Christian school educators from Grinnell, Newton, Oskaloosa, Pella, Peoria, and Sully were blessed by the teaching of Dr. Sylvia Hart Frejd (pronounced freed) at 8:10-11:20 a.m. on Friday, March 6, 2015. Everyone in this reading audience should consider her ideas in my notes, because we are all impacted in some way by the continuing onslaught of technology in our world. I urge you to consider that summary, “The Digital Invasion,” which follows:
“The Digital Invasion: How Technology Is Shaping You and Your Relationships”
Dr. Sylvia Hart Frejd
Pella Christian High School
Friday, March 6, 2015
Summary Notes and Editorializing of Dr. Bob Stouffer, Principal, Oskaloosa Christian School
I covet your prayers. I am at the point end of the spear with this topic. People have very strong feelings about technology. People don’t want you to “mess with” their technologies.
My prayer is that God would transform us from a culture of distraction to a culture of engagement. Babies are addicted to iPads, and grandmas are addicted to Candy Crush. This is a topic for all of us. We are all being impacted.
I like what technology is doing for us. I don’t want to go back to the Dark Ages of no technology. But I don’t like what technology is doing to us. Let’s keep taking steps backward with our humanity to move forward with technology.
We will not all agree in this room about this use of technology. But let’s agree that God designed us to be in face-to-face relationships. Let’s embrace eBooks, but the more time we’re looking at screens, the more intentionally we’ll need to be about face-to-face interaction.
We all need to think critically about how we are using technology.
We must incorporate principles of helping our students to develop emotional intelligence. Students’ Emotional Quotients (EQs) are going down, even as their IQs may be going up.
I wish I knew yesterday what I know today. We are in the early stages of technology use. Technology is in its “adolescence.” Stay open to dialoguing about this topic. Listen to other people without feeling threatened. Welcome parent disagreement. It’s not perfect. There are drawbacks about technology use, but does that mean that we should throw out technology entirely? No. Of course not.
Be a resource for parents. Don’t put your head in the sand. Netnanny is the #1 filtering software of Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, Google+, etc.
Let’s watch this video of the Ohio Teacher of the Year. She uses “Discourse” software to track the progress of students; an interactive smart board; “Schoolology,” an educational Facebook on the Internet; Remind101, a group messaging system to stay in contact with all of her students and parents; and an Airliner wireless set to insure that all students are engaged with the learning activities 100% of the time.
There is no dispute: Technology is very useful. Technology is like fire — both useful and destructive at the same time. The goal is to maximize the usefulness and minimize the destructiveness.
Forty-three percent (43%) of students have been victims of cyber-bullying.
Twenty percent (20%) of teens have sent or posted nude or semi-nude pictures of themselves.
The average person checks his phone 150 times a day. We should be tracking our technology use to be accountable. There is an app called the “self-control” app; it’s ironic to use technology to control technology! We have the Holy Spirit in us, which should help us control our technology use.
Digital addiction is the most common and fastest growing addiction of our modern time. There is a lot of pressure on parents to help control their children’s use of technology. Teachers are pressured to entertain through technology use. So much time is wasted through entertainment. When do we say, “That’s enough!”
There is a rise of digital dementia in young people. People are overusing technology, resulting in an over-development on the left side of the brain. There are also rising incidences of ADHD, OCD, and other disabilities.
The Internet is making us shallow thinkers. We need to focus longer and deeper on topics. We need more “single-tasking” than “multi-tasking.” A multi-tasking environment is not conducive to good learning. Virtually every multi-tasker believes he is brilliant at multi-tasking, but they, actually, are not. This is an important issue. Students cannot be in “continuous partial attention.” Students’ brains crave novelty, and the classroom is boring to them with “one thing at a time.” Chronic multi-tasking is not an excuse for failure to fully attend to important information. Do you want your surgeon to be a multi-tasker when he is performing surgery on your brain? The sure sign of brilliance is focus and single-tasking.
