Choosing Good Technology

Tommy, Gerhardt, Michael and Perry start a game of Heroclix

Tommy, Gerhardt, Michael and Perry start a game of Heroclix

Here in the woods of Westminster, SC, sits our little therapeutic boys’ school campus. The driveway is dirt and rock. The buildings are made of logs and mortar.  Three streams converge at the southern side and the trees are too thick to number. It’s peaceful and serene … we like to think its soil is healing … but it is rarely quiet. That’s because at any given free time, there are rousing games of Capture the Flag, Knock Out, pickup basketball, Yu-Gi-Oh, Heroclix, or Sorry going on. There is frequently piano music or guitar strumming. Sometimes, someone is singing out loud. And there is conversation – always conversation.

What’s missing here at CCBS is noise from the various media. The television rarely gets turned on, there are few computers, and cell phones don’t work unless the clouds part magically and the wind blows right. Our boys are learning healthy new skills for working with people through their teenage years, and our staff is stable and strong.

So in response to the Newsweek article of July 15th, “Tweets, Texts, Email, Posts … Is the Onslaught Making Us Crazy?” we have to chime in our collective response: “We don’t know We are – dare we say it? – not the least bit crazy.” High tech just isn’t our thing, and therefore we’d be pretty poor test subjects.

This isn’t to say our phones don’t ring – they do, all day long. It’s not to say we don’t have piles of emails awaiting us at the end of the day. The pace is just slower – thanks to satellite-only internet capabilities – yet the work gets done. It gives us more time to reflect before replying to the pile, which is sometimes a good thing.

It was our founders’ belief that school moves just a bit too quickly for some middle school boys to handle. So at CCBS, we make good choices in technology usage and focus on relationship-building. Recent studies cited in the Newsweek article [and discussed in the “Powering Down” blog on the CCBS website] are pointing to a relationship between our connectivity and depression, anxiety, obsessive-compulsive behaviors, attention-deficit disorders, and outright psychosis. The new Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders due out next year will include Internet Addiction Disorder in its appendix, tagging it for “further study.” Already, China, Taiwan and Korea accept the diagnosis and are treating it as a national health crisis, according to the article. Says MIT psychologist Sherry Turkle, “Technology can make us forget important things we know about life.”

We like to think the important things in life are building relationships with peers, communicating with parents and friends, and paying attention to what has heart and meaning.

Technology evolution has been a wonderful thing to watch occur in my lifetime. And it makes me proud to be the age where I can refer to a “broken record” and get the blank stares in return. Having these kinds of conversations is both satisfying and educational – because they usually occur out on the front porch, playing or watching a board game with the boys.

posted by jleslie in Discovering What is Real and True and have Comments Off on Choosing Good Technology

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