Hello, Seniors. Review each of these three current, thematically-related essays from The New York Times. Select the one you find most interesting. Write a response of at least 300 words in which you state, in your own words, the central claim–the thesis–of the essay, and then respond to it. Quoting the text is essential. Be attentive to your syntax and the development of your ideas. Read your work aloud and revise as necessary before you commit to your final copy. Write well and honestly. Enjoy the process.
This is due by 10pm on Thursday, October 29.
Compulsive Texting Takes Toll on Teenagers
Stop Googling. Let’s Talk.
Teenage Romance: Online Is Just Another Place to Flirt, Hang Out and Break Up
One Response to I heart Technology Comments (RSS)
I read the article, “Stop Googling. Let’s Talk.,” by Sherry Turkle. It has given me a great deal to think about not only as a teacher of teenagers, but also generally as a person with a smartphone and a passion for communication. And, more to the point, it has made me feel bashful about some of my recent communication habits. Turkle explains that excessive dependence on our phones has negatively affected many parts of our lives. Because we often seek out these little screens at the expense of sustained face-to-face contact, the result is fewer authentic conversations, decreased capacity for empathy, and discomfort at the prospect of time spent in solitude. Many statistics are cited in the article, but I am especially intrigued by the anecdotal statements of young people who lament what their phones are doing to them. The one that I cannot shake from my mind is from a 15-year-old boy who intends one day to raise his own children differently than how he is being raised—“with phones out during meals and in the park and during his school sports events.” This boy knows that he is being shortchanged in terms of the attention his parents pay to him.
Turkle emphasizes the decline of real, old-fashioned conversation—the kind that is “open-ended and spontaneous, in which we play with ideas and allow ourselves to be fully present and vulnerable.” This type of personal communication is also how we learn to read body language and facial expressions, which is a skill that best allows “empathy and intimacy to flourish.” Our phones are robbing us of this necessary social interaction and alienating us from one another. Further, we are using our phones as a substitute for solitude. Turkle writes, “If we don’t know how to be alone, we’ll only know how to be lonely.” She adds, “In solitude, we learn to concentrate and imagine, to listen to ourselves. We need these skills to be fully present in conversation.” Her case is extremely strong for why it surely is helpful to take meaningful breaks from phone dependency.
After reading this article, I want to make a real effort to put my phone on airplane mode more often. My loved ones are in frequent contact with me, yes, but I also need to create more space in mind for pleasant conversations with the people right beside me.
(My response here is 396 words. Note that I never end a paragraph with a quotation; I always follow a quotation with my own comment or analysis.)