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Finding Balance in a Tech World

Finding Balance in a Tech World



The Internet and various other forms of technology are here to stay. They make our lives easier in many ways, but they can be addictive and, at times, cause more harm than good. Dr. Mike Brooks ...

The Internet and various other forms of technology are here to stay. They make our lives easier in many ways, but they can be addictive and, at times, cause more harm than good. Dr. Mike Brooks reviewed some of the positive and negative effects of technology and discussed the importance of finding a balanced life in our increasingly tech-dependent society to the 9th grade students at Lake Travis High School in Austin, Texas on April 27, 2010.



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    Finding Balance in a Tech World Finding Balance in a Tech World Presentation Transcript

    • Finding Balance in a Tech World
      Mike Brooks, Ph.D., LSSP
      Licensed Psychologist
      Licensed Specialist in School Psychology
      Director: Austin Psychology &
      Assessment Center
      (ApaCenter – www.ApaCenter.com)
      April 27, 2010
    • You Have Zero Friends
    • What We’ll Cover
      Tech Usage Stats
      Benefits of Technology
      Areas of Concern
      Tech Addiction
      Finding Balance: What can we do about it?
    • A Few Introductory Thoughts
      Technology isn’t good or bad – it just is
      Books are inherently better? No way!
      Uses of a brick?
      There’s no turning back, only moving forward
      Parents: Don’t judge your teens!
      Teens: Don’t judge your parents!
      Caution: Our brains did not evolve to be in the world in which we now live
    • Tech Usage Stats
      Kaiser Family Foundation study found that kids ages 8-18
      Spend 7.5 hours per day using tech on average
      Or 52.5 hours per week
      270 minutes/day watching TV
      73 minutes/day playing video games
      90 minutes/day text messaging
      89 minutes/day in non-school computer use
    • Facebook Usage Stats
      More than 400 million active users
      Average user spends 55 minutes on FB per day
      8 billion minutes spent on FB per day (or over 15,000 human years spent per day)
      50% of active users log on every day
      3 billion photos uploaded every month
      100 million users access FB by mobile devices
      Mobile users are 50% more active than non-mobile users
    • Benefits of Technology
      Benefits?: Your thoughts & examples
      Connections/Relationship Building
      Makes Life More Efficient
      Freedom & Discovery
    • New Technologies?
      iPad – anyone have one/want one?
      Xbox Natal: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p2qlHoxPioM
      Other technologies?
    • Areas of Concern
      Gaming – Can have benefits. Not proven to increase aggression, but potential is there.
      Sexting – You can be prosecuting for child pornography. It can spread and be there FOREVER.
      Tech Addictions – Lots of sources. It is a major problem.
      Texting & Driving – 23x more likely to crash.
      Multitasking – we task switch.
      Cyberbullying – Can devastate recipients.
      Porn – Um, don’t look at it. It will rot your brain!
    • Tech Addiction – Is There Such a Thing?
      My experiences
      Your experiences (without divulging any private/embarrassing information!)
      What teens (& adults) tend to be getting addicted to…
    • Tech Addictions
      MMORPGs (Massively Multiplayer Online Role-playing Games)
      WoW, Everquest II, LOTR Online, City of Heroes, Star Wars Galaxies, Runescape, Guild Wars, Sims Online
      Other video games – Halo 3, Modern Warfare 2, Guitar Hero
      Second Life
      Facebook, My Space, Twitter
      Blackberries, iPhone
    • A Problem of Definition
      “Addiction” is a hypothetical construct
      No blood test for it or brain scan for it
      We can do brain scans and “see” addiction, but it still arbitrary as to when it crosses a threshold
      Is addiction merely describing an extreme range of a behavior or is it something more?
      When does frequent engagement cross the magic threshold into addiction?
      What about someone who swims/plays an instrument 5 hours per day?
      How do we know when/if we are “addicted” to tech?
      Examples? Do you have a “friend” who is addicted?
    • Signs of Addiction
      Two classic signs apply to drugs/alcohol
      Increased tolerance
      Physiological withdrawal
      Significant negative functional impact on at least 2 major life domains
      Friends, family
      Emotional well-being
    • Why Tech Can Be Addictive
      Positive Reinforcement
      Social comparison
      Power/Esteem needs met
      Ease of access
      Social connections
      Find “flow” (i.e., get in “the zone”)
    • This Is Your Brain on Tech
      Many “addictive” technologies have a the “Vegas Effect” built into them (Tetris, Halo 3, texting, Facebook)
      Anticipation– what might happen next?
      Dopamine, a pleasure chemical in the brain, gets released when we are in a state of anticipation
    • Vegas, Baby!
    • The Vegas Effect & “Addictive” Behaviors
      Fishing & hunting
      Christmas? Easter egg hunts?
      American Idol, Survivor, Project Runway, Top Chef, & many other reality TV shows
      Pokémon Cards and any card collecting
      FB, My Space, Twitter, texting, email, etc.
    • I got a Wii!!!!!!!!
    • Pokémon Ecstasy
    • Help!
      Suggestions on managing my son’s tech time?
    • Finding Balance with Tech
      Don’t get hung up on whether you are “addicted”
      Ask yourself: Is it a problem?
      When have you been happiest in life that doesn’t involve tech? What are real world activities that you find fun/engaging?
      Reconnect with those!
    • Finding Balance with Tech
      Set some goals for grades, sports, other hobbies, homework time, income generation
      Prioritize them
      Determine how much tech time would still allow you to reach those goals
      Track your tech time
    • Be Proactive About Tech Time
      Avoid tech/games (e.g., WoW) that inherently require lots of time
      Make tech less accessible
      No TV/game system in your bedroom
      Turn off the alert/ringer on the cell
      Don’t keep FB running in the background when online
      Turn cell off at a certain time at night
    • Be Mindful
      Mindfulness is being aware of thoughts, feelings, behaviors, and sensations without judging them
      In a way, being mindful is the opposite of acting impulsively or without thinking
      Mindfulness exercise
      Mindfulness allows you the space to:
      Ask if what you are doing helping you get what you want?
      Ask this question of yourself before you engage in an activity – become an observer of your thoughts & behaviors
      Readjust what you are doing to find balance & achieve your goals
      You CAN have your cake & eat it too…if you work at this.