Why Not Be Engulfed in Technology?

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This article helped me understand my feelings better. It’s from the magazine, Homeschool Enrichment and written by Jonathan Lewis.

“I would suggest that modern technology and entertainment have done great damage to young people’s sense of vision and purpose–especially among young men. I’m not anti-technology. But never before in the history of the world has triviality and mind-numbing shallowness been so tantalizingly seductive and so pervasively omnipresent. Never before has it been so easy to check out of real life and live in the realm of the hypertrivial.

Perhaps most destructive to young men is the fact that video games and movies can give us a mental and emotional rush that makes us feel as if we’ve really participated in something grand when in reality we’ve been passive onlookers. We’ve done nothing, and yet the drama of the story intoxicates our minds and emotions and tricks us into feeling that we have been part of something important. We watch a dramatic movie in which good triumphs over evil, and our hearts are stirred; we’ve experienced the emotions of accomplishment and victory, of triumph and achievement, but we ourselves have done absolutely nothing.

As parents, it’s vital for you to cut through all of these distractions and instil a sense of vision in your children, even while the world is attempting to suck them into the quagmire of triviality. It’s vital that you instill in them a sense of balance, in which they know how to give technology and recreation their proper places while not being consumed by them. It’s vital that you teach them the self-discipline they’ll need to deny their flesh and do difficult things instead of taking the ever-present path of least resistance.”

16 responses »

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  3. When I was little, my younger sister and I tried to have a family newspaper; only nothing thrilling ever happened in our lives. Now young people can have a sense of excitiment in these virtual worlds. Everyone longs for this sense of really living and of making important decisions that impact the world. How can reality compete? Kids need our help to see the goals suited for them. The speech George Bailey’s dad gave him about the mundane life helping so many “little people” in the community comes to mind as a way to instil a sense of balance.

  4. “Perhaps most destructive to young men is the fact that *BOOKS* can give us a mental and emotional rush that makes us feel as if we’ve really participated in something grand when in reality we’ve been passive onlookers. We’ve done nothing, and yet the drama of the story intoxicates our minds and emotions and tricks us into feeling that we have been part of something important. We *READ A BOOK* in which good triumphs over evil, and our hearts are stirred; we’ve experienced the emotions of accomplishment and victory, of triumph and achievement, but we ourselves have done absolutely nothing.”

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  6. Rachel Miller, your response, replacing “video games and movies” with “books” is clever, but ignores a significant difference in the way the brain processes books versus images on a screen. The brain handles words on a page, language, in a way that clarifies and amplifies imagination. The intake of written words also engages communicative centers, which enable the reader to better make him/herself understood verbally. (Start a conversation with a ten-year-old who reads regularly. Start a similar conversation with another ten-year-old who spends almost no time reading, but engages in regular TV and video games. The difference in clarity, creativity, and vocabulary is instantaneously obvious.) Images require only passive processing, especially if they are changing at 16 frames per second. Books require acuity, focus and engagement. There’s a big difference that this blog author, who is copying an excerpt from another author, doesn’t have time or space to address.

  7. Kevin ~ The quote asserted why games were “bad” and I clearly showed the fallacy of the argument. You have now asserted another fallacy, which is only comparing children who do not read at all and children who are well-read and using it to prove the “destructive nature” of games.

    You haven’t met our children. We are often complemented on their vocabulary, critical thinking skills, and willingness to engage others (of various ages). They spend time playing on the computer, playing video games, and watching TV. They also spend time reading, researching, watching plays (oh wait, is a play good or bad???), playing sports, and visiting local museums. Sometimes the movies they watch or games they play ignite a desire to research a topic at the library. Sometimes the books they read spur them to look up a YouTube video on how to make something and they go on to build it. Oh, the horror!

    I would also argue that the fact that TVs/Computers/Video Games engage their brains differently is precisely why they are a vital part of learning modality. Games do require “acuity, focus, & engagement”. Repeated studies have shown that surgeons & soldiers show more accurate & better reaction times when engaging frequently in RPVG.

    It’s unfortunate that a “quote” purporting to help expand a child’s learning could be so dogmatic and narrow minded.

  8. Thanks for this post “while we wait” blogger. I agree with your concerns. I think the key is balance. As the quote states “I am not anti-technology”. The problem is that in so many situations there is a lack of balance – technology has engulfed way too much time to the exclusion of other things. I’ve sadly seen this in some individuals and families.

    Rachel – it sounds like you have good balance with your kids – as besides tech, you state they also read, visit museums, watch plays, etc. I don’t think this quote is addressing a situation like your family at all.

    I did not see the quote as indicating tech is bad, but rather tech in excess is bad. As the quote says at the end: “It’s vital that you instill in them a sense of balance, in which they know how to give technology and recreation their proper places while not being consumed by them.”

  9. It states “I’m not anti-technology” and then goes on to use the word trivial 3 times (hmmm…perhaps he should spend a little time with a thesaurus) along with “shallowness” and then a tirade about its worthlessness. His summation is that technology along with recreation are “fleshly desires” that must be denied. Does he know what “anti” means?

    What is excess? What is “in balance”? Such arbitrary terms. I also take issue with “engulf”. Why NOT be engulfed? It’s perfectly OK for our children to spend several weeks on end doing little but reading because they’ve found a new series they love. We have no issue with another child spending every waking moment sketching, coloring, drawing. AND we have no problem if our child discovers Minecraft and spends several weeks playing it.

    I think children actually need MORE encouragement to become “consumed” by things. It is with this complete focus and dedication that they truly dig deep and understand things beyond a superficial level.

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