Why are so many people drawn to conspiracy theories in times of crisis?
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Enjoyed your article. I work primarily with middle school/high school aged kids and I see the effects of texting/techno/social media constantly. So much of the the relational stress/drama is now done by text. The kids often talk as if they had these conversations in person and they fill in a massive amount of meaning and what we would normally consider non-verbals by their perceptions of the texter's intent. I see social media leading to only more conflict and drama then in person communication for far too many.
The lack of sleep is a huge issue, often times kids or their parents will turn off their laptops by midnight, but often leave their phones on their bed to text. Clearly chronic sleep loss is well documented for it many negative bio-psychological affects on people. If kids are lethargic, have a lower frustration tolerance, poorer memories and less ability to pay attention this will lead to academic and social problems--even if minor for those who have good impulse control already.
At the end of the article you make a firm statement that we are 'better off for it' using social media and the like. I certainly see the many benefits of the technology, but even given that I still wonder if that value judgment isn't just a bias based on cherry picking the few instances that 'staying connected' is somehow helpful. I see kids with worse social skills, struggle with basic eye contact, they walk around in small groups staring at their phones, they use text language, and focus on simplistic writing/thinking that involves mostly acronyms. If our brains end up reflecting what we do and how we communicate--I think we are in big trouble in the social realm. So few kids seem to use these technologies in 'moderation' and more and more technologies that promote a sedentary lifestyle will be a major negative for mental/physical health.
I try and go techonology free a couple days a month, no tv, phone, computer etc. I have to see--its feels amazingly difficult. We may have made it a social norm to use these technologies, particularly phones--to the point where people don't feel addicted to them unless they are amazingly extreme. The unintended consequences for the endless 'multi-tasking' and endless interruptions I think are many and we will continue to see them as time goes on. Even my older peer group--now can be caught staring at their cell phones and texting "while talking" with others. I find it rude to pretend like your paying attention, while staring at the phone and texting or searching up some random fact on the phone. Humans certainly are very into shiny blinking things, its funny that so many claim these help us stay connected, I think they often times prevent real depth of connection, as communication becomes small tweetlike chunks. Perhaps research topics, much of the texting is gossip or sexual in nature from what I've seen that last few years. Perhaps a couple hours of sleep a night would be more helpful to most than facebooking or texting.
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