Too Much Technology?

Too Much Technology?
Digitizing Humanity
Chapter 4, Interactive Session:
Nancy S. Boettcher
What are some of the arguments for the use of
digital media?
Over the last 15 years, digital communication has ushered
in more changes than the printing press did in 1570.
the radio 38
20 years for
13 years for
Facebook 3.6
years to reach 50 million people,
the phone,
the television.
years and Twitter didn’t even need that much
It took Google Plus 88 days.
Catalyst for change
Medical Innovations
Real-time data access
Global communication & Trade
Virtually limitless information
Positive social change
Broadened Cultural Awareness
& Understanding
Over stimulation
Lack of Focus
Inability to think clearly
Poor decision making
Brain physiological changes
Acceptance of misinformation as fact
Reduced physical activity
Reduced ‘face to face’ interaction
“In the US, teenagers are spending 8.5 hours using computers, mobiles and other devices to learn, interact
and play.
 This jumps to 11.5 if you take into account all of the multi-tasking that goes on, such as talking on the
phone while you’re watching TV.
Australian teenagers were found to be spending an average of 7 hours, 38 minutes using these devices in
“Thanks to the changing physiology of their brains, teenagers can adapt easily to new technology”
How might the brain be affected by constant digital media
•Neural pathway changes
•Reduction in deeper thinking skills
•Lack of eye contact & awareness of body language
leading to reduction in empathy
•Desensitization to violence
•Enhanced mental agility
•Enhanced visuomotor co-ordination
Do these arguments outweigh the positives of digital media
“Like climate change, mind change is
complex, unprecedented and
controversial. However, the endpoint
is not one of damage limitation. It is,
rather, ensuring that we deliver to the
next generation an environment that
can, for the first time, enable the
realization of each individual’s full
potential.” Baroness Greenfield,
Oxford University, 2012
What additional concerns are there for
children using digital media?
Not enough people time
Not enough hands-on time
Too much stimulation
Too much sedentary time
Young Children and Computers: Some Pros and Cons
Should children under the age of 8 years
use computers and cell phones?
Computer Use Improves School Readiness
Study of 122 preschoolers in a rural Head Start Program
given 15-20 minutes per day on computers.
Test group given choice of developmentally appropriate
educational software
Control group given standard Head Start curriculum.
All took 4 standardized tests at the beginning and six
months later testing school readiness, visual motor skills,
gross motor skills and cognitive development.
Those who worked on a computer performed better on school
readiness and cognitive development. Those who worked on a
computer at home and at school performed better than those
who only had access at school.
By Gary Heiting, OD, senior editor of