The following letter from Caitlyn Hale, Mankato, Minnesota appeared in the Star Tribune’s Readers Write section on April 10, 2013:
Too many children are online and isolated
I have a growing concern for the younger generations and their addiction to technology. Children are growing up in families where texting each other is the main form of communication. Instead of going outside, getting dirty, and using their imaginations, kids are now sitting inside playing Xbox and PlayStation. By the time they are five years old, many children have a cellphone, iPod, iPad or laptop and know how to use all of them without instruction. This growing need and use of technology is leading our children to isolate themselves. This “new-age” world is destroying interpersonal relationships, especially within families. Yes, technology is important, but so are our families. We need to bring our children back to life. Something needs to be done to teach parents how to teach their children the proper use and limitations of the Internet.
Hale’s growing concern has been on my mind as well.
We have become more connected technologically than ever, yet we have also become more disconnected emotionally and relationally.
We have hundreds of friends on Facebook, yet few in life.
We spend more time watching TV, texting, emailing, facebooking, googling, or surfing the Internet, yet have no time meeting and talking with peole.
We have more communication tools, yet less communications skills.
We are dependent on and addicted to technology.
I welcome Lake Middle School’s initiative – “Screen Free Week” that starts this week. They challenge students to spend less time behind a screen this week. They encourage students to make the Screen Free Pledge and participate in a special activity after school every day during this week – planting, obstacle Course, playing favorite games drawing and painting, and dancing.
How will you challenge your family to reduce screen time?