Thursday, July 16, 2009

Technology Barriers

There was a time, not too long ago, when I considered myself to be up to date with new technology. Lately however, I feel as though I have been left behind with the changes and advances in technology. This is for two reasons:
1. I have found it difficult to keep up with the rapid rate at which technology has continued to evolve and find its way into so many different aspects of my life; and
2. I began to rebel against advances in technology generally around the time that mobile phones changed from being a simple tool of communication to a device which took photos (and generally quite bad ones at that i.e. initially less than one megapixel) and began to intrude on basic face to face human interaction.

There are a number of reasons why I am particularly adverse to today’s mobile phones:

  • Many people’s lives seem to revolve around their mobile phone;

  • I am seeing children, as young as 10 years of age, at school camps with mobile phones (when the idea of the camp is to get away from technology and relate to one another and nature);

  • The recent bullying incidents taking place at schools, which are being broadcast over the internet using mobile phone technology.

Whilst I do have a mobile of my own (and I do rely on it more now than in the past when I would leave it in the glove box for emergencies only), I do not allow my life to be controlled by it.

I have recently discovered Facebook, MySpace and now Twitter. Whilst these websites are great for keeping in touch with friends and family (particularly for travellers) and communicating with friends overseas, I believe people are spending far too many hours in front of the computer on these sites. Is it really necessary to spend hour upon hour every day in front of the computer catching up with friends, many of whom that just live around the corner? I say GET OUTSIDE and socialize with your friends!

As illustrated in an article from the International Journal of Obesity (2003), our children are becoming more obese on average. So why are we encouraging them to spend hours utilising technologies that keep them in front of a computer when we should be encouraging them to get outdoors, exercise and interact with their friends face to face?

I believe technology used wisely could be beneficial to children's education provided it is used in moderation.
I would be interested to hear you views on this issue.


Jim Price

Reference source : Hardus, P, M. (2003). Public perceptions of the causes and prevention of obesity among primary school children. International Journal of Obesity, 27, 1465–1471. Retrieved July 16, 2009, from

Photo: Retrieved August 16, 2009, from


  1. Hello Jim,

    I'm with you on the mobile phone issue, but I live with someone who is a huge techno head!
    Makes life difficult at times.

    I appreciate the benefits of a mobile phone, but I will only use it when it suits me and generally just for emergencies.
    I wont be a slave to it and I dont even have message bank, as I dont want messages!
    And another thing, I dont want to be contactable all the time- I only want family to be able to call for something important.
    It's a necessary evil, but a useful tool when used for its intended purpose.

    My husband is the opposite and I enrage him with my flippant attitude! I dont take care of the phone or charge it etc.And I rarely turn it on.
    I feel as though I am locked in a battle with this small object.

    Another very important aspect for me is the health issue. My children were at a small country school some years back and a local family accepted an offer from Vodafone to erect a tower on a hill over the school.
    And so began a huge battle between the community and the phone company. In the process the community learned much more about the effects of EMR than we ever wanted to know.It changed us all and I know it certainly changed my kids.
    They have the same attitude to mobile phones that I do.Only the eldest has a phone and each month the credit on it remains unspent- he uses it for music and videos only.
    I saw Charlie Teo interviewed about the rise in the incidence of brain cancers in kids and he is 100% certain that it is from mobile phone useage. Here is the country's most respected brain surgeon advising against over use of mobile phones, but do you think many people listen?
    Whenever I find myself in a discussion about the health effects and I put forward my viewpoint, people look at me like I have two heads!

    As for social networking sites,I was introduced to Facebook by a friend and found it a bit addictive.When I realised how much time I was wasting, I de-activated my account, I figure if people want to keep in touch, they can do it the old fashioned way.
    Its too easy for friends to post to Facebook and feel as though they have done their duty.
    If we dont want to catch up with friends face to face, what's the point in wasting time with each other on the net?
    But again, it has it's place, namely for connecting friends and family living far apart.

    I value my time so much now, that I dont want to waste any of it.

    The trick is to find ways to use technology in valuable ways for our learners.
    I love to see kids out and about in the fresh air too.
    The obesity issue is a very worrying one.
    I've rambled enough.


  2. Thanks for the comments on my blog Mia, sounds as if we have the same views on mobile phones. I really enjoyed reading your views on this issue and I totally agree with you about the health issues with mobiles.
    Talk with you soon.

  3. Jim

    I so agree with your sentiments about technology taking over from face to face interaction.

    I am actually concerned for our younger generation possibly losing the ability to recognise body language - the ability to "read" people before a single word has been said. To understand "inflections" within the spoken word.

    I have actually seen a group of young people sitting around not saying a word to each other, but madly texting away at their phones. Do they know how to deal with emotion from other people? Are they afraid of emotions? Is this why when a proper life scenario confronts their ability to handle oppostion or rejection becomes so overwhelming for them that they end their life?

    I actually ponder on how much 'pretend' interaction contributes to this sense of loneliness these suicidees must have felt at the time they decided to end it all.

  4. Hi Jim,
    Just reading your blog and have to say I too worry about the intrusion mobiles seem to make. I have three teenagers and they, at times, seem to be ruled by their mobiles and msn chat. The time spent chatting or texting seems to be in another dimension so that they don't realise how much real time they have used.
    I do believe that as educators we need to harness this technology and make it work for us rather than just banning it.
    Well back to reading now.