Love ya 🙂

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  3. Hi Jo, this is sister Paul! Thanks for sharing. I think I needed to hear this. Even though I could be a lot worse, I could also be a lot better. Thanks for the positive words 🙂 love your blog & truth full ness in it. Our family blog is jon-tiffers-hayden.blogspot.com

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