The Importance of Technology

Technology refers to the collection of tools that make it easier to use, create, manage and exchange information.

In the earlier times, the use of tools by human beings was for the process of discovery and evolution. Tools remained the same for a long time in the earlier part of the history of mankind but it was also the complex human behaviors and tools of this era that modern language began as believed by many archeologists.

Technology refers the knowledge and utilization of tools, techniques and systems in order to serve a bigger purpose like solving problems or making life easier and better. Its significance on humans is tremendous because technology helps them adapt to the environment. The development of high technology including computer technology’s Internet and the telephone has helped conquer communication barriers and bridge the gap between people all over the world. While there are advantages to constant evolution of technology, their evolution has also seen the increase of its destructive power as apparent in the creation of weapons of all kinds.

In a broader sense, technology affects societies in the development of advanced economies, making life more convenient to more people that have access to such technology. But while it continues to offer better means to man’s day to day living, it also has unwanted results such as pollution, depletion of natural resources to the great disadvantage of the planet. Its influence on society can also be seen in how people use technology and its ethical significance in the society. Debates on the advantages and disadvantages of technology constantly arise questioning the impact of technology on the improvement or worsening of human condition. Some movements have even risen to criticize its harmful effects on the environment and its ways of alienating people. Still, there are others that view technology as beneficial to progress and the human condition. In fact, technology has evolved to serve not just human beings but also other members of the animal species as well.

Technology is often seen as a consequence of science and engineering. Through the years, new technologies and methods have been developed through research and development. The advancements of both science and technology have resulted to incremental development and disruptive technology. An example of incremental development is the gradual replacement of compact discs with DVD. While disruptive developments are automobiles replacing horse carriages. The evolution of technologies marks the significant development of other technologies in different fields, like nano technology, biotechnology, robotics, cognitive science, artificial intelligence and information technology.

The rise of technologies is a result of present day innovations in the varied fields of technology. Some of these technologies combine power to achieve the same goals. This is referred to as converging technologies. Convergence is the process of combining separate technologies and merging resources to be more interactive and user friendly. An example of this would be high technology with telephony features as well as data productivity and video combined features. Today technical innovations representing progressive developments are emerging to make use of technology’s competitive advantage. Through convergence of technologies, different fields combine together to produce similar goals.

Leaping Into the 6th Technology Revolution

We’re at risk of missing out on some of the most profound opportunities offered by the technology revolution that has just begun.

Yet many are oblivious to the signs and are in danger of watching this become a period of noisy turmoil rather than the full-blown insurrection needed to launch us into a green economy. What we require is not a new spinning wheel, but fabrics woven with nanofibers that generate solar power. To make that happen, we need a radically reformulated way of understanding markets, technology, financing, and the role of government in accelerating change. But will we understand the opportunities before they disappear?

Seeing the Sixth Revolution for What It Is

We are seven years into the beginning of what analysts at BofA Merrill Lynch Global Research call the Sixth Revolution. A table by Carlotta Perez, which was presented during a recent BofA Merrill Lynch Global Research luncheon hosted by Robert Preston and Steven Milunovich, outlines the revolutions that are unexpected in their own time that lead to the one in which we find ourselves.

  • 1771: Mechanization and improved water wheels
  • 1829: Development of steam for industry and railways
  • 1875: Cheap steel, availability of electricity, and the use of city gas
  • 1908: Inexpensive oil, mass-produced internal combustion engine vehicles, and universal electricity
  • 1971: Expansion of information and tele-communications
  • 2003: Cleantech and biotech

The Vantage of Hindsight

Looking back at 1971, we know that Intel’s introduction of the microprocessor marked the beginning of a new era. But in that year, this meant little to people watching Mary Tyler Moore and The Partridge Family, or listening to Tony Orlando & Dawn and Janis Joplin. People would remember humanity’s first steps on the Moon, opening relations between US and China, perhaps the successful completion of the Human Genome Project to 99.99% accuracy, and possibly the birth of Prometea, the first horse cloned by Italian scientists.

According to Ben Weinberg, Partner, Element Partners, “Every day, we see American companies with promising technologies that are unable to deploy their products because of a lack of debt financing. By filling this gap, the government will ignite the mass deployment of innovative technologies, allowing technologies ranging from industrial waste heat to pole-mounted solar PV to prove their economics and gain credibility in the debt markets.”

