How Technology Wires the Learning Brain
Kids between the ages of 8 and 18 spend 11.5 hours a day using technology — whether that’s computers, television, mobile phones, or video games – and usually more than one at a time. That’s a big chunk of their 15 or 16 waking hours. But does that spell doom for the next generation? “Young people are born into technology, and they’re used to using it 24/7,” Small said. “The technology train has left. The downside of such immersion in technological devices, he said, is that they’re not having conversations, looking people in the eye, or noticing verbal cues. But that’s not the headline here. Video games, for example, aren’t just about repetitive tasks – many of them have built-in social components that allow kids to communicate. “Texting is an expression of what it means to be human,” Small said. That’s why one well-liked teacher Small knows gives her students a five-minute texting break in the middle of class. “We can train empathic behavior,” he said. “The brain is complex,” he said.