Psychologist Doreen Dodgen-Magee challenged students this week to disconnect from all the screens in their lives in order to enjoy the here and now.
“About 10 years ago I had a nephew to enter my life, and I wanted to buy him the Fisher Price Car Garage. It had a little crank and made the car go up. I went shopping for it and could not find any car garage without some type of computer chip in them that enabled them to make sound and light up. I just wanted an old fashion toy. I became concerned with the level of digitization that was happening to pre-school age toys,” said Magee about how she first became engaged in the topic of technology.
“I started writing to all the toy companies who were making them, as a psychologist, to say this seems to decrease the amount of time parents can spend with their kids, because the toy does the work for the parent. I never heard back from any of them. I got ticked off, and I told them if I didn’t hear anything back from them that I would start reading all the research I could,” Magee said.
Magee felt that the technology targeted towards smaller children was having a more negative effect than a positive one.
“I found out that at the same level digitization of toys were increasing, the level of parental involvement was decreasing,” Magee said.
When Magee started researching and sharing what she had discovered about the effect of technology on young people, she found a lot people were also concerned about the issue.
“I started doing small educational talks with different groups and that has just taken off. I have not done anything to market what I am doing; everything has just been traveling by word of mouth. I feel called to help people begin to think about their technology use and to try to challenge them to live their embodied life with intentionality,” Magee said.
At the talkback session that night, Magee talked specifically about how the advancement of technology is hurting people’s relationships with themselves and others. Students enjoyed the discussion and left with a greater awareness and new interest in technology.
“It was really great to hear what she had to say. I think I am definitely going to try to put down my phone more, and calm myself before I start my day. I also enjoyed all the research she provided,” said sophomore Jake Knight.
“I am going to start being very mindful, and make changes that help overall. It was really fascinating,” said senior David Bird.
Morgan Haynes was very interested to see someone discussing an issue that is not a popular topic.
“The fact that someone is talking about something so counter-cultural brings a new perspective to the table that I didn’t think about before: to live life in a more conscious way,” Haynes said.