May 22, 2019

Dr. Catherine Steiner-Adair Tackles “Tech Addiction”

Dr. Catherine Steiner-Adair’s warnings about “Tech Addiction.” (Ella Morris’22/Media)

Academy students heard from Dr. Catherine Steiner-Adair, author of The Big Disconnect: Protecting Childhood and Family Relationships in the Digital Age, on Thursday, February 21. Dr. Steiner-Adair’s research focuses on the psychological effects of technology on children and adults alike.

Aiming to bring student awareness to the dangers of our technology use, Dr. Steiner-Adair began by asking questions relating to our dependency on our mobile devices. Do we feel excited when we receive a text? Do we feel our phones buzz when they really don’t? Do we insist on taking our phones into the bathroom? These questions sparked discussion among many, and they did serve to prove how many students engage in these habits, often unconsciously.

Next, Dr. Steiner-Adair described the effects of our technology use by likening it to an addiction. She frequently mentioned that the stimulation experienced from our phones and video games is the same as those generated by using drugs.

Many times she affirmed that technology was often a tool for good, even though it can sometimes be used in harmful ways. This was reassuring, for students currently live in an age where avoiding technology is impossible.

As expected with a discussion of this nature, many students were critical of Dr. Steiner-Adair’s message. Apart from telling us to keep our phones out of reach, Dr. Steiner-Adair did not provide us with many real solutions to the problem because no one knows how much more out of hand our device dependence will become. 

Despite some rambling on her part, Dr. Steiner-Adair did raise awareness for this growing problem. It is true: many of us teenagers are addicted to our devices. Recognizing this dependency is a major step toward preventing it from affecting our personal relationships. Additionally, Dr. Steiner-Adair’s talk generated much more dialogue among students than past speakers.

Along with her frightening statistics and saddening stories, Dr. Steiner-Adair did give us a convincing argument: even those who did not agree must still consider the effects of technology use on their lives.