Recently, I had the opportunity to speak with a business owner who hires from the ranks of educated young people, college-age young adults from a comparatively sophisticated market of eclectic folk. He remarked how poorly the basic social skills were for many of these otherwise good students. Being able to introduce themselves, simply to ask for employment, to be able get to the point... it's an obvious struggle.
One wonders about the quality and quantity of a young person's accumulated "family table time" at sociological opportunities like this one, about basic conversation skills, about the ability to express thoughts, to participate in an extended conversation, to be able to listen, to recognize social ques.
So when we read about the side effects of prolonged screen time, we should take note about what we can do now as adults to help the youngsters in our care.
Need a push? This is disturbing:
There is a well-established link between an increase in screen time and an increase in obesity, attention issues, school difficulties and sleeping and eating disorders. Furthermore, patterns developed in early childhood tend to persist, making it more important to establish appropriate levels of screen time early. According to the Kaiser Family Foundation, the average use of media for 8-18 year olds is nearly eight hours per day (more than 53 hours a week). What’s worse is that most of the time they are using multiple forms of media at once. Clearly it seems that we, as a society, are heading in the wrong direction.
There are some interesting suggestions in the article that may aid the humanization process for extending what fragile remnants of Western Civilization that still exist, so consider what may be wise counsel, for the benefit of us all.
What can we do at school? Not a lot. Twelve years have passed, and no one spends the night here. However, we can try to kindle the humanizing flame lurking within these boys because in classes, we emphasize the priority of the teacher/student relationship where the student learns how to participate from listening and talking in an organized setting where the student can ultimately model adult behavior as he learns what is appropriate and inappropriate for human conversation.
It's a bit of a mystery how God makes it all work, but boys learning how to mature through adults teaching the various academic disciplines in our school culture of freedom and respect is clearly a part of our deliberate philosophy of education that works. We hope that we are encouraging positive humanizing patterns versus dispensing lessons. The humanizing will come in handy when they seek employment, sure, but, it will sustain them all the days of their lives as they ultimately support our society.