A USA Today article published earlier this year raised a few eyebrows in our media driven, tech-crazed, connected society. The thing that hit the hardest was this: “Research psychologist and computer educator Larry Rosen of California State University, Dominguez Hills, suggests that being so hyperconnected can make us behave as if we have real psychological disorders. In his new book iDisorder: Understanding Our Obsession With Technology and Overcoming its Hold On Us, Rosen says technology is causing some people to exhibit symptoms of problems including narcissistic personality disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder, addiction and depression, among others.”
That got me to thinking, is that what I want for me, or more importantly, my children? The answer was obvious. As I would later learn, I’m not the only one concerned with how much time we all spend in front of the screen – especially our little ones. Not sure what to do about the recent news, I began doing more research online. This is where ‘Captivated‘ comes in. From the documentary’s website:
Everywhere we go we are surrounded by screens. Have we entered a techno utopia or a virtual prison?
Should we be celebrating unreservedly or should we be cautious and skeptical?
Is it the greatest leap in productivity or the biggest setback from the things most meaningful in life?
Has today’s connectivity drawn us closer to one another or strangely more disjointed?
Is our social experience richer and deeper or more shallow and artificial?
Is it all of these things or none of them?
I grew up in a time when no one batted an eye at the thought of an eight-year-old spending a five hours straight watching Saturday morning cartoons and when it was not only normal, but somewhat preferred that I spend my weekends with GTA marathons instead of creating my own real-life ‘Project Mayhem.’ Having said that, we live in a different world now. Or maybe it’s the parents that are changing – getting better.
About halfway through the dvd, my wife and I had already made mental notes of things we wanted to discuss together later on, like are we making wise decisions when it comes to screen time with our kids and what type of restrictions would we later want to have once the kids become teenagers.
Phillip Telfer does an excellent job presenting the findings of several experts from various fields that have researched, studied, and analyzed statistics concerning the effects of different types of content and amounts of time media has on kids and adults alike. Although it came as no surprise that kids who watch violence played out in movies and video games are more likely to exhibit aggressive behavior and become violent themselves, it was, however, startling to hear that teens have become addicted to texting. So much so that they “sleep” with their phone under their pillow and continue conversations throughout the night – preventing them from getting a full nights rest adversely affecting their school work. How do I as a dad keep my child from getting addicted?
What’s more shocking was the interview with Mark Bauerlein. He shares the depressing news of college freshmen across the board and the inability of some to complete basic reading and writing assignments. Once again, my wife and I looked at each other, looking for the other to speak up and say, “That won’t happen to us.” Instead, we kept to listening how the constantly connected lifestyle has been negatively affecting America’s kids. Guess the digital age has messed up a bit, in fact, maybe we are getting dumber. Who knew you could make a living off of telling parents their 18 year-old isn’t smarter than a fifth grader?
I don’t want to give away the whole movie, but I can tell you this; if you want what’s best for you and your family, you should definitely watch Captivated. I say that because if you want what’s best, you’ll be open to the fact that maybe you could be doing better in certain areas of fatherhood. I’m happy to have watched it. You may, after watching the 107 minute DVD, decide to make a few changes to your media viewing habits or you may decide that you already have a good handle on things. Either way, it’ll be a refreshing look at the way we live our lives and the unintended consequences of our behavior. Captivated may even prove to be challenging to any dads who feel compelled to respond to email at the dinner table or tweet during bath time.
To make it easier for you, the fine folks from Media Talk 101 sent us a copy to give away! All you have to do is leave a comment below or on our facebook page telling us why you would like to win. We only have one copy, so if you don’t win you can pick a copy up for yourself here.
Contest ends Sunday night at 10 PM ET.