The Good, The Bad, and The…What Side Are You On?

Is technology making our kids unhealthy???

Do you Agree or Disagree? What side do you sit on for this topic?

what side are you on

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Wow! What a class on Tuesday! Congratulations to Aubrey, Jayme, and Jennifer, Heather, Andres, and Roxanne for an excellent debate! I thought both sides presented very well and gave everyone a lot to think about.  Going into this debate I was not sure if I agreed or disagreed with the statement-Technology is making our kids unhealthy.  As I began to look closer into the question and complete the readings I felt I was on a teeter totter…as my mind was conflicted. One moment I was agreeing and then all of a sudden I was leaning towards disagree.  Both sides presented the information in a very organized way which helped me begin to lay out my thoughts and compare physical health, mental/emotional/intellectual health, and the social health and well-being of children.

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playing soccer

Aubrey, Jayme, and Jennifer shared with us in their Prezi that “On average children spend at least 7 hours a day on the internet, watching television or playing video games.” They explained how spending so much time in front of technology can lead to many physical health problems such as: “increased snacking, injuries to neck and back, detrimental to eyes (vision), skin blemishes, sore fingers/hands/forearms, and decreased physical activity” (Taken from their Prezi presentation).  Over use of technology has also lead to obesity in children.  The three ladies pointed out how there are many germs on the surfaces of the technology as those devices usually get used daily.  I have never really thought about how many germs could possibly be on my cell phone and other devices that I use.  Children are also not playing outside as often and are losing their connection to nature.  While researching I found an article that looked how technology effects children’s sensory skills and development.  It was very alarming to me!  After looking at the facts and research I was leaning towards agreeing that technology is making our kids unhealthy…BUT…

Heather, Andres, and Roxanne presented a valid argument on their video in how people can use technology to help improve their physical health. They talked about some get apps, devices, and websites that can help people learn about nutrition, locate health services, tell you when are being inactive, can track your workouts, explore fitness boards to learn from others or be inspired, they share their fitness journey, and get support through online communities/groups through social media.  Some of the apps, devices, and websites they presented to us were: My FitnessPal, MindBody app, FitBit, NikeRun,,, Pinterest, Instagram, and using different forms of social media.  They talked about how those are just a few examples and that there are so many apps, devices, and websites that people can access and use to help them in their health and fitness journey.  Fellow classmates Kyle D. and Kayla in the chat mentioned how they enjoy using a specific app/device and Kayla discussed how her FitBit was motivating for her.  I think that is awesome that people can use technology to help them reach their fitness goals.  When people are physically healthy it helps their health as a whole.  I was beginning to feel the teeter totter move again….BUT THEN…

During our discussion time and in the Zoom chat a few classmates Janelle and Steve questioned if charting our health through numbers and data on the devices/apps and not paying attention to how we feel. Steve discussed how our bodies give us signs or tell us about how health based on how we feel.  Is it good to push ourselves a little bit through using technology or are people hurting their bodies by ignoring the signs their body is sending to them?  During class we talked about how some people lie when entering information into the app so it’s not giving an accurate picture of the person’s health.  In the chat Dean talked about a cycling app called Strava and how the app has been linked to deaths because people that were using the app were trying to push themselves to beat other people’s records. I began to wonder how many other apps have led people to push themselves past their limits and putting themselves or others at risk?  Is technology truly negatively effecting kid’s health?  …..….

Andrew raised a good opinion in the chat -“when we say technology makes us unhealthy I feel like we’re kind of limiting it to cell phones, t.v.’s, and game consoles.” I agree with him because technology has opened doors for the medical field.  Andrew also talked about life expectancies and technology has increased people’s life expectancies with the help of MRI’s, X-rays, defibrillators, CT scans, IV machines and so much more.  Doctors are able to “better diagnose and treat their patients” through using the new equipment that has been designed.

