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  • Writer's pictureDeborah Vail

Mind Over Tech

I've spoken with thousands of parents over the years who are frustrated by the struggle and pressure to reduce "tech time" in their household. To provide these families with solutions, I recently attended a fascinating seminar detailing the impacts of technology on mental health and some solutions to "tech time" frustrations. For an entire day in early March, I learned from the engaging Dr. Doreen Dodgen-Magee.

The key conclusions for me were that technology:

  • reduces capacity for paying attention,

  • increases objectifying of human beings,

  • reduces ability to "build" our knowledge banks by hampering memory processing, and

  • increases mental health issues (anxiety, depression, etc.).

Technology is so helpful, but over-consumption easily crowds out valuable lived experiences that are necessary for our good mental and physical health. Instead of households engaging in healthy, connecting behaviors (where we attune to each other and co-regulate our nervous systems together), more time is spent consuming overstimulating and addictive media which can throw our nervous systems into a state of dysregulation. When some tech-saturated households finally gather for moments of potential connection, the moments are often tense, rushed, and the connections are shallow at best.

The key to reducing technology use is found in replacing "tech time" with other activities (as opposed to simply stopping, thereby leaving a gaping hole which is more likely to be refilled by the old "tech time" behaviors). Dr. Dodgen-Magee emphasized cultivating more moments that fill up our senses and give us the thrill of fiery experience. She provides many helpful resources for balancing tech use with healthy living on her website.

The intersection of technology and mental health has long been an interest of mine, specifically the impact of technology on mindfulness. I wrote a few pieces for Huffington Post under a nom de plume about mindfulness and technology, and you can see some of the mildly embarassing old writing of mine here.

Today, I wanted to share a short and helpful video about this intersection of tech and mental health. In under 4 minutes, you will better understand the value of engaging calm and deeply thoughtful parts of our brain. You will also understand how technology can erode these parts of our brain. Fascinating stuff:

Enjoy! Then please, choose your mind over tech, and go outside!

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