Atchley, Paul. “You Can’t Multitask, So Stop Trying.” Harvard Business Review, December 21, 2010. https://hbr.org/2010/12/you-cant-multi-task-so-stop-tr (accessed May 24, 2019).
Another article that explains why we can’t multitask, the dangers of attempting to do so, and how we might better focus ourselves.
Becker, Rachel. “The Problem with Studies Saying Phones Are Bad for You.” The Verge, December 5, 2018. https://www.theverge.com/2018/12/5/18126154/screen-time-smartphones-bad-health-risk-science-study-wrong-depression-anxiety.
An interesting article that questions the efficacy of studies using self-reporting, and even certain apps, to track phone use and then drawing conclusions about its impacts on our well-being from that potentially inaccurate data.
Bowles, Nellie. “Human Contact Is Now a Luxury Good.” New York Times, March 23, 2019. https://www.nytimes.com/2019/03/23/sunday-review/human-contact-luxury-screens.html (accessed May 24, 2019).
This article has a dual focus on the disparities in consumption of tech between wealthy and poorer people and on what tech consumption may be doing to the quality of our social interactions. It uses a combination of research and strong anecdotal material to raise some interesting discussion questions about our needs regarding human interaction.
Bradbury, Ray. Fahrenheit 451. New York, NY: Ballantine Books, October 19, 1953.
A classic work of dystopian science fiction that makes some damning predictions about the evolution of human society and raises plenty of interesting questions about what has already come true and what may be coming still. It also provides an opportunity for students of various reading abilities to enjoy the same book as the Lexile level makes it available to almost any high school student while its symbolism and social commentary makes it a challenge for even your better readers.
Carr, Nicholas. “Is Google Making Us Stupid?” The Atlantic, July/August 2008. https://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2008/07/is-google-making-us-stupid/306868/ (accessed May 24, 2019).
Yes and no. Depends on how you use it. This article discusses how we are using the internet and what effects it might be having on our brains, our social interactions, and our societies. Much of what it offers has been covered more thoroughly since this article’s publication, but it is still a piece worth reading and discussing. Though perhaps it is now a bit dated, Carr’s book The Shallows offers a more extensive look into the history of this topic.
Goldfarb, Anna. “Stop Letting Modern Distractions Steal Your Attention.” The New York Times, March 26, 2019. https://www.nytimes.com/2019/03/26/smarter-living/stop-letting-modern-distractions-steal-your-attention.html (accessed May 24, 2019).
An article that describes the ill-effects on your brain of being constantly available through your tech devices. Makes an especially important point about how creativity and long-term memories require down time for your brain.
Heid, Markham. “We Need to Talk About Kids and Smartphones.” Time, October 10, 2017. http://time.com/4974863/kids-smartphones-depression/ (accessed May 24, 2019).
A somewhat balanced perspective on the social use of cell phones among teens not being the only cause of their unhealthiness and unhappiness, but a key ingredient and one that needs investigation as well as discussion.
Herold, Benjamin. “Teens’ Rising Social Media Use Is Not All Bad News.” Education Week, September 19, 2018. https://www.edweek.org/ew/articles/2018/09/19/teens-rising-social-media-use-is-not.html (accessed May 24, 2019).
Even though it is one of the representative journals of our profession, I often find the reporting in Education Week to be superficial, slightly biased, and poorly written. This is no exception, but it makes for a quick read for your students and could spur some debate when paired with an article offering an opposing point of view.
Jones, Feminista. Reclaiming Our Space: How Black Feminists Are Changing the World from the Tweets to the Streets. Boston: Beacon Press, 2019.
A collection of essays that could make for interesting reading if you have a diverse group of students or just students who are interested in diversity and social activism – especially if they are heavily involved in social media culture.
Kara, Siddarth. “Is your phone tainted by the misery of the 35,000 children in Congo’s mines?” The Guardian, October 12, 2018. https://www.theguardian.com/global-development/2018/oct/12/phone-misery-children-congo-cobalt-mines-drc (accessed May 24, 2019).
A short, but well-written article describing where some components of our cell phones come from and who pays the price for their extraction. A good beginning to any measure of guilt you would like your students to feel about the suffering our excess consumption causes.
Knorr, Caroline. “New report: Most teens say social media makes them feel better, not worse, about themselves.” The Washington Post, September 13, 2018. https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/parenting/wp/2018/09/13/new-report-most-teens-say-social-media-makes-them-feel-better-not-worse-about-themselves/?noredirect=on&utm_term=.286199cc5088 (accessed May 24, 2019).
A good article to use if you want to spur a discussion about the ephemeral nature of feelings and the value of self-reporting when attempting to discern between truth and opinion.
Lenhart, Amanda. “Teens, Technology, and Friendship.” Pew Research Center, August 6, 2015. https://www.pewinternet.org/2015/08/06/teens-technology-and-friendships/ (accessed May 24, 2019).
