What does digital citizenship say about heath and wellness? I wanted to explore this particular element of digital citizenship because I think it is important to look at how technology and our digital world has an influence on the health and wellness of our society. There are obviously a number of positive implications, some of which I can think of off the top of my head being, progression of technology in the medical field, keeping us connected in our long distance relationships (Skype), support groups, Kids Help Phone, fitness websites, healthy living resources, and really, the list can go on and on. However, there are serious issues that come along with a highly digital world, and I believe as digital citizens, we should be aware of these and understand ways in which we can address and overcome these issues.
Addiction, mental illness, and physical issues are all by-products of our digitalized world. According to this article, about 7.5% of children over the age of 12 (in the US) are addicted to the internet and can have withdrawal symptoms that include depression and emotional attachment. This, is not using technology purposefully. There is a lack of monitoring going on here which results in over-unproductive use of the media. Stats aside, I personally feel that we see forms of internet addiction everywhere. The idea of unplugging for a weekend camping trip sounds beautiful, tranquil and peaceful. However, when service makes its way back into my life, I once again become vulnerable to my own device! Furthermore, mental health issues associated with cyber bullying and the psychological effects of viewing filtered “realities” are other issues. It is our jobs as teachers to become educated in order to educate way in which we can prevent unsafe situations and how to handle them once they arise. The way I see it, safety is at the forefront of digital citizenships when talking about the heath and wellness factor. In terms of the physical effect, well, here is something to think about:
“An increase in exposure to technology goes hand in hand with a decrease in physical activity. As children spend more time sitting in front of the TV or computer, they spend less time outside running around and burning off calories — and energy. Over time, combined with an increase in snacking, this can lead to significant weight gain.” Article found here
I have been resistant to the culture of technology because of the influence it has on me and the people around me. Comparing a childhood of no technology to children born with a predisposed digital identity is a hard thing to wrap your head around. This is just my perception, but I feel like children are finding more joy in front of a screen than they are playing outside. I am generalizing, I know, and I am basing this on the children I am exposed to in my social context. However, I have learned to stop fighting against technology and become allies with the significant potential of it when used in purposeful ways. I absolutely love that I will have an influence on children through my teaching career in order to provide young children and youth the tools to understand digital citizenship and what it means to us and how to be safe.
I truly do dislike looking at the bad rather than the good in things. However, I like to promote healthy, active living, and I cannot think and talk about digital citizenship and educational technology without looking deeply and seriously into all the effects. I believe we are able to use the good in technology in order to gain insights and overcome the bad in technology. For example, here a video to help with posture! I definitely needed to watch this.