In my last post, I wrote briefly on the importance of the development of virtue and concluded that post by saying that it would have implications for the iPad. Our use of technology and the development of virtue can be at odds with one another. I have read a few books on the impact technology is having on us as humans and there is ample reason for us to be concerned. This post is an amalgamation of what I have learned from these authors into 10 principles for the wise use of technology in our home.
First, let me try to summarize the top tech books I have read in the past couple of years into one brief sentence each.
Amusing Ourselves to Death: Public Discourse in the Age of Show Business by Neil Postman. Here's my one sentence takeaway (OST), the more absorbed in Tech (constant flow of images) a person becomes, the less words (logic, meaning, truth) begin to matter and the less able they become to reasonably interact with things of substance.
Everything Bad is Good for You: How Today's Popular Culture is Actually Making Us Smarter by Steven Johnson. My OST, some technology, including some video games, are actually making our kids better problem solvers and more apt in dealing with complexity. The popular game Minecraft is an example.
The Shallows: What the Internet Is Doing to Our Brains by Nicholas Carr. My OST, Mediums for gaining knowledge inherently shape us into their image. Books require sustained effort and creative thought while the internet encourages "the rapid, distracted sampling of small bits of information from many sources." The more tech we use the more prone we are to scanning and skimming, thereby losing our capacity for concentration, contemplation, and reflection.
Reclaiming Conversation: The Power of Talk in a Digital Age by Sherry Turkle. My OST, Technology is inhibiting true human connection and conversation "at work, at home, in politics, and in love, we find ways around conversation, tempted by the possibilities of a text or an email in which we don’t have to look, listen, or reveal ourselves."
The Tech-Wise Family: Everyday Steps for Putting Technology in Its Proper Place by Andy Crouch. My OST, 10 practical chapters on how to use/limit tech in a healthy, human way while living out a Christian worldview.
Everything I have read thus far has emphasized how damaging the extended use of technology is upon children, especially in their early developmental years. This is tough for parents to hear because we know how easy and tempting it is to give a kid an iPad or turn on Netflix so that we can get some things done around the house without them clinging to our legs. But if we want to raise virtuous kids, who have the ability for substantive sustained thought, we must not hamstring them by hijacking their brains with a constant flow of entertaining images for hours a day. Thus, moderating our kids tech use can actually help us develop virtue as well. So without further ado, here are my families 10 principles for the wise use of technology in our home.
What do you think? Have we missed something?