As someone who has written on the "Adverse Effects of Technology," my interests were recently piqued by a new book entitled, "The Digital Pandemic" by Mack R. Hicks, Ph.D. (New Horizon Press), a fascinating thesis on the effect of technology on our youth. So much so, I believe it should be considered mandatory reading for everyone involved with PTA and school SAC programs. The premise behind Dr. Hicks' book is that technology has an addictive quality to it which will have long-term adverse effects on our culture.
The book includes statistics demonstrating the pervasiveness of technology. For example, he points out 97% of twelve to 17 year-olds play video games, a third of which play adult games. This may not be startling to those of us who already guessed it but, as a noted psychologist and educator, he goes on to describe how it physically affects human thinking patterns. There have been plenty of such studies to indicate the adverse affect of technology, such as the King's College London University study by Dr. Glenn Wilson which found that workers distracted by technology suffer a greater loss of IQ than if they'd smoked marijuana, but Hicks' work goes further to demonstrate how technology alters the minds of impressionable youth. Further, they begin to exhibit the same robotic mannerisms of the technology they use which is not conducive for grooming socialization skills. Hicks basically argues that technology is a genuine threat to the human spirit. Such a claim should sound warning bells to parents as well as business people who will have to deal with these youngsters in the years ahead. He writes:
"This whole electronic revolution, with its emphasis on generational differences, is reminiscent of the 1960s and 70s, but this time the goal isn't peace and love as much as unfettered, self-directed pleasure (and learning?). Well, if you're a kid and you don't trust adults, it's likely you're headed for trouble, big time."
Hicks stresses the need for effective mentoring and parenting, something which may sound reminiscent of a bygone era. Aside from simply describing the problem, he goes on to offer pragmatic suggestions for parents, kids, and schools to help curb technology addiction. He devotes a whole chapter (17) to "Suggestions for Inoculating the Family," as well as "Suggestions for Schools" in the Appendix.
The adverse effects of technology is a bona fide problem, and I, for one, applaud Dr. Hicks' initiative for bringing this to the attention for all of us. As he writes, "If the growing epidemic of machines infests us all, I believe we'll lose our humanity."
Hicks' work basically confirms one of our Bryce's Laws, whereas: "As the use of technology increases, social skills decrease."
"Digital Pandemic" by Mack R. Hicks, Ph.D.
New Horizon Press Books
Barnes & Noble
Keep the Faith!
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Tim Bryce is the Managing Director of M. Bryce & Associates (MBA) of Palm Harbor, Florida and has over 30 years of experience in the management consulting field. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
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