Simply sums up some of the findings from a Pew research poll with limited insight into what these results might really tell us about teens and technology or the value of information gained from self-reported opinions. Still, easy to read and worth a discussion.
Maleckar, Dave. “Prophet Motive.” 100 Word Rant, December 31, 2018. http://100wordrant.blogspot.com/2018/12/prophet-motive.html (accessed May 24, 2019).
A short, humorous piece that offers a historical perspective on the value of the cell phone.
Mina, An Xiao. Memes to Movements: How the World’s Most Viral Media is Changing Social Protest and Power. Boston: Beacon Press, 2019.
An interesting exploration of how social media memes impact social consciousness and action. Great for students with this specific interest or who simply want to do some additional reading.
Orwell, George. Nineteen Eighty-Four. London: Secker & Warburg, June 8, 1949.
Another classic dystopian science fiction text that explores questions about where we are, where we may be going, and why. A slightly more difficult read than Fahrenheit 451, but every bit as provocative for class discussions.
Price, Catherine. “Putting Down Your Phone May Help You Live Longer.” The New York Times, April 24, 2019. https://www.nytimes.com/2019/04/24/well/mind/putting-down-your-phone-may-help-you-live-longer.html (accessed May 24, 2019).
Article by a popular author of texts about the effects of social media and cell phone technology on all aspects of our lives. This mostly deals with the potential health consequences related to the stress our phones cause.
Rajaniemi, Hannu. “Keep Your Augmented Reality. Give Me a Secret Garden.” The New York Times, June 3, 2019. https://www.nytimes.com/2019/06/03/opinion/future-secret-gardens.html.
Part of a series by The New York Times called “Op-Eds from the Future” that offers speculative fiction from scientists, philosophers, futurists, and science fiction writers. This one is tangentially related to the topic of this unit in that it poses questions about the value of reality versus virtual reality. It also speaks to issues of privacy
Richtel, Matt. “Are Teenagers Replacing Drugs With Smartphones?” The New York Times, March 13, 2017. https://www.nytimes.com/2017/03/13/health/teenagers-drugs-smartphones.html (accessed May 24, 2019).
A mixed message article proclaiming that drug and alcohol use among teens has declined (the positive) as the ubiquity and use of smartphones had increased (the worrisome). It suggests that cell phones and social media may induce the neurochemical responses as drugs and alcohol – for good and ill.
Richtel, Matt. “A Silicon Valley School That Doesn’t Compute.” The New York Times, October 22, 2011. https://www.nytimes.com/2011/10/23/technology/at-waldorf-school-in-silicon-valley-technology-can-wait.html.
An interesting article that explores opposing ideas about tech in schools and informs us that many tech executives send their children to schools where tech is either limited or absent.
Roose, Kevin. “Do Not Disturb: How I Ditched My Phone and Unbroke My Brain.” The New York Times, February 23, 2019. https://www.nytimes.com/2019/02/23/business/cell-phone-addiction.html (accessed May 24, 2019).
A very readable account of the stages of rehab for overcoming cell phone addiction. The author enlists the aid of Catherine Price as his guide through this process.
Shakya, Holly B., and Nicholas Christakis. “A New, More Rigorous Study Confirms: The More You Use Facebook, the Worse You Feel.” Harvard Business Review, April 10, 2017. https://hbr.org/2017/04/a-new-more-rigorous-study-confirms-the-more-you-use-facebook-the-worse-you-feel (accessed May 24, 2019).
Essentially explains the study mentioned in the title. But are the findings examples of correlation or causation . . . and in which direction does it run?
Swisher, Kara. “I’m a Tech Addict and I’m Not Ashamed.” The New York Times, April 5, 2019. https://www.nytimes.com/2019/04/05/opinion/tech-addiction-phone-screens.html (accessed May 24, 2019).
An article that suggests some of the upsides to a balanced “addiction” to tech, even as it downplays or ignores the evidence of problems stemming from real tech addiction.
Thompson, Stuart A. “Where Would You Draw the Line?” The New York Times, April 2019. https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2019/04/10/opinion/privacy-survey.html?emc=edit_th_190414&nl=todaysheadlines&nlid=328771730414 (accessed May 24, 2019).
An interesting interactive survey that identifies how various media/technology platforms gather and use information about people – and how tolerant people are of these practices.
Twenge, Jean M. “Have Smartphones Destroyed a Generation?” The Atlantic, September 2017. https://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2017/09/has-the-smartphone-destroyed-a-generation/534198/ (accessed May 24, 2019).
No, but they have made that generation less tolerable to us old geezers. This article briefly covers some of the research findings that are expanded upon in her book iGen. It suffers from the same criticisms as that book, but is still worth reading and discussing – and much more palatable to your students as it is about 300 pages shorter than the book.