I had an interesting conversation with my optometrist today as he was examining my eyes. (Unlike conversations with my dentist, I can actually respond to the eye doctor’s comments.) I had asked him about why my eyes were getting so dry, and one of his comments was about slowed eye-blink rates while on the computer. This was something I read about previously, so I now make a conscious effort to remember to blink my eyes more often while staring at the computer.
He was talking about electronic media — smart phones, iPads, e-readers, etc., and how he feels they are negatively impacting people’s vision, especially young people. He made some rather sweeping statements about young people who spent hours on the computer playing games, and I think I surprised him with my admission that I am a video game junkie. Of course, his version of the story had our youth playing video games to the exclusion of anything else, rather like a gambling addiction. I assured him that I was there, that I had to seriously watch how much time I spent playing games.
Each time he would go off about young people interacting with their electronic toys to the exclusion of other humans, I would counter with a story or illustration about how those toys are used around our house. Case in point an evening when I went out into the garage (our version of a man cave, I suppose) and discovered everyone out there with some sort of electronic device…several computers, a smart phone or two, an iPad…but all of them interacting with each other at the same time they were gaming or playing with social media. I don’t think I was being oppositional; my experience with electronics is simply different from his.
But it did get me thinking. What is your favorite electronic device? Is your phone smarter than you are? (Mine is.) Do you let your kids play on the computer and count it as a positive learning time, or is it draining their brains? Let me know what you think. Meanwhile, there is a game waiting for me!