This past weekend, way past his bedtime and on his way to bed, my six year-old son tried to sneak his iPad past me. I very sternly said, "What do you think you are doing young man?" He responded with, "Bubba (his brother) is building a cool (Minecraft) world and I want to be in it with him."
Frustrated that they were on technology instead of going to bed, I scolded them, took both devices away, and returned downstairs grumbling about kids and their electronic gadgets.
After texting my wife about it, I posted it on Twitter, and returned to watching television while responding to my emails. I thought to myself that my wife and I needed to video chat about this as I believe she is setting a bad example.
According to a recent survey about half of teens think they're addicted to their phones. They would prefer gaming and "Snapchatting" and "Instagraming" with their friends more than actually meeting up with them. I know this to be true because I read about it on Reddit while listening to a podcast.
Yes, young people are addicted to technology... Just not as addicted as we are.
Whenever you read or hear something about teenagers' obsession with Instagram, remember to compare it to our email addiction. Yep, I said addiction. According to a recent poll someone forwarded me from Facebook, nearly 60% of adults check their work email while on vacation, and 6% have checked their email while a spouse is in labor. Another 6% have checked email at a funeral and 10% at a child's school event (having just been at my son's band concert last week I think it's more like 10% DON'T check their email at school functions).
"No Brayden I wasn't surfing the net while you were playing, ehhhh, I was filming of course! Why was the camera pointed to the ground? ummmm... Let's got get some ice cream!
A recent Fortune Magazine study discovered that an average teacher receives close to 150 emails each and every day, spending as much as 28% of their work day in front of a computer screen of some sorts. And, that number is not likely to go down anytime in the near future. It makes me miss the good ole days of AOL. YOU'VE GOT MAIL!
Yes, you've got mail... And way too much of it.
There's no doubt that technology has made running a music program infinitely easier, but I'm not so sure it makes our lives better. I believe the reason we are so obsessed with technology is that we are longing for connection and validation. We don't just want to earn a Superior rating, we want everyone to know about it, and we want to know about everyone else's score. It's more about connection and validation than it is narcissism. It's one way of saying, I'M HERE, I MATTER and DO YOU SEE ME?
Speaking collectively, we miss each other. We miss being a part of something bigger than ourselves. We want to be connected to and share something with other human beings and that is one of the things your class does best!
So here's my thought...
This Friday, let's have an electronic cleanse and go old school! Let's put down our cell phones, turn off our tuners, and make some harmonies without the Harmony Director. No digital recorders, Powerpoints, or metronomes. Let's help the kids tune out the outside world by tuning in to them! Yes, on Friday, let's shut down our smart phones and put an autoresponder on our email...
Why Friday? I have another email to send to you tomorrow and I don't want you to miss it. After all, I need to be heard and validated.
Hang in there, only a few more weeks left!