Experts in the child development, mental health, and academic fields, have been pointing to how the overuse of technological devices have impacted young learners. Adults, too, have been impacted, especially considering some of the vitriol being tossed around on social media these days. With this being said–we’re not going back 30 years. How then do we find solutions for a huge problem? How about starting with No Tech Tuesdays?
No Tech Tuesdays can begin right here in East Greenwich. While acknowledging that technology provides many benefits, let us also look to how it can be put in proper perspective. Technological devices are tools. Unfortunately, they have been used to spread falsehoods, for cyber bullying, and as a replacement for in-person relationships far too frequently. All of this can impact young learners to a great degree.
No Tech Tuesdays is not technology bashing. In fact, let us begin small. Perhaps No Tech Tuesdays first endeavor would be taking one day (Tuesday) and eliminate texting for 24 hours. By doing this, phone communications, for an entire day, would be conducted the old-fashioned way – by voice messaging. This would enhance verbal communications and add a human element to each discussion.
In the past, I have recommended this initiative to our schools with a different spin. No Tech Tuesdays would have consisted of a day filled with additional Socratic Learning (emphasizing discussions in groups). Perhaps we can revisit this later.
So, how about taking a little challenge? How about establishing August 29th as the beginning of No Tech Tuesdays in East Greenwich? Don’t get nervous –we’ll start by limiting texting (only) for our initial effort. Parents can pump this up by having a discussion with their children about taking the challenge. Parents can also model behavior by avoiding texting for a 24-hour period as well. Who knows – it might catch on.
Hopefully, by taking part in No Tech Tuesdays, we can put people at the forefront of our discussions. It would be nice if we could also enhance community by establishing a little more human connection. (If only by hearing the voices of others to start).
There will be no tests. There will be no monitoring. There will only be a good faith effort to consider how technology plays roles in our lives. Later, we can expand by doing something a little bit more. Perhaps we could look at time spent on TikTok or Facebook. Let me know what you think. It might be fun. Thanks. Bob
No Tech Tuesdays Action Steps
- Discuss participating with family and friends.
- Do a trial run by calling people you know on the phone prior to the 29th.
- Make a game out of it with your family – perhaps call it ‘whoops you texted’.
- Discuss with others the importance of relationships.
- If you ‘slip’, don’t worry – try again.
- Talk to others who’ve taken this challenge.
- Begin by avoiding texting for 24 hours. This is not a bashing of all technology.
- Consider taking walks with family/friends and talking in-person along the way.
- After giving it a try reflect upon whether or not it was difficult.
P.S. Mark your calendars for Tuesday, August 29th, for No Tech Tuesdays. It’s now in your hands.
Bob Houghtaling is the substance abuse prevention and mental health director for the Town of East Greenwich.