Flying beneath our collective radar was the first floppy disk drive by IBM, the world’s first e-mail sent by Ray Tomlinson, the launch of the first laser printer by Xerox PARC and the Cream Soda Computer by Bill Fernandez and Steve Wozniak (who would found the Apple Computer company with Steve Jobs a few years later).

Times have not changed that much. It’s 2011 and many of us face a similar disconnect with the events occurring around us. We are at the equivalent of 1986, a year on the cusp of the personal computer and the Internet fundamentally changing our world. 1986 was also the year that marked the beginning of a major financial shift into new markets. Venture Capital (VC) experienced its most substantial finance-raising season, with approximately $750 million, and the NASDAQ was established to help create a market for these companies.

Leading this charge was Kleiner Perkins Caulfield & Beyers (KPCB), a firm that turned technical expertise into possibly the most successful IT venture capital firm in Silicon Valley. The IT model looked for a percentage of big successes to offset losses: an investment like the $8 million in Cerent, which was sold to Cisco Systems for $6.9 billion, could make up for a lot of great ideas that didn’t quite make it.

Changing Financial Models

But the VC model that worked so well for information and telecommunications doesn’t work in the new revolution. Not only is the financing scale of the cleantech revolution orders of magnitude larger than the last, this early in the game even analysts are struggling to see the future.

Steven Milunovich, who hosted the BofA Merrill Lynch Global Research lunch, remarked that each revolution has an innovation phase which may last for as long as 25 years, followed by an implementation phase of another 25. Most money is made in the first 20 years, so real players want to get in early. But the question is: Get in where, for how much and with whom?

There is still market scepticism and uncertainty about the staying power of the clean energy revolution. Milunovich estimates that many institutional investors don’t believe in global warming, and adopt a “wait and see” attitude complicated by government impasse on energy security legislation. For those who are looking at these markets, their motivation ranges from concerns about oil scarcity, supremacy in the “new Sputnik” race, the shoring up of homeland security and – for some – a concern about the effects of climate change. Many look askance at those who see that we are in the midst of a fundamental change in how we produce and use energy. Milunovich, for all these reasons, is “cautious in the short term, bullish on the long.”

The Valley of Death

Every new technology brings with it needs for new financing. In the sixth revolution, with budget needs 10 times those of IT, the challenge is moving from idea to prototype to commercialization. The Valley of Death, as a recent Bloomberg New Energy Finance whitepaper, Crossing the Valley of Death pointed out, is the gap between technology creation and commercial maturity.

But some investors and policy makers continue to hope that private capital will fuel this gap, much as it did the last. They express concern over the debt from government programs like the stimulus funds (American Recovery and Reinvestment Act) which have invested millions in new technologies in the clean energy sector, as well as helping states with rebuilding infrastructure and other projects. They question why the traditional financing models, which made the United States the world leader in information technology and telecommunications, can’t be made to work today, if the Government would just get out of the way.

But analysts from many sides of financing believe that government support, of some kind, is essential to move projects forward, because cleantech and biotech projects require a much larger input of capital in order to get to commercialization. This gap not only affects commercialization, but is also affecting investments in new technologies, because financial interests are concerned that their investment might not see fruition – get to commercial scale.

How new technologies are radically different from the computer revolution.

Infrastructure complexity

This revolution is highly dependent on an existing – but aging – energy infrastructure. Almost 40 years after the start of the telecommunications revolution, we are still struggling with a communications infrastructure that is fragmented, redundant, and inefficient. Integrating new sources of energy, and making better use of what we have, is an even more complex – and more vital – task.

According to “Crossing the Valley of Death,” the Bloomberg New Energy Finance Whitepaper,

“The events of the past few years confirm that it is only with the public sector’s help that the Commercialization Valley of Death can be addressed, both in the short and the long term. Only public institutions have ‘public benefits’ obligations and the associated mandated risk-tolerance for such classes of investments, along with the capital available to make a difference at scale. Project financiers have shown they are willing to pick up the ball and finance the third, 23rd, and 300th project that uses that new technology. It is the initial technology risk that credit committees and investment managers will not tolerate.”

