Technology provides us with the ubiquitous capacity to connect, interact, and exchange ideas at a speed that makes it difficult to navigate in a way that we can truly manage effectively. Transformation of communication in the digital age can be both global and local, generic and customized, synchronous and asynchronous, exploitive and liberating, inclusive and exclusive! The scope of this transformation is forcing us to look at the importance of teaching digital literacy and the need for developing digital citizens of the future. I am of that generation that has lived life with and without the Internet (there are not too many of us left!) and can lament about the loss of time to just “do nothing.” I sometimes worry that we forfeit the joys of the moment and lose appreciation for the experiences that are directly in front of us OR the ability for us to create our own experiences using our own imagination.
In this world of perpetual connectivity, we need to pause and consider the implications of technology on our daily lives and the dominance of communication over experience. Michael Harris states in his book, The End of Absence, that as consumers of technology we must be willing to accept its value and its faults. For example, some people believe that the internet increases risk of alienation, isolation, depression, and withdrawal into a virtual world that does not reflect society. Supporters of technology believe that the use of the internet increases civic engagement, breadth of social networks, and awareness of global and social issues, while also opening up worlds that are not accessible to everyone due to geography, circumstance, or money. Whichever way we look at technology, we need to remain critical yet appreciative, and realize that we have choices in how and when we use technology.
At SMS, we are committed to helping your daughters:
Develop and practice media-literacy skills helping them analyze gender messages, challenge stereotypes, discern fact from fiction, etc.
Learn how to use technology appropriately and responsibly.
Recognize the importance of digital etiquette and the impact of their behavior online – both immediate and long-term.
Appreciate the impact of sharing information online and develop digital security savvy (privacy and protection – both for self and others).
Find joy in being in the moment with friends, family and comfortable being ALONE!
In the end, it is our responsibility to decide how to harness technology to enrich our lives but also to give permission to “absent ourselves” to really appreciate the people and the world around us. That is the gift that we as adults can give to our daughters in helping them become digital citizens of the world.
“We need to explore the interaction between culture and technology
in developing our citizens of tomorrow.”
“Once we have lost the gift of absence, we may never remember its value.
The End of Absence: Reclaiming What We’ve Lost in a World of Constant Connection, Michael Harris, 2014
What: acclaimed documentary on growing up in the digital age (part of our Open House programming)
When: Wednesday, January 25 | 7:30pm
Attendance: Free | RSVP
What: An Evening with Dr. Gordon Neufeld
When: Thursday, February 2 | 7:00 - 9:00pm
Where: Victoria Conference Centre
Attendance: $20 | Tickets