After looking and considering physical health I was still undecided what side of the debate I was on so I continued to exploring mental, emotional, and intellectual health…

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question mark dude

Aubrey, Jayme, and Jennifer presented with us the negative impacts technology has on mental and emotional health. Technology has caused people to have lack of sleep.  I have students who have devices in their rooms where they stay up late watching videos or playing games instead of getting the rest that they need to have. In my career I have had student’s journal about playing games such as Grand Theft Auto, Call of Duty, and Halo.  I could understand when they presented how technology has increased people’s aggression, depression, anxiety, and hyperactivity as those games are very violent.  There are so many apps, TV shows, and movies that are not appropriate for young children to be watching and I can see how watching and interacting with technology that negatively affected their health.  The three ladies also presented how technology can lead to addictive behaviours and even suicidal thoughts.  So scary!  What messages are being given to our children through the different forms of media? Technology can affect children’s emotional and mental health by the cyberbullying that can occur online and children feeling alone.  Some people are exploring how technology is also effecting children’s intellectual health and is affecting their writing skills.  Lots of teachers discuss how children use abbreviations in their everyday work at school and their writing is declining.  Is technology effecting kids health?  I had to consider the other side of the debate…

Heather, Andres, and Roxanne discussed how they are so many great support networks and online groups for children and teens to be a part of through using technology. More children are learning how to be upstanders online and taking care of their friends and family.  The group presented how through using different methods and technology it has been used to bring awareness to mental health.  There are also apps for children to use their phones or devices that they can wear to help parents keep track of where their children are. There are also baby monitors where parents can watch their baby in the screen to provide them with a peace of mind.  Children’s intellectual health can grow by collaborating online and learning from others.  There are many open education opportunities and they can build their communication and writing skills through the different websites such as blogging and apps on their devices.  I encourage you to check out David Crystal’s video entitled Texts and Tweets: myths and realties.  We watched it in EC&I832 and I wrote a post that explored my thoughts on the video.

Before I could reach my final decision I had to explore social health!

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kids talking on the phone                                                      kids taking outside

                                                                   Photo Credit: pepe blond via Compfight cc

Aubrey, Jayme, and Jennifer talked to us how technology is hindering children’s social skills. Now families are not spending quality of time together and are not carrying meaningful conversations as they use to because people are becoming addicted to gadgets.  They discussed the decrease in face to face communication and increase in online communication.  The group of ladies presented to us about the effects of cyberbullying and how people are filtering what they share with everyone on social media.  Some people desire “likes” on their social media posts to get confirmation from others and can affect their self-esteem.  Are people truly posting and sharing their true self on social media?  Have you heard of Madison Hollernan’s story? In an article called Split Image, it talks about how “On Instagram, Madison Holleran’s life looked ideal: Star athlete, bright student, beloved friend.  But the photos hid the reality of someone struggling to go on.”   So… how can technology help people’s social health??

In Heather, Andres, and Roxanne’s video shared with us how more and more people are on social media now. People can network with others and technology can provide a new way for people to communicate with others through sharing, grieving, and celebrating with people online.  Facetime and Skype allows us to stay connected with family and friends.  This form of technology is very helpful for people who live far away and it gives them a chance to have a face to face conversation even if they are miles apart.

What side of the debate do I sit on? I came across this video called Looking Up….

I thought this video brought up some very valid points in why people need to look up from their phones. I think people do need to make sure they are truly spending time with loved ones and friends and get away from their devices.  Last night at our school dance technology was very useful and led to a very special night!  I was able to play music from my iPad so students and their families could dance (get some physical activity) and have fun while raising money for a staff member and a dear friend who is right now kicking cancer’s butt.  I was able to take pictures, capture a video and text it to her and her husband!  Technology can lead to some many wonderful things, but I believe there needs to be BALANCE and MODERATION! Those words have been explored and used in Amy’s and Angela’s posts.

