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September 2020: Teen-2-teen

Connecting to society

by Anne Kesler


Inside is the new outside for the upcoming generations born into the world of forever-improving technology.

According to CNBC News, research indicates that children ages 8-17 are spending over seven daily hours engaged with some form of electronic technology. This means they really only have time left for sleep, extracurricular activities and school. Their free time is now spent with a cellphone, video games, television or a computer. So what can be done to reverse this trend?

Reaching out to young adults is one approach to address the problem of overuse of technology. But most can’t even imagine not posting every meal of every day on some social media platform. It is important to remind teens to get off their devices, go outside, breathe the fresh air and connect with people, places and the planet. There’s a more fulfilling world out there that goes well beyond a screen.

Parents should monitor their children’s behavior. Creating a schedule for electronics, such as allowing two hours of screen time each day instead of seven, would provide time for hobbies that don’t involve technology.

For example, they could go to the library, join an exercise class after school, or start Christmas early by drawing or painting a picture for grandparents. All this would teach them how to connect without their cellphones.

The upcoming generations are more environmentally aware of what pollution is doing to our oceans, air quality and the overall health of our planet. Instead of watching videos on YouTube, teens could join a group that helps clear ocean and land pollution or join an organization to plant more trees.

It is time for teens to get off the electronics and start paying attention to the world around them. Not only will it improve their lives, but the lives of others. Soon those kids will be grown and they will be in charge. If we can learn to connect to the causes of the world instead of just our phones, it is possible we could actually change the world.

Anne Kesler, 18, is a freshman majoring in strategic communications at North Dakota State University. She enjoys the arts and spending time with friends and family. Anne is the daughter of Bill and Clarice Kesler, members of Mor-Gran-Sou Electric Cooperative.