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Pros and Cons of Electronic Media

I am old enough to remember a time when television was viewed in black and white, and I happened to be the remote control for my parents. “Son! Get up and change the channel to 12 and turn up the volume a little bit. The TV Guide says there’s a good movie coming up in about 20 minutes.”

Fast forward to today: I was recently at a concert with my wife. As soon as the band appeared on stage, everyone held their phones in the air and started to record or take pics – I could barely see the stage! I thought to myself, “Can’t we just live in the moment?”

What are we doing to ourselves with social media, gaming and binge-watching streaming movies or shows? As a society we encourage the use of smart phones, tablets and laptops. While there are many advantages to the use of electronic devices and the innumerable apps and sources of information available online, when is too much too much?

At FTI, we have worked to continually provide training and learning resources to meet the needs of our team members wherever they are. Many of our newer team members have been brought up with computers and screen learning since grade school – it’s how they learn. There was a time during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic where online training was the safest way we could stay connected with our apprentices and other team members, and our teams worked hard to continue to provide the highest quality of learning available. We’re thankful that we’ve been able to return to in-person learning for the majority of our training sessions.

There are also major advantages to being able to access the latest NEC codes via your smartphone or on a job site tablet. I talked about this in a previous blog article – our tools of the trade have definitely evolved, mostly for the better.

Along with the advantages of electronic media, it’s crucial for our mental well-being to be aware of the disadvantages.

Recent studies have shown that 77% of American teens spend about 3.5 hours a day on their device; the CDC has data that supports even more time than that. It can be addictive. Watching random videos and pics elevates serotonin levels, which affects our mood. Too much false stimulation from a device can create a connection to feeling good while watching other people seemingly having more fun than you. For young people especially, this can seriously affect mental health.

Seeing the world through 15-second video clips also affects concentration levels. We lose the ability to focus on things for extended amounts of time. Reading books or participating in hobbies or outdoor activities become boring to us. Tasks like problem solving become increasingly frustrating. Real life becomes awkward.

It may be worthwhile to reassess your usage of your phone, tablet, computer and your big screen TV. Evaluate what you are watching and how much time you spend watching it. Could some of that time be better spent elsewhere?

Consider these questions:

  • Are you eating well?
  • Are you sleeping well?
  • Is work going well?
  • Are you leaving the house and interacting socially?
  • Are you physically active?
  • How are your most important relationships going?

Have a healthy, balanced approach to every interaction electronically. Change up the things you watch and try to learn from others. If you are going to spend time online, use it to learn something new. Live for the moment, reach out to people and develop relationships with handshakes, hugs and eye contact.

We live in a beautiful world full of possibilities. It’s important to keep a healthy balance of electronics and real-life experiences.