I had a myriad of thoughts this week about being connected and my engagement with media. When I took inventory of the technology in my life I realize that I have access to media wherever I am. The tablet, desk top computer (yes I still have one!), iPad and my cell phone. I often joke about going to “crush candy”, which has become code for using the washroom in our house, with my cell phone in hand away I go. It is something I find has become natural for many people. Several conversations this week opened my eyes to the fact that many people sleep with their phones close to the bed and if they are having difficulty sleeping they will grab their phones and peruse social media.This is not necessarily a good thing. As Dana Smith indicated in her blog
“Suppression of melatonin then has the opposite effects, increasing alertness and arousal, and even altering REM sleep patterns when you finally do nod off.” So being constantly connected is convenient but can be detrimental to your health. It makes me wonder how many of our students are experiencing difficulties because of poor sleep connected to device use.
Where is your phone when you sleep?
In a recent story in the USA on Sleep & Technology
people who use technology before bed are likely to struggle with getting to sleep and this is becoming more and more connected to “Sleep disorders and chronic sleep loss can increase the risk for heart attacks, heart disease, high blood pressure, diabetes and strokes.” There is also an increased frequency in people texting and emailing while still “asleep”. I haven’t experienced this yet… or at least not that I remember.
It begs the question can we be too connected?
When we look at Nathan Jurgenson’s article The IRL Fetish
he points out that we have the capability to be ‘connected’ everywhere but is it too much and causing a disconnect from the real world? Michael Poh
would say yes. He points out that now a days we do not call people on the phone but text instead.
How many of us don’t even have a land line any more?
He believes that we have created an “overdependence to using the online amenities to carry out our social biddings”. We use emoticons to communicate emotion and give our text some type of “tone”. We connect through social media and in chat rooms replacing the need for face to face contact.
“While eating, defecating, or resting in our beds, we are rubbing on our glowing rectangles, seemingly lost within the infostream.” –Nathan Jurgenson
With the constant connection to media readily at your fingertips how do we help students (as well as ourselves) to learn to responsibly balance online and offline worlds?
I appreciated Ashley’s blog about Life Beyond Our Devices as it related to what I was trying to say this week. I was especially struck by the question “Has technology become an obligation as opposed to a luxury?” I used to enjoy scrolling mindlessly through a news feed but now I evaluating every interaction I have with media to figure out if this is something that is productive and helping me or just consuming my time.
As a final thought I was captivated by the video about Prensky’s “Digital Natives vs. Digital Immigrants” theory but spent most of my time looking at David White’s alternative view of this. The continuum of “visitor and resident” really helped me understand the way that I engage with media. I delved deeper into mapping out my personal engagement with media. I spend most of my time as a resident on Facebook with limited people in my professional realm there. I rarely use other forms of media for personal reasons as a resident which explains the learning curve I am on with this class. I didn’t include my blog on the map as I am hoping to shift it from the far left over to the far right.
I would encourage you to do the mapping activity your self and with your students. It has certainly helped me gain perspective of where I am in my digital identity.