As I sit here to Blog I have TweetDeck open, just updated my Facebook status, and I have several web pages open including one about to live stream an event in 10 minutes. To say Media is a part of our lives is an understatement. It is integral to how we function, how we get information, how we connect with people and ideas and how we are entertained.
But some of my best memories come during times I spent far removed from any form of media. Rafting a class III-IV river, repelling down a cliff, climbing a mountain, hiking, mountain biking or just sitting around a campfire.
I came across a study by the International Center for Media & the Public Affairs and the Salzburg Academy on Media & Global Change today that asked 1000 college students in 10 different countries to go with out any media contact for 24 hours. That time frame did not seem long to me but based on the results of the study it looks like it is getting harder and harder for the upcoming generations (me included) to pull away from media completely.
Some key findings that stood out to me, and to be honest scared the crap out of me a little bit were:
- They found the analogies and metaphors students used to describe what they felt “made explicit the depths of their distress and likened their reactions to feelings of a drug withdrawal.”
- I have always said that media, and cell phone particularly are, like an extension of a teens body. This study affirmed that saying media was integral to the students personal identities.
- “For many students going without media for 24 hours ripped back the curtain on their hidden loneliness.”
- Many students could not imagine how to fill up all their free time without media.
Some key findings I found interesting or promising were:
- “Mobile Phones function both as this generation’s Swiss Army knife AND Its security blanket.” – This made me laugh and picture Apple using it in their next marketing piece.
- Students use different communication tools for difference types of people. “They call their mothers, they text and Skype Chat close friends, they Facebook with their social groups, they email their professors and employers.”- I found this spot on.
- Students found that they engaged in face to face relationships to a higher level than they had previously been doing. Some commented that they had the best day ever with friends they had known for over three years, on the day they went without media.
(To be honest while writing this I saw a tweet that led me to turn on the TV and DVR a show)
In my mind, as a youth development professional who works with teens and as a father, this raises or affirms concerns about how much media teens and adults are consuming.
I have two girls under 4 years old so the battle is just begining for me. I plan on (and already am) getting my girls outside and exposing them to the beauty in nature. I plan on encouraging my girls passions such as dance, art and sport and providing opportunities to explore those passions. I will set boundaries for media in our house and will start by modeling that behavior myself.
I encourage you to do the same with your self, youth you interact with, friends and family. Good Luck, I know we can do this.
Link to the study: http://theworldunplugged.wordpress.com/