Everything runs on fuel and energy, from our homes to our cars to our industries, schools, and hospitals. Most of us have experienced the disconnect we feel when caught in a blackout: “The air-conditioner won’t work so I guess I’ll turn on a fan,” only to realize we can’t do either. Because energy is so vital to every aspect of our economy, federal, state and local entities regulate almost every aspect of how energy is developed, deployed, and monetized. Wind farm developers face a patchwork quilt of municipal, county, state and federal regulations in getting projects to scale.

Incentives from government sources, as well as utilities, pose both an opportunity and a threat: the market rises and falls in direct proportion to funding and incentives. Navigating these challenges takes time and legal expertise: neither of which are in abundant supply to entrepreneurs.

Development costs

Though microchips are creating ever-smaller electronics, cleantech components – such as wind turbines and photovoltaics – are huge. They can’t be developed in a garage, like Hewlett and Packard’s first oscilloscope. A new generation of biofuels that utilizes nanotechnology isn’t likely to take place out of a dorm room, as did Michael Dell’s initial business selling customized computers. What this means for sixth revolution projects is that they have much larger funding needs, at much earlier stages.

Stepping up and supporting innovation, universities – and increasingly corporations – are partnering with early stage entrepreneurs. They are providing technology resources, such as laboratories and technical support, as well as management expertise in marketing, product development, government processes, and financing. Universities get funds from technology transfer arrangements, while corporations invest in a new technologies, expanding their product base, opening new businesses, or providing cost-benefit and risk-analysis of various approaches.

But even with such help, venture capital and other private investors are needed to augment costs that cannot be born alone. These investors look to some assurance that projects will produce revenue in order to return the original investment. So concerns over the Valley of Death affects even early stage funding.

Time line to completion

So many of us balk at two year contracts for our cell phones that there is talk of making such requirements illegal. But energy projects, by their size and complexity, look out over years, if not decades. Commercial and industrial customers look to spread their costs over ten to twenty years, and contracts cover contingencies like future business failure, the sale of properties, or the prospect of renovations that may affect the long term viability of the original project.

Kevin Walsh, managing director and head of Power and Renewable Energy at GE Energy Financial Services states, “GE Energy Financial Services supports the creation of CEDA or a similar institution because it would expand the availability of low-cost capital to the projects and companies in which we invest, and it would help expand the market for technology supplied by other GE businesses.”

Michael Holman, analyst for Lux Research, noted that a $25 million investment in Google morphed into $1.7 billion 5 years later. In contrast, a leading energy storage company started with a $300 million investment, and 9 years later valuation remains uncertain. These are the kinds of barriers that can stall the drive we need for 21st century technologies.

Looking to help bridge the gap in new cleantech and biotech projects, is a proposed government-based solution called the Clean Energy Deployment Administration (CEDA). There is a house and senate version, as well as a house Green Bank bill to provide gap financing. Recently, over 42 companies, representing many industries and organizations, signed a letter to President Obama, supporting the Senate version, the “21st Century Energy Technology Deployment Act.”

Both the house and senate bills propose to create, as an office within the US Department of Energy (DOE), an administration which would be tasked with lending to risky cleantech projects for the purpose of bringing new technologies to market. CEDA would be the bridge needed to ensure the successful establishment of the green economy, by partnering with private investment to bring the funding needed to get these technologies to scale. Both versions capitalize the agency with $10 Billion (Senate) and $7.5 Billion (House), with an expected 10% loss reserve long term.

By helping a new technology move more effectively through the pipeline from idea to deployment, CEDA can substantially increase private sector investment in energy technology development and deployment. It can create a more successful US clean energy industry, with all the attendant economic and job creation benefits.

Who Benefits?

CEDA funding could be seen as beneficial for even the most unlikely corporations. Ted Horan is the Marketing and Business Development Manager for Hycrete, a company that sells a waterproof concrete. Hardly a company that springs to mind when we think about clean technologies, he recently commented on why Hycrete CEO, Richard Guinn, is a signatory on the letter to Obama:

“The allocation of funding for emerging clean energy technologies through CEDA is an important step in solving our energy and climate challenges. Companies on the cusp of large-scale commercial deployment will benefit greatly and help accelerate the adoption of clean energy practices throughout our economy.”

