It's the age of mobile. According to Pew Research Internet Project, over 90 percent of American adults own a cellphone, and 73 percent of American adults online use a social networking site of some kind. Research from software analytics company New Relic supposedly found that Americans check their devices an average of 150 times a day. But scores of articles about "tech anxiety" and "tech addiction" make it abundantly clear that our relationship with technology is very complicated. As educators, it's worth thinking about how our devices are changing the way we interact with each other. Many of the videos I've gathered below are just for fun, to give us a laugh about our technological foibles, but they can also be conversation starters about how technology saturation affects our lives.
Video Playlist: Technology Addiction
Watch the player below to see the whole playlist, or view it on YouTube.
Sherry Turkle: Connected, but Alone? (19:49)
Sorry to start with a 20-minute TED Talk, but psychologist Sherry Turkle frames this conversation really well by asking how tech is changing the landscape of human relationships. Some take issue with her sweeping generalizations, but she poses powerful questions here.
The Upside of Social Media Narcissism (03:14)
Are millennials really the most entitled, self-obsessed generation yet? And is there any positive spin on our compulsion to build our "personal brand" on social media? Vanessa Hill of BrainCraft explores the neuroscience behind our narcissism in this adorable paper animation.
I Forgot My Phone (02:11)
This poignant video hit a nerve -- with 44 million views, I'm guessing many of those are from people who see themselves in the silent lead character growing increasingly isolated as everyone around her stares into their phones.
"#Hashtag" with Jimmy Fallon & Justin Timberlake (02:01)
Jimmy Fallon and Justin Timberlake take humorous aim at the annoyance of overexuberant use of hashtags on social media. Heads' up for the bleeped but still rather obvious obscenity at the end. Hashtag hilarious!
Are Cell Phones Replacing Reality? (07:17)
Mike Rugnetta of Idea Channel holds forth in his usual rapid-fire style on whether our smartphones are causing our mediated experiences to eclipse our authentic experiences.
Instacurity Public Service Announcement (01:48)
Do you post things on social media and then anxiously refresh to watch the likes and comments roll in? You may be suffering from Instacurity. This campaign is largely a parody, but action on the website reveals that it tapped into the collective consciousness.
Salve Jorge Bar presents The Offline Glass (01:26)
Though I haven't been able to find this product for sale in real life, I loved this ad for a bar in Brazil that crafted the perfect solution for getting the full attention of the people you're at the pub with.
Media Overload: The Problem With Infinite Choice (04:11)
Could it be true that more options make us less happy? If you spend more time browsing your Netflix feed than watching content, you might agree. Mashable Explains explores the psychological issues that come from having too many choices.
More Resources on How Technology is Changing Us
One thing is for sure, these devices are not going away anytime soon. It's our responsibility to figure out how to set boundaries and make sure we're being present for our lives in the ways we want to. Of course, "unplugging" or enforcing certain limits for yourself or your children is highly personal and subjective -- you'll see in the articles below that there are a variety of viewpoints on this. Still, I've also gathered some resources with tips for how to do it if you'd like to; if you're anything like me, a little moderation couldn't hurt. As always, please share your own thoughts or resources in the comments below!
- "Does Technology Cut Us Off from Other People?" by Lauren Klein via Greater Good Science Center
- "Are You Addicted to Your Phone? Change Technology Addiction," by Jonathan Fader via Psychology Today
- "#Unplug: The Complete Printable Guide," by Jessica Hullinger via Fast Company
- "Fact Sheet: Technology Addiction," by Liz Soltan via Digital Responsiblity
- "Parents' Guide to Kids and Cell Phones," by Caroline Knorr via Common Sense Media
- "Five Tips for Helping Teens Manage Technology," by Diana Divecha via Greater Good Science Center
- "3 Simple Rules for a Healthy Media Diet," by Caroline Knorr via Common Sense Media
- "The Pointlessness of Unplugging," by Casey N. Cep via The New Yorker
- "'Camp Grounded,' 'Digital Detox,' and the Age of Techno-Anxiety," by Alexis Madrigal via The Atlantic
- Tech Timeout: Academic Challenge, Free Toolkit & Lesson Plan