Friday, March 19, 2010

Screenagers


I half laughed when I heard this new terminology...

Screenagers are teenagers hooked on their mobile devices.
Apparently Britain now deems this problem as an addiction and has launched rehabilitation programs to deal with it.
'Mental health services need to adapt quickly to the changing worlds that young people inhabit, and understand just how seriously their lives can be impaired by unregulated time online, on-screen or in-game,' he said.

'We have found that many of the existing services fail to recognise the complexity of these situations, borrowing from older models of addiction and substance misuse to very limited effect.

'This is why Capio Nightingale Hospital has launched the first Young Person Technology Addiction Service, which we hope will address the underlying causes of this addiction to transform screenagers back into teenagers.'

The treatment aims to increase off-screen social activities and improve the person's confidence in face-to-face situations, the lack of which may have made them more susceptible to technology addiction.

It also encourages them to think about their relationship with their phone, computer games or social networking websites like Facebook and teaches them skills to help them to switch off.
Unfortunately, the Brits seem to think everything is a mental disorder.
They are big on "treatment".

I will agree though that there is a price that comes with technology.
Perhaps that price is how it has created dependency (people can't live without their devices) and a slavish mentality (always have to respond to ring tones/buzzes or Tweets) and loss of face to face social skills. But really if you think about it, our own parents used to complain about how much time we sat and talked on the land line telephones and watched TV, just as their parents complained about how much time was spent by our parents going out to the movies, reading comic books, or being glued to AM/FM radios!

Cell phone and laptop technology is where communication is for kids and 20-30 somethings right now. Facebook, Twitter, Skype, etc. .... are means for them to keep in touch 24/7.
Wii's, IPods, and online gaming have become their entertainment.

What I find fascinating is that these technologies were developed and marketed and have become hugely successful and now some people are complaining about their overuse.
What do they expect?
They think these kids are going to spend some time outside gardening? or playing Scrabble? or reading a book?

Kids today are living in a totally different world then when their parents were teenagers. They have learned from a very young age (after being plopped in front of TV screens by their parents) to value being entertained by electronic equipment, as well as how to take full advantage of the technology of their time. Who can blame them?

Face it - the 40 to 50 something crowd who have teenagers have largely created this monster, especially as they have tried to buy favor with their children by purchasing gadgets for them early on. Honestly, does a 10 year old need a cellphone? or another XBox or Wii?

Sure, I agree that devices are overused - I have even seen teens in a group texting others and at times ignoring the others they are physically with. There is an element of rudeness I find has developed with kids that they don't seem to comprehend, and I find it particularly annoying to see teens texting or playing mobile phone games when sitting at a dinner table with their family (presumably) in a restaurant.... and its even more annoying that the parents don't seem to care.

We have a rule in our family that you may NOT use the cell phone at the table, or when dining out. In fact, we don't answer the land line if it rings and we are eating. That's what message machines are for.

Kids haven't been taught much in the way of limits.
Whose fault is that?

Perhaps it's too late for parents to sit down and have a discussion about technology use with their kids - or maybe they can just text them.

1 comment:

Wendy said...

I think you hit the nail right on the head - if we have a problem with the way kids are using the technology "we" have made available to them, we have only ourselves to blame.

My children do not have cellphones (and neither do I), an Xbox or a Wii.

And they do enjoy playing board games, going outside, planting a garden, and reading books. I guess it's just a matter of what we, the parents, have instilled as being important.