In his opinion, the manufacturing and construction that is needed to push us out of a stagnating economy will be supported by innovation coming from the cleantech and biotech sectors.

Google’s Dan Reicher, Director of Climate Change and Energy Initiatives, has been a supporter from the inception of CEDA. He has testified before both houses of Congress, and was a signatory on the letter to President Obama. Google’s interest in clean and renewable energies dates back several years. The company is actively involved in projects to cut costs of solar thermal and expand the use of plug-in vehicles, and has developed the Power Meter, a product which brings home energy management to anyone’s desktop-for free.

Financial support includes corporations like GE Energy Financial Services, Silicon Valley Venture Capital such as Kleiner, Perkins Caulfiled and Byers, and Mohr Davidow Ventures, and Energy Capital including Hudson Clean Energy and Element Partners.Can something like the senate version of CEDA leap the Valley of Death?

As Will Coleman from Mohr Davidow Ventures, said, “The Devil’s in the details.” The Senate version has two significant changes from previous proposals: an emphasis on breakthrough as opposed to conventional technologies, and political independence.

Neil Auerbach, Managing Partner, Hudson Clean Energy

The clean energy sector can be a dynamic growth engine for the US economy, but not without thoughtful government support for private capital formation. **[Government policy] promises to serve as a valuable bridging tool to accelerate private capital formation around companies facing the challenge, and can help ensure that the US remains at the forefront of the race for dominance in new energy technologies.

Breakthrough Technologies

Coleman said that “breakthrough” includes the first or second deployment of a new approach, not just the game changing science-fiction solution that finally brings us limitless energy at no cost. The Bloomberg New Energy white paper uses the term “First of Class.” Bringing solar efficiency up from 10% to 20%, or bringing manufacturing costs down by 50%, would be a breakthrough that would help us begin to compete with threats from China and India. Conventional technologies, those that are competing with existing commercialized projects, would get less emphasis.

Political Independence

Political independence is top of mind for many who spoke or provided an analysis of the bill. Michael Holman, analyst at Lux Research, expressed the strongest concerns that CEDA doesn’t focus enough on incentives to bring together innovative start-ups with larger established firms.

“The government itself taking on the responsibility of deciding what technologies to back isn’t likely to work-it’s an approach with a dreadful track record. That said, it is important for the federal government to lead – the current financing model for bringing new energy technologies to market is broken, and new approaches are badly needed.”

For many, the senate bill has many advantages over the house bill, in providing for a decision making process that includes technologists and private sector experts.

“I think both sides [of the aisle] understand this is an important program, and must enable the government to be flexible and employ a number of different approaches. The Senate version empowers CEDA to take a portfolio approach and manage risk over time, which I think is good. In the House bill, CEDA has to undergo the annual appropriation process, which runs the risk of politicizing every investment decision in isolation and before we have a chance to see the portfolio mature.” – Will Coleman, Mohr Davidow.

Michael DeRosa, Managing Director of Element Partners added,

“The framework must ensure the selection of practical technologies, optimization of risk/return for taxpayer dollars, and appropriate oversight for project selection and spending. **Above all, these policies must be designed with free markets principles in mind and not be subject to political process.”

If history is any indication, rarely are those in the middle of game-changing events aware of their role in what will one day be well-known for their sweeping influence. But what we can see clearly now is the gap between idea and commercial maturity. CEDA certainly offers some hope that we may yet see the cleantech age grow up into adulthood. But will we act quickly enough before all of the momentum and hard work that has brought us this far falls flat as other countries take leadership roles, leaving us in the dust?

Secret Behind Technology Blogging: A Best Niche In Blogging

It is no secret that there is a secret behind technology blogging; it is one of the best niches in blogging. Blogging about technology is one of the best ways to get ahead in modern society. In fact, technology blogging is the best niche in blogging these days for anyone who wants to start up a successful business.

If you plan to create a new business or any successful business ventures, one of the best ways to do so is to consider the technology niche in blogging.

The Secrets of Niche Blogging: Technology

These days there are so many technologies to choose from, it’s hard not to blog about them. Some popular examples of technology blogs include:

iPhone how to guides and tutorials

Information and technology news

Technology updates and rumors

The latest technological breakthroughs

Android

Windows and Mac

Technology Editorials and Opinion Pieces

Technology blogs are the perfect accompaniment to a day job although many people find running a niche technology blog can be exciting and take up a bit of time on the side.

