Dr. Sitt Presentation at Magen David Yeshivah

The Magen David Yeshivah PTA recently welcomed Dr. David Sitt, a clinical psychologist, noted lecturer and professor of psychology at Baruch College, who gave a presentation titled, Coping with Your Child and Technology, to the 8th graders and the parents of the community. His presentation helped students and parents gain insight into the relationships we all have with technology.

Dr. Sitts energetic personality and extensive knowledge was evident in his powerful and educational lecture. Through a combination of power point slides and skits, he clarified how technology can have its advantages and disadvantages for both the students and their parents.

Dr. Sitt had students text answers to trivia questions, to demonstrate how their phones can be used positively. He also stressed that as soon as we hit the send button, our pictures, words, thoughts, and comments can be sent to hundreds of people. Although, we can delete what was sent, what many fail to realize is that the damage has been done, and unfortunately we cant erase it.

In this fast paced and changing world, everyone is on the go and we are inundated with technology. We think we can multi-task and do two things at once, but in actuality, our brains can only focus on one thing at a time. For example: take your finger and draw a 6 in the air. Then take your foot and make a circle, counter clock wise. Can you do it?

Getting caught up or boxed in by technology has placed a barrier between us. It has changed the way we communicate and listen to one another. We have forgotten the importance of body language and the art of talking to one another face to face. The capability to spell correctly has been replaced with nonverbal writing and abbreviated shorthand.

Many, young and old, are caught in up in the power struggle and addiction that technology has on them. Technology has the ability to distract and divert our focus and attention from the most essential part of our livesour family. There was a skit which depicted family members sitting around the dinner table with Grandma visiting from out of town. Sadly, each family member has his/her electronic devices within hands reach on the table. As Grandma tried to converse with each family member inquiring about their day, she was put on hold, as each member was interrupted by technology. Dr. Sitt gave each person a brown paper bag, and suggested we place our electronic devices inside it during dinner time. Whether its for 10 or 20 minutes, during those precious moments, we can focus on each other and express Im here. Im all yours. I care. I want to listen, while looking them in the eyes. Think about Shabbat, and how we put aside all of our electronic devices for 24 hours! Shabbat is a gift. We spend time as a family and engage in conversation with one another, play a game or just stop, pause and enjoy the solitude of the absence of beeps, tweets and dings. Dr. Sitts three messages resonated with his audience. First, don't text and ride; its not worth the fall. Second, you can delete, but you cant erase and third, don't get boxed in.

Originally printed in the April 5, 2013 edition of Image Magazine