I believe that the development of technology has greatly facilitated the everyday life of a modern man. However, like everything in the world, it has its pros and cons. It’s very important that throughout life we develop the ability to recognize and accept both sides in everything. It helps us make good choices. Following this theory, technology can work for us but also against us. There are many proven ways in which technology helps improve mental health (biofeedback, neurofeedback, self-help applications, etc.). I came up with the idea of how to use one segment of technology that has not been used that way so far. It can be said that it was even taken as an example of negative influence.
A life “on screen”
The West Virginia Education Association’s research concluded that the modern teenager spends an average of almost 9 hours a day using a phone, computer or TV. This further tells us that they spend more time staring at their screens than on real life contacts with family, friends, or time spent at school. This devastating fact certainly shows the downside of technology development because this kind of practice leads to many developmental problems that can have lasting consequences on their lives.
The school system partially affects this problem. Digitalization and children’s ability to use new technology gets more and more attention every day. I don’t think this is entirely bad. In fact, these are the abilities without which it is almost impossible to imagine life in the modern world. Even the socialization of children is conditioned by technology nowadays. (I’ll address this problem in a special post). The problem arises when one enters the extreme. It can be so extreme that a child, for example, spends all their free time “in front of the screen”. It’s one thing if technology is used as an aid, but quite another if technology is the only type of functioning which excludes face-to-face socialization.
The fact is, despite all attempts to limit the children’s and teenagers’ use of technology, we have reached the point from the beginning of this text, which tells us that they spend 9 hours a day “in front of the screen”. I think that the effort to shorten that time should not be given up, but I would like to try to use the current situation wisely.
Does it make the difference?
A teenager who lived before the development of modern technology and a teenager who “lives on the phone” basically have a bunch of same problems. Both fall in love, suffer, doubt their physical appearance, their abilities, feel lonely or have survived some kind of trauma etc. A big difference is their “way of life”, functioning and problem solving. A teenager without technology will seek help in person. If they are brave enough, they’ll ask a friend, parent or visit a specialized institution. The one that uses technology will look for a solution by “googling”. They would find the same advice – to get out of their safe zone and talk with someone about their problems in person. Most of them will not do that. They would rather stay at that stage than risk someone finding out they sought help. I find this to be a very understandable behavior of teenagers. Unfortunately, the stigma that accompanies any type of counseling or psychotherapy is still present. It may be even more intense at this age and it manifests through bullying. To all the problems and insecurities that a teenager encounters, this can add another label, like they lack something or they are “not normal”… It is absolutely understandable to me why a large number of them will not choose to be exposed to this risk. Complaining to a parent is also very risky because it would mean showing weakness to the current “biggest enemy”.
Let’s Use The Same Language
These young people are somehow left to fend for themselves. They have a lot of potential that just needs a little push to achieve its best. I would love to help them by speaking “their language”. I understand their fears but also their desires and needs. That’s how I came up with the idea of The Blue Room. It would be a great use of chat therapy that can really improve the quality of their lives. This approach removes all the basic barriers that are important to them and because of which they would never ask for help in person or audio/video call.
I don’t think this should be the final solution. Chat therapy can be the key for opening a big door to some other type of therapy that could be much more effective. That transition may or may not happen. In my practice, it will always be a decision that the client makes for themselves. Even if they never decide to go beyond chat therapy, it is certainly a bigger step forward than if they never received any kind of help.
The point of this idea of mine is basically “if you can’t beat them, join them.” If they already spend so much time “in front of the screen”, why not try to turn at least part of that time into something that can change their lives for the better. As a great optimist, I will allow myself to think that maybe in this way, no matter how contradictory, we can “bring” them back to real life and face-to-face relationships much more effectively.