On Tuesday during our class discussion and in the chat we discussed educating our students and children.  Kayla brought up a valid point when she mentioned “I think it is all based on whether or not kids are taught to be healthy.”  I am sure that many children would watch television, play games, or use their devices all day long if their families allowed it.  Damon and I do not have any children yet, but we have already discussed the importance of making sure that our children will play, enjoy nature, and will be physically active.  We need to be aware of how much screen time our children are getting.  It will also be our job as parents to teach them about healthy eating, treating others the way they want to be treated, and all of the other many important lessons in life.  In the chat Jeremy made a great point when he said that “parents, peer support, and teachers need to teach and model appropriate screen time.”  Check out the next video…it shows the importance of putting our phones down and being present in the moments with other people.  Do you model appropriate screen time to children?

This next video captures special moments between people with their friends and families. In these moments it is powerful to use technology because it is bringing people together.  It is allowing people to be a part of a special occasion, chance to catch up, and someone to laugh, cry, and smile along with.  In my opinion moments like this showcase…pick your devices up and talk!

As an educator I believe it is my responsibility to help educate my students about living a happy and healthy life.  I also need to be a good role model and provide opportunities to teach my students about physical, social, and mental health.  Ian discussed in the chat that students can bring to school events that happened outside of school hours such as cyberbullying; therefore, it is our responsibility to educate our students.  When I teach my outcomes in grade two about safety, fitness, respect, and their feelings I need to talk to them about technology when we are having our discussions. Heather, Andres, and Roxanne told us all about the wonderful things that has to offer technology and how it can help our health is so many areas, but our students will never know about these options if we do not educate them. It takes a whole village to raise a child!  We cannot just expect parents to talk to their children about technology and how to use it properly.  This week  I took a quick look through the curriculum documents and here are a few of the outcomes that provide me with the opportunity to educate my grade two students about how to live a healthy life while they interact and use technology.  I can even give my students the chance to be creative and express their feelings and knowledge on the topics through arts education and language arts.  Here are some of the outcomes I found that matched to living a healthy life:


As of right now I am located in the middle of the teeter tooter like the girl depicted in the picture below. I can see how the teeter totter can move towards either side when looking at this topic, but by educating our children and youth I think we can help them begin to find the balance!

The girl looking like me sitting in the middle of a teeter totter

  Photo Credit: bret_blackford via Compfight cc


  1. Hey Justine. Really liked the ‘factime video’. It reminds me about some of the very important ways in which we are able to communicate with our devices. We can tend to get caught up in thinking they are taking too much of our precious life time. But in truth, I believe that if done with balance, devices can add to our lives to make them richer in many ways. Thanks for posting. angela


    • Hi Angela! Thank you so much for reading my post and for your feedback. Yes I like that video as well! I agree that many people will look at the negative side to devices and forget how technology can bring families and friends together. People need to remember to be present when they are spending time with others instead of looking through their phones or other devices. Balance is a key to so many things in life!


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  3. Thanks for making the grade 2 curriculum connections. I taught quite a bit about digital citizenship within my “safety” health theme this year and my students were really engaged with the content. We worked through many of the Common Sense Media curriculum lessons while we incorporating things like Twitter and blogging into our classroom. I found this was a perfect way for my students to demonstrate how to be digital citizens but we also had many important discussions when a student didn’t necessarily make the wisest decisions. Great post Justine!


    • You’re welcome Erin. I find it useful if I can relate what I am learning about back into my teaching. When I took EC&I832 my digital project focused on the Common Sense Media curriculum lessons. I linked those lessons to the SK Digital Citizenship Continuum, the SK grade 2 curriculum, and added in additional videos/websites that fit with each lesson. My class also blogs and we have had many great conversations about how to be a good digital citizen. I haven’t used Twitter with my classroom before. Do you like using Twitter with your grade two class? Thanks for taking time to read my post!


  4. Pingback: How Is Social Media Impacting Childhood? | Justine Stephanson-Kyle's Blog

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