We’re launching a campus-wide campaign on Liberty University in the fall: “LOOK UP!” It’s not negative. “Look up! Make a friend!” “Look up! You may meet your future wife!” “Look up! Take notes by hand! Improve your grade!” New studies show the pen to paper note-taking results in better academic performance. It’s a personalized situation, though.
Time for Conversation
How has technology helped you as a teacher? Schoolology is free and helpful. All of the materials are on the website. Moodle is also a great electronic resource.
How has technology challenged you as a teacher? We need to create healthy boundaries for technology use (between the personal and professional). Real people trump digital people. We have the responsibility to model appropriate use of technologies. Don’t allow this technology use to take your life. People are paying more to go on technology-free cruises than for others! We need to have discussions as schools to determine how we will be communicating with each other through technology. Make the parameters clear in the school community (for students, parents, and educators). Don’t burn out! Have self-awareness.
What additional training would assist you with technology? Teachers get frustrated when they want to use technology, but don’t have the training to do so. The Vermeer Technology Workshop in June is focusing on educational technology use.
There is, regrettably, a rapid increase of electronic pornography. In 1995, 1% of population was viewing pornography; in 2014, 40% are doing so. In the U.S., 40,000,000 adults admit to viewing pornography daily. Forty-seven percent (47%) report that Internet pornography is a problem in their homes. Ninety-three percent (93%) of boys and 62% of girls have been exposed to Internet pornography before the age of 18. The highest risk population? Teenage boys from 12-17 years of age. The average age of the first view of Internet pornography is 8 years of age.
Covenant Eyes and Fight the New Drug websites include good resources for resisting Internet pornography.
The Demise of Guys, a book by Philip Zimbardo, Stanford University
“Young men are educationally and relationally doomed.”
Excessive Internet Use
Video Gaming (The average guy will spend 10,000 hours prior to age 21.)
Beware the smart, introverted kids who find “accomplishment” and “community” in gaming.
Be a good steward of technology for God’s glory. As Christians, we must have a voice to change the culture in regard to technology use. We’re wasting too much time with technology.
Children spend 40% less time with their parents than a generation ago. This next generation will be the first to have a shorter lifespan than their parents.
Nature Deficit Disorder (NDF) is a real problem. Parks are empty. Kids are sedentary in front of screens. Virtual seems more exciting, but the real thing is better for you. There is a Vitamin D deficit of people from not getting outside, contributing to higher incidences of cancer and obesity. Schools can contribute to healthier lifestyles. Children form (good and bad) habits which last a lifetime.
Signs of Digital Addiction
Anxiety about not being able to use a device
Lying about digital use
Failed attempts to cut back
Spending more time in digital life than real life
Steve Jobs told someone once that he wanted the iPhone to be as pleasurable as his previous pleasure through cocaine. We laugh, but there is truth in how the iPhone has impacted our culture in this addictive way.
The bottom line is to ask those with whom you live, so they will hold you accountable.
Technology should promote conversation, not lead to additional screen time.
Get kids to think for themselves, not to depend upon Google for answers. Kids used to go to their parents with questions of interest; now kids go to Google.
Digital Wellness Plan
Keep informed about our digital world. Growth of the Internet is exponential.
Establish your own digital boundaries.
American Academy of Pediatrics Screen Time Guidelines
Children under 2 should have zero screen time. Children need physical touch. They need to attach emotionally with their parents. They need to feel seen, valued, and heard. Six-month-olds can navigate the iPad and then crave it. There is now an iPotty app for potty training!
Children over 2 should experience no more than 2 hours per day. Children need active engagement with their parents and other children. Screens should not become electronic parents.
The average child is spending 8-10 hours a day on screen time.
Children need and crave conversation. Don’t let the introvert turn inward.
With the digital invasion, there has been a 40% decrease in empathy and a 30% increase of narcissism.
