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Tech addiction could impede kids' success later on

By Heather Kelly | Posted - Mar 24th, 2013 @ 9:15am

SALT LAKE CITY — As we are inundated with more and more technology, our brains are creating an "ice wall" making it more difficult to form meaningful relationships, researchers say.

Principal at Global Engagement Partners Cari Guittard talked about the impact of technology on children in a lecture at Westminster College Tuesday. The focus of her lecture was preparing and inspiring the next generation to compete and succeed globally.

She believes much of this success hinges on creating trusting relationships, which requires face-to-face communication. Technology, she said in her lecture, stifles those in-person meetings and creates an ice wall — where the brain loses elasticity and creates static in the frontal part of the brain — and impedes the creation of trusting relationships.

"We're starting to see the ice wall in kids as young as four, five, six years old because they're already using the iPhones, the iPads, all of this," Guittard said.

This ice wall affects kids as they grow, and its effects last into adulthood in business and their personal lives.

"In many ways, they're losing that ability to connect because they're connecting to the technology, not to the people," Guittard said.

Multitasking, she said, also contributes to the ice wall.

"When you're multitasking, you're actually reducing your brain functioning because you're not putting your brain power in one specific hour," Guittard said. "So when we multitask, we really are discounting our own mental power, if you will. It doesn't serve us in the long run when we want to continue living, being mentally resilient and active."

In her courses at the University of Southern California, Guittard, an adjunct professor, requires electronics be turned off and put away. Students are required to use a pen and paper for note taking — which helps them put away distractions and make those important connections.

"I see so many younger kids who are addicted to the technology, and I worry something is going to get lost in that," Guittard said.

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