George Lucas Educational Foundation
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Pinterest
  • Share
graphic illustration of a hand with circuits connecting to it

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 first video below, or watch the whole playlist on YouTube.

  1. 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.

  2. 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.

  3. 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.

  4. "#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!

  5. 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.

  6. 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.

  7. 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.

  8. 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!

Was this useful? (1)

Comments (7) Sign in or register to comment Follow Subscribe to comments via RSS

Erin@TwistedScholar's picture

We made a video, Put That Thing Away, that looks humorously at just how technology effects our daily lives and relationships. It is a good one to address cell-phone etiquette and ties in with all the other videos listed above. Thank you for starting this conversation!

Amy Erin Borovoy (aka VideoAmy)'s picture

Thanks Erin, I love your video! I also like the "Tech Timeout Academic Challenge" that's linked in the video description, looks like you can download a free lesson plan to have your students give up their tech for a given period of time and then reflect on it... great idea. I've added it to the resource list above!

Erin@TwistedScholar's picture

Thank you so much for your response, Amy, and for adding the Tech Timeout to your resource list above. I would love to send a kit to teachers interested in having their students disconnect from their ever present phones during the school year! Please feel free to fill out the form in this link,, and a kit will be sent out shortly. We love to see students discover what they have been missing by being constantly connected!

Russ Ewell's picture
Russ Ewell
Parent of 3 and Android + iOS Educational App Developer

The most compelling technological truth to our social lives is mobile is here to stay. The important question we must answer is whether we will shape the technology, or will the technology shape us? Thank you for assembling an excellent set of resources combined with insightful thoughts. I will be sharing this post.

Erin@TwistedScholar's picture

Watch our trailer for 'Sleeping With Siri', an award-winning documentary starring journalist Michael Stusser who explores both extremes of technology consumption.
In order to simulate what it's really like for young people today to give up their phones, Stusser chooses to spend one week fully immersed in digital madness. Then, he whiplashes into a week-long Digital Blackout. Another great resource for those looking to examine our Tech addictions:

Elana Leoni's picture
Elana Leoni
Edcamper, Former @Edutopia, Founder of Social Media Marketing Consultancy aimed at helping educational orgs.

Came across this cool Ted playlist that features videos that talks about our "Digital Lives"

One of the videos Amy curated above is mentioned from this playlist but the others look equally awesome.


Mauricio Cardona's picture

Most people don't notice but a lot of the people around us are affected by technology addiction. It can be very unhealthy in adolescents and it is something that not many people are aware of. Visit if you want to learn more about technology addiction and even take free assessments.

Sign in to comment. Not a member? Register.