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Exchanging Deep Relationships For Social Media

Some new stats on Americans’ use of technology are out, and some of them are startling.

Focus on the Family’s PluggedIn.com reports on several new studies, including new research on smart phone use from Baylor University’s Hankamer School of Business.

It turns out that most college students in the US interact with their phones about seven hours every day. That includes sending an average of 110 texts, receiving 113 texts and checking their phones 60 times.

James Roberts, a Baylor professor and author of the book Materialism 2.0, says this about the findings, “At first glance, one might have the tendency to dismiss [this level of] mobile phone use as merely youthful nonsense—a passing fad. But an emerging body of literature has given increased credence to cell phone addiction and similar behavioral addictions.”

Another new study looked at social networking. The Neilson company found that the average woman who uses social network sites spends 18 hours and 20 minutes on sites like Facebook each month. That’s compared to about 13 hours for males.

Among 18- to 24-year-olds, both men and women spend an average of 21 hours a month social networking. 25- to 34-year-olds are close behind at 20 hours a month.

Many experts are concerned that we are spending so much time communicating electronically vs. face-to-face, and I tend to agree.

God calls us to deep, authentic relationships with others. First Peter 1:22 tells us to “love one another deeply, from the heart.” Is that really possible if our relationships are based on texts, tweets and Facebook posts?

I’m Bill Maier for Shine.FM.

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Entertainment Affecting Attention Spans

America’s teachers are concerned about the impact that entertainment is having on learning.

In a new poll, 71% of teachers say they believe that entertainment is hurting their student’s attention spans, and nearly 50% believe that it’s keeping them from doing their homework well.

The study was done by Common Sense Media Research—and it described texting and spending time on social networks as “entertainment,” alongside watching television, playing video games and listening to music.

The majority of teachers believe that such media is also hurting students’ ability to write coherently and communicate face-to-face. Many teachers also say entertainment and technology are impairing critical thinking skills.

One elementary school teacher wrote this for the study, “Attention spans seem to be decreasing, as does students’ abilities to persist through difficult tasks. (They’d rather just push restart and start over.)”

By the way, another new study on the impact of technology found that the “auto-complete” functions on smartphones seem to make teens faster but less accurate in cognitive tests. Time Magazine reports that kids who are frequent texters tend to score higher in their verbal reasoning ability, but lower on actual literacy.

Scientists also believe search engines are reshaping our memories. With so much information at our fingertips, we no longer have to store it in our brains.

And while email may be an effective way to communicate on the job, employees who juggle looking at email with other tasks suffer a temporary 10-point drop in their IQ by the end of the day.

I’m Bill Maier for Shine.FM.

CLICK HERE for the Audio Version of this post.

Texting’s 20th Anniversary

The first text message was sent 20 years ago this week and said “Merry Christmas!” Do you remember what the first text you ever sent or received was?