Episode 28: Supporting Healthy Habits for Students in a Digital World
Technology has certainly changed the face of education in recent years. In some ways, it’s even become vital to the way we “do school” – especially in times when virtual classrooms have been the only way for students and teachers to stay connected. But tech also comes with significant downsides. Digital distractions, socializing on screens, and the sneaky costs of 24/7 connectivity are changing our brains. As educators and parents struggle to find the balance between the benefits of technology and the dark side of devices, what does the research show?
Guest: Dr. Shimi Kang
Resources, Transcript, and Expanded Show Notes
In This Episode:
- “The problem though, with the phones and tech, other than other addictions, is this whole idea of abstinence, being away from it is impossible, because tech is embedded. It's like air. We cannot live without it. It's, and in fact, if we teach children that it's a bad thing, I feel they'll be significantly disadvantaged…I say, we are dealing with the fire of our time. There was a moment when our ancestors learned to harness the power of fire. Those who did it well went further and farther than ever before. Those who didn't got burnt and burnt down the village. And that's exactly where we are with tech.” (11:26)
- “I don't know any 12 year old, Tim, or any 14 year old, that can check Snapchat or Instagram in the hallway and then walk into a math or chemistry class and focus. There's just no way that the brain can switch like that. So all these amazing teachers and this great curriculum is gonna be delivered to distracted kids if we don't get the phones out of the hallways, outta the lunch rooms.” (18:10)
- “Sitting is the new smoking. Kids are sitting a really long time. Even this crouched posture that we see all over our schools over a laptop or phone, that's a very stressful posture. That flexion of the spine. Our nervous system is like, why are you crouching in a cave? Is there a hurricane? Is there a predator? And it'll fire cortisol, the stress hormone, just based on that crouched posture that we're seeing everywhere.” (27:06)
- “When you see the idea of scrolling, the attention span is changing in less than a second, right? And the max we're kind of seeing attention being held is like three seconds. So that in itself, our brain is having to reprocess that…Even the YouTube video, if you're watching the same video, it's extremely fast paced. You know, these tubers are talking fast. They have imaging coming in, there's popups happening. So the distraction. And that's where we're seeing poor difficulty with focus, with concentration. Kids can't sustain it.” (32:12)
- “Conspiracy theories and extreme views are actually flight behaviors, right? I'm gonna think about how the world is flat, not what's happening in my household or, or how I'm gonna deal with this stress. So when we're stressed, when our children are sleep deprived because they're in too many activities, or it's, you know, they have to write their SATs or whatever it is, you know, we're stressing them out in whatever way, or they're on their devices too much, they're just cycling through anxiety, irritability, and distraction. And so many kids are cycling through that constantly.” (41:11)
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