It is not possible for kids to unplug from technology today regardless of what researchers might say. At least not the way we are being told by national television. The reason why I am so certain about this is because our society is beyond the point of technological addiction and the majority of folks aren’t able to realize it. We are now living in the conditioned age of technology or what Dr. Kardas call, “true tech addition.” Dr. Kardaras stated in an article written by the daily news journal that “Once a kid has crossed the line into true tech addiction, treatment can be very difficult. Indeed, I have found it easier to treat heroin and crystal meth addicts than lost-in-the-matrix video gamers or Facebook-dependent social media addicts.” The former is a pretty strong statement, isn’t it? I think so.
Look, asking parents to be vigilant, be more involved in their children’s lives, and provide alternatives to smartphone and social media use are good ways to attempt to solve the overuse of technology problem we have in the US but these methods won’t break the cycle of technological conditioning for a number of reasons: 1) Parents are also addicted (or shall we say conditioned) to technology. It is literally impossible to break your child’s habit with technology if you, as his/her role model, do the same thing. Albert Bandura’s social learning theory provides a good theoretical justification for this position. 2) We are now behaving more like the machine without realizing. How many hours a day are you playing/interacting with the machine? Be honest. Several hours a day, right? Of course you are — We all are. It is very difficult to break a habit when people aren’t aware they might have a problem. The first step in fixing a problem is realizing that there is a problem in the first place!
I am not opposed to encouraging kids to interact with others kids to help them experience more face-to-face interactions and engage with the world around them. The former is very important and quite frankly necessary. I hope my daughter does that and much more. I am, however, skeptical that kids will opt to play and develop social skills outdoors instead of being on their smartphone because they have been conditioned to using these tools too early in their lives.
In my book, “Becoming a Brand: The Rise of technomoderation” which is an educational memoir by the way, I introduce a new theory of mass communication that provides a framework to better understand why kids (or their parents) won’t break free from technology anytime soon.
What if I told you that we are now in the human robot syndrome phase of the Homo Sapiens Immodicus model? or should I say, a phase where human beings are literally becoming more like robots than humans. We are beyond of what I call the process of transformation into a machine. The obsessive computer like person is already here to stay for a while. How can we deny it? The obsessive computer like persons are everywhere! Aren’t they?
So you might be asking. How can we fix this problem then? My answer is: Check the Homo Sapiens Immodicus Model (Almeida, 2016) and see what is coming up next in the cycle — The next phase in the cycle is called the burn out phase. It won’t be until the human reversal phase that we will start to see the changes we want to see in society today. The post-burned-out phase is where we will see the real changes or colloquially speaking a reduction in neurotic computer use. When is it going to happen? I am not totally sure. I predicted sometime in 2020 but I think it will take a bit longer than that because the human brain is indeed an amazing organ and is able to adapt to the most illogical of our behaviors including being on a machine for 12 hours a day.
Helping your kids unplug from technology the way society is suggesting is not possible today. At least, I am not seeing it. What do you see?