College Students Power Off to Engage Life Differently

Faith and Technology awareness week explores role of technology in students’ lives

Nov. 21, 2012 By Sarah Enriquez and Jenna Bartlo

Inundated with alerts, red flags and email notifications, technology has seeped into the patterns of daily living to the point that technology is created to be a better friend than humans, said psychologist Doreen Dodgen-Magee during Biola University’s Faith and Technology awareness week.

Dodgen-Magee (Psy.D. '92), a Biola alumna, has done research on how technology is affecting relationships and the next generation. Apologizing for how her generation has not taught Gen Y how to use technology in moderation, she encouraged students during chapel sessions and events to moderate their use of technology and evaluate how it affects their lives.

Wednesday night after hearing Dodgen-Magee speak on the power of pausing, a group of students went to In N’Out and piled their phones in the middle of the table — no one would be checking their phone as they intentionally engaged with each other. Junior Jeremy Hamann, who participated, said it was difficult for some of them to give up their phone for the short time they were eating.

“We disconnected, put our phones in a stack and genuinely talked to each other,” said Hamann. “It was a bit of a challenge for a couple of the guys to do that. It was interesting how resistant we are to separating ourselves [from technology].”

The week provided students the opportunity to experience putting technology on pause and consider the role that technology plays in their lives. The school provided opportunities for students to “unplug” with creative projects, technology free spaces and intentional times to chat over hot chocolate.

“We live in a generation where connectivity is important,” said Hamann. “There’s elements where we can’t actually disconnect. In the day to day, it’s very difficult, but finding certain times where you can disconnect is important … figuring out, ‘Yes, tonight I can afford to just spend time with the people I’m with’.”

Dodgen-Magee hopes the conversation will continue among students and the next generation, realizing that technology has effects on their faith and spirituality. The interaction between the two can be positive and negative.

“I’m really impressed that Biola is having this conversation, and I hope that they will continue it and hope I get to be a part of that … about how we can just be moderate with our technology use and abundant with our development and sense of self and our relationship with God,” said Dodgen-Magee.

Read Doreen Dodgen-Magee’s article, “How Is Technology Shaping Generation Y?” in the Fall 2010 issue of the Biola Magazine.

Written by Sarah Enriquez, Media Relations Intern, and Jenna Bartlo, Media Relations Coordinator. Bethany Wilson, Media Relations Intern, contributed to this report. For more information, contact Jenna Bartlo, Media Relations coordinator, at 562.777.4061 or jenna.l.bartlo@biola.edu.

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