Dear Sherry Part 2

This blog is somewhat of a continuation to my last entry. In the days following my previous entry I found that many discussions on other student’s blogs and on the google community were relating to the same topic. Is technology controlling us? Are we becoming too distracted? Where is the balance? Reading more about it and hearing different opinions, I find myself continuing to question the whole idea of it. I find myself bouncing back and forth on the continuum, my thoughts and opinions continuing to change.

I decided to do some more research on Sherry Turkle and came across this talk from 2011, “Alone Together.” This is also the title of her most recent book, which is something I would be interested in reading in the future.

These were some key points I took from this video, many of them parallel to the points she brings up in “Connected, but alone?” I have shared my own thoughts and reflections about each one in italics.

  • Turkle brings up the issue of children fighting with technology for their parents attention. 
    • This is a reality we are living in, it is up to families to create those boundaries and “technology-free” moments in order to interact on a personal level with each other. Ashley makes a point in her blog that she has been making a conscious effort to put her phone down and experience real life. If everyone would just make that small effort I think we could find an easier balance between technology and real-life. 
  • In both talks she refers to her initial optimism with the internet and being excited about the opportunity for connectedness. When talking about the way technology has evolved and changed our lives she says she  “didn’t see it coming”.
    • I don’t think anybody can say they saw it coming. Nobody knew the power technology was going to have or the opportunities it was going to give us. It doesn’t have to have a negative connotation to it. We can still be excited and optimistic about technology. Yes, it has become bigger than we could have ever imagined, but that also means the opportunities are bigger than we ever imagined. 
  • She calls our culture a “culture of distraction”.
    • This theme has come up in a few other people’s blog posts this week. Genna asks the question if technology is actually distracting us or engaging us? She makes a great point when she says that she was distracted in school before technology was around, it just looked different. Though there may be some credibility to Turkle’s statement, I don’t think she can put all the blame on technology. 
  • Technology is seductive, we are vulnerable.
    • There may be some truth behind this statement, but that is why it is so important to raise awareness of media literacy and digital citizenship. That is one of the reasons we are all taking this course, to learn how to educate the children and youth of this generation to be smart about their use of technology. So although technology can make us vulnerable, we can make smarter choices by being educated and critical thinkers. 
  • ” We are too busy communicating to think, to busy communicating to create, to busy communicating to really connect with the people we are with in the ways that would really count”.
    • What about all the ways technology helps us share ideas, be creative, connect with people in other places we wouldn’t otherwise connect with? Again Turkle is sharing only the negative possibilities that technology holds. We need to also appreciate the positive, while still finding that balance between technology and living in the moment.

Again I find myself debating with Turkle’s arguments, while still seeing her point of view. I am still asking questions and trying to be critical of the issues with technology. I think we need to educate our students to be good digital citizens, to be constantly aware of the issues and question the ways we allow it to influence us. I think if we are more aware, then we are the ones in control.



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