"The problem," says Sudbury, Massachusetts, psychiatrist and author Edward Hallowell, "is what you are not doing if the electronic moment grows too large" --too large for the teenager and too large for those parents who are equally tethered to their gadgets.
In that case, says Hallowell, "you are not having family dinner, you are not having conversations, you are not debating whether to go out with a boy who wants to have sex on the first date, you are not going on a family ski trip or taking time just to veg. It's not so much that the video game is going to rot your brain, it's what you are not doing that's going to rot your life."
I agree with this heartily. While I love the excitement that comes with switching from one thing to another, from having 8 web browser tabs open at once to cycle through, and from being able to reach any loved one at any point during my day, my connectedness and multitasking leaves very little room for reflection and thinking of a more philosophical or subjective sort, rather than the objective problem solving I get lots of practice with. I miss the quiet reflection, the face-to-face relating, and 'vegging'. Josh will attest, I've forgotten how to veg.
Recently, I've tried to make a point to turn off my computer when I'm home, and read, or exercise, or talk to someone, or learn to cook. I've found that, while I might instead be reading and learning from news sites online, I'm online essentially all day, and spending time at home doing other things makes me feel more rounded and rested. I still don't veg. For some reason, I can't do nothing. I don't even watch movies on my own. I'm too purposeful, I suppose.
Some may say I'm a "bad geek" for not devoting my life to coding. Perhaps I am. I'm OK with that.