This is the generation of the “selfie.” It’s embarrassing and self-promoting. “It’s not about you.” It’s all about God. It’s not about the number of people following you. It’s about the number of people you’re serving.
Think about ways you can incorporate EQ instruction in the classroom.
IQ gets you through school, but EQ gets you through life.
There are long waits for counseling services at college campuses. Students who have not gained a good attachment with their parents will have attachment difficulties for their entire lives.
Research is showing that journaling brings anxiety, depression, and suicide rates go down. Journals allow conversation between the teacher and student.
Five Keys to Emotional Intelligence
Self-Awareness. We don’t want to be alone with our thoughts and feelings. Technology offers 24/7/365 “connection.” If we’re not with people face-to-face, we will be “lonely.” Be still. Be quiet. Know that He is God. Reflect back to students what they’re feeling.
Self-regulation. Experience and process the emotion. Determine appropriate responses. Help students manage stress. Breathe. Oxygenate the brain. Get to the deeper, real issues. Discover what hurts of the past trigger anger? Go into time-out.
Self-control. The Stanford Marshmallow Test discovered that students with self-control did better in life. We need to learn how to defer our gratification in an instant gratification world.
Self-acceptance. We compare ourselves to others. We compare our children to other people’s children. We need to have greater empathy for how people will be receiving our personalities, identities, and communication. I’m writing a new college curriculum: “Look Up!” One strand is called “Be Yourself.” Who are you, really? Who does God say you are? We are chosen by God. We are children of God. We are the apple of His eye. May your life one day be as awesome as you portray on Facebook. Accept yourself as you are, including your flaws.
Self-expression. Know what you need, and ask in a way which is calm and civil. Don’t up the ante and escalate impatience/anger. People should be able to express our needs to others. Too many people are hyper-sensitive and unwilling to confront others about their inappropriate behavior. Be a thermometer, setting response, not a thermostat which gets cold to those who are cold or hot with people who are unkind. I-Messages are better than You-Messages, i.e., “I feel sad when you yell at me” vs. “You make me sad when you yell at me.”
I am writing a new book, Reclaiming Conversations (with God, with self, and with others). What is the biblical lens for relationship? Be able to read other people’s emotions, so you can have a higher EQ. We are here to serve others. We are not here to be served by others. Jesus came to serve, not to be served, to give his life as a ransom for many.
Mindfulness is important. We need to be present where we are. Be present to God. Be present to self. Be present to others. This is our spiritual act of worship, to offer ourselves as living sacrifices to God.
We need to help children grow up to be emotionally healthy adults. Conversation is the relationship. We remember people through relationship, not information.
Electronic communication for information. Face-to-face communication for emotion. What would change if we simply “looked up”? In parent-teacher conferences, encourage parents how to better relate to their children.
Change is hard. Get students to think first. (Be transformed by the renewing of your mind.) Give reasons and motivation for change. Teachers have a tough job. We are educators, coaches, encouragers, motivators, ministers, and disciplers.
3 Digital-Free Spaces
These should be places where conversation is encouraged and flows freely. Get the earbuds out of our ears.
We are not far from implants which allow voice-to-brain communication. People are already “enjoying” relationships with robots. When the technology is advancing so quickly, boundaries become even more important. The wonderful tools of technology can be twisted by Satan to limit relationships and service in the Kingdom of God.
My Digital Boundaries
Give God the first view of your day. Renew your mind.
Don’t tweet, text, or post until you’ve spent time in God’s Word, prayer, and journaling.
If social media is pulling me down, I log off. Serve others to lift up the dialogue on social media.
Real people trump virtual people. Be present where you are.
Unplug and take digital breaks throughout my day.
Regarding technology use, what will you be smiling about years from now? What will you regret? We should remember “real life” and relationships. Use technology, but don’t waste time with technology.
Here is the video which I will be using to launch my nation-wide “Look Up” campaign in the fall.
“Look up! See God’s beauty! Be amazed!”