by Mari K. Swingle

Price at time of review: $19.95
264 pp.
New Society Publishers
Gabriola Island, BC, BC
ISBN: 9780865718258

Grade Level: K-College

Reviewed by Jean Worsley
Retired Biology Teacher

Have you wondered how cell phones, computers, gaming, and social media are changing our brains and behavior? For decades, readers have been enthralled with these devices that are completely integrated into our global culture. Many of our day to day activities that we take for granted are infiltrated with this technology that has invaded our lives as we work, seek information, play, communicate, learn and socialize. This avenue is made possible because i–tech devices foster instant and easy access to the world around us, near and far.

Now, there is scientific evidence that a negative impact has emerged that needs to be addressed. In 14 chapters, the author explores how this technology is affecting all ages and in many instances how some people become obsessed, even to addiction. Further, she examines effects of the rate of assimilation, the level of immersion and the inclusion/exclusion of other activities and relationships. Throughout the book, the section Scientific Corner provides current scientific research and important terms are in italics. In addition, key concepts are creatively inserted in each chapter.

Using personal clinical observations, relevant research, neurotherapy, and electrocephalography, the author provides in–depth discussions on the effects of i–tech devices on the brain. Studies reveal that excessive use causes a constant state of arousal that is changing brain functioning and processing and appears to be directly related to many anxiety disorders, learning and addiction. Although the effects are not limited to any age group, a major concern is that unrestrained use will thwart learning and social development in young children. One of the numerous interesting discussions describes the critical dynamics of gaming to learning and creativity in young children. This phenomenon appears to have the ability of controlling behavior of future generations. Also, a detailed analysis on the effects on socialization in children and adults is brought to the forefront. Further, another narrative delineates how and why early introduction of technology is so readily embraced by parents and educators. As a result of this research, parents and educators are encouraged to reevaluate the use of these devices.

Advice, solutions, and options are interspersed throughout and a TO DO List is found in the Epilogue. The author implores a clarion call to readers to reconceptualize the excessive use of i–tech devices. Research confirms that this technology has the capacity to change behavior; therefore we need to ask ourselves what is being replaced, who we are becoming, and whether or not humanity as we know it is being jeopardized. The rapidity of change in this technology is alarming. We are indeed embarking on a “Brave New World” and the author reemphasizes the need to remain aware and diligent because the outcome cannot be predicted. An appendix, endnotes, index, and information about the author are included. This book is highly recommended for parents, educators, and anyone interested in keeping abreast of this technological revolution.

Review posted on 9/7/2016

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