Understanding Everything in Moderation, Especially “Unproductive” Technology Use

Technology--we could probably all agree that it's both good and bad. The uses for it are myriad and range from extremely useful to extremely unproductive, and sometimes even harmful. Many of today's teens, and even adults, fall victim to technology's unproductive and harmful enticements every day.

We've all heard the term "everything in moderation," but how do we understand this cliched {yet true} phrase in light of unproductive technology use? Let's take a more in-depth look at this issue.

Everything in Moderation

The phrase, "moderation in all things," has been around since the time of ancient Greece. It is generally regarded as a wise philosophy, since it's fairly obvious that most anything in excess {food, drink, exercise, sleep, etc.} can be harmful. Perhaps the best way to look at it is with the eye of balance. For example, too much sleep isn't good for our bodies, but neither is too little. So we all try to strike the perfect balance of getting enough sleep each night, without getting too little or too much. The same is important for technology use.

What is Unproductive Technology Use?

To answer that question, let's think about what is meant by productive technology use. Productive use of technology can mean different things to different people, but generally speaking, spending time on work projects, homework, or looking for information that will better our daily life is productive. Unproductive technology use is time spent wasted on social networking, aimlessly surfing celebrity news sites, binge watching TV shows or movies, etc. It also includes risky practices such as spending time in chat rooms or looking at pornography. If your teen is spending too much time in any form of unproductive technology use, you need to help change that.

Why is Unproductive Technology Use Harmful?

Jean M. Twenge wrote an article about her research into teens and smartphone use. She calls today's teens the iGen, because their growing up years have been marked by the rise in popularity of social media and the widespread use of smartphones. Members of this generation don't even remember a time before the internet. Her research shows that smartphone use has radically impacted teens' social interactions and their mental health.

What Can Parents Do?

First of all, make sure you practice what you preach. If your teen feels he can't get your attention because you are constantly looking at your own smartphone, there won't be much you can say to convince him to stop wasting time on his. Make the effort to be accessible and give your teen your full attention, especially when he asks for it. Create teaching moments on a daily basis to help you connect with your teen in more personal and valuable ways. These teaching moments are what lead to discussions about technology use and other issues that teens face today.

Does Your Teen Need Help?

If you believe your teen is spending too much time on unproductive technology use in any form, there is help. Liahona Academy has programs to help teen boys with emotional issues, mental health issues, and even addictions that can stem from unproductive technology use.

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