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We are in an age of wonder and amazement with technology. It can go anywhere with us and we can be reachable at any time. We use technology to order our groceries, navigate our cities, keep up with breaking news, family members living away and in some cases remain connected to our politicians and faith-based communities. So many of us are reachable and can respond immediately to beeping, buzzing and ringing of texts, emails and phone calls. We like what we feel when our phones ring or ping us with a new message and that makes us want more. Some experts have have suggested that technology is controlling us, that we have lost control of it…like an addiction. Is technology our friend, the life saving tool of the 21st Century or a manipulator of our minds and master of our time? Who is in charge?
Background Information:There are many resources that explore how our technology is impacting us, especially younger people. Common Sense Media has an advice for parents section. Screenagers is a documentary about youth and technology being shown all around the country. And there is even a National Day of Unplugging to encourage us all to take a 24 hour respite from technology, highlighting the value of disconnection in order to connect with ourselves, our loved ones and our communities in real time.
Let's Get Started!
This Living Room Conversation flows through three rounds of questions and a closing. Some rounds ask you to answer each question. Others feature multiple questions that serve as conversation starters — you need only respond to the one or two you find most interesting.
Introductions: Getting Started/
Why Are We Here?
Round 1: Core Values
- What sense of purpose / mission / duty guides you in your life?
- What would your best friend say about who you are and what inspires you?
- What are your hopes and concerns for your community and/or the country?
What are your thoughts on Digital Dialogue?
- “Are there ways that technology has improved or hurt your in-person relationships and interactions?
- Do you ever turn off your devices? Why or why not?
- Do you want to change your own behavior around technology? How do you think you can do that?
- What is the longest amount of time you’ve been unplugged (phone, online)? What happened?
- Do you remember life before we had mobile phones/tablets or a time when you were unplugged for an extended period? What did you most enjoy?
- How is our personal technology impacting our society?”
Round 3: Reflection & Next Steps
- In one sentence, share what was most meaningful or valuable to you in the experience of this Living Room Conversation?
- What new understanding or common ground did you find within this topic?
- Has this conversation changed your perception of anyone in this group, including yourself?
- Name one important thing that was accomplished here.
- Is there a next step you would like to take based upon the conversation you just had?