Sunday Snippet: Step Out From Behind That Screen!
Our observations have lead us to a significant conclusion. Clinging to one’s technology in social settings diminishes the value and the integrity of social interaction. Simply put, when one feels compelled to remain engage in texting while also trying to maintain a face to face conversation, the personal connection almost always plays second fiddle to the screen connection.
Now, we are not trying to demonize texting and other technology based socializing. It clearly represents a cultural shift and one that has proven to have many benefits. But the way it has invaded nearly every aspect of our lives has resulted in the erosion of social skills and genuine social connections.
And research is beginning to show that our screen immersed environments are beginning to deeply erode our social skills. A recent essay in the New York Times by Sherry Turkle, a professor in the program in Science, Technology and Society at M.I.T. and the author, most recently, of “Reclaiming Conversation: The Power of Talk in a Digital Age,” Her premise involves the concern that technology is actually driving us apart and periodically stepping away can have a huge impact in reclaiming our personal connections with others.
In Stop Googling. Let’s Talk, Turkle references a recent study that took place at a screen free camp program. “After five days without phones or tablets, these campers were able to read facial emotions and correctly identify the emotions of actors in videotaped scenes significantly better than a control group. What fostered these new empathic responses? They talked to one another!”
“Our texts are fine,” a college junior said. “It’s what texting does to our conversations when we are together that’s the problem!”
We often run into resistance when we describe our device-free environment at Camp WeHaKee to potential camper families (and believe it or not, a good portion of that resistance comes from parents!). But it is remarkable how quickly campers adjust to having both hands free (which coincices with having both eyes and ears free as well!) allowing them to more genuinely discover the people and the world in front of them. And parents consistently report that their daughters return home with a greater sense of empathy along with new and improved listening skills!
Just another example of the freeing and empowering nature of the WeHaKee experience. Well, thank you for reading today and we wish you a great week!