How To Run A Successful Secret Technology Niche Blogging Business

It doesn’t take very long to get a niche technology blog up and running. All one need to do is set up a blog account, which is easily done through WordPress or any other free blogging module.

Typically it helps to add a new blog post at least once or twice a week, if not daily. This helps to compete with ultra high-ranking websites. The technology niche is one of the simplest niches to write about.

There are tons of information readily available about most forms of technology. There is always something new in the news about the latest iPhone, or what some star or celebrity has done with their Mac, or latest technology device.

The other approach to technology is writing about how you made money using technology. Most people want nothing more than to learn about how they can make money using technology. And, that is essentially what you do when you create a niche technology blog… make money using technology.

Another great niche in the technology arena is a blog focusing on general technological advances and information. However, the competition for a niche that broad however, may be very high, especially when it comes to purchasing AdSense revenue. If you can narrow your technology niche down significantly, to something very narrow, then you will reap the benefits.

Good, narrow niches are well thought out. Some examples may include very detailed subjects and niche topics, including:

iPhone covers and cases

Android Travel Phones

Mac laptop covers and cases

Windows technological breakthroughs

The more narrow the subject material, the more likely you are to select keywords that bring in targeted audience members. There is also less likely to be competition for your keywords. You want to pay as little as possible to attract AdSense revenues. This is how to make the most bang for your buck when blogging on technology.

Remember that the secret is out; technology is a great niche to take advantage of. People are constantly seeking new and exciting information about technology. So discover the areas you can write better about, and dig in. Discover for yourself the secret behind technology blogging and find a good niche in the technology blogging that you and your business can get benefit from.

How Much Is “Information Technology Debt” Hurting Your Bottom-Line?

Information Technology (IT) debt is basically the cost of maintenance needed to bring all applications up to date.

Shockingly, global “Information Technology (IT) debt” will reach $500 billion this year and could rise to $1 trillion by 2015!

But why should you take IT debt seriously and begin to take steps to eliminate this issue from your business?

According to Gartner, the world’s leading information technology research and advisory company…

It will cost businesses world-wide 500 billion dollars to “clear the backlog of maintenance” and reach a fully supported current technology environment.

Gartner summarizes the problem best:

“The IT management team is simply never aware of the time scale of the problem.This problem, hidden from sight, is getting bigger every year and more difficult to deal with every year.”

The true danger is that systems get out of date which leads to all kinds of costly software and hardware inefficiencies.

Your tech support provider can most likely do a better job at staying current with your computer and network environment.

Have them start today by documenting the following:

  • The number of applications in use
  • The number purchased
  • The number failed
  • The current and projected costs of both operating and improving their reliability

Are you using this powerful formula to control your technology?

There’s a powerful formula I’ll share with you in a moment that will help you adopt new technology faster in your business.

In business, technology encompasses Information Technology (IT), Phone Systems and Web Development.

These three layers of technology form the backbone of your business’s technology environment. Why is technology adoption so important?

Without new technology adoption it’s impossible for businesses to be competitive in this economy. A major role of technology is to help businesses scale, design systems, and automate processes.

Studies recently have shown that adopting technology keeps businesses leaner because entrepreneurs can do more with less.

There’s evidence that new business start-ups are doing so with nearly half as many workers as they did a decade ago.

For example, Wall Street Journal’s Angus Loten reported that today’s start-ups are now being launched with an average of 4.9 employees.

Down from 7.5 in the 1990s, according to the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation, a Kansas City Research group.

In other words, technology allows businesses to expand quickly with less.

Researchers at Brandeirs University found that technology driven service businesses added jobs at a rate of 5.1% from 2001 to 2009; while employment overall dwindled by.5%.

These businesses save money, expand, and create jobs by adopting new technologies.

Are you adopting new technologies fast in your business?

Speed of technology adoption is critical to your business success.

Technology is changing the speed of business; now a whole industry might expand, mature, and die in months… not years.

There’s one formula that illustrates this marriage between adopting technology and business success the best… and that’s the “Optimal Technology Equation.”

I recommend you adopt this powerful “Optimal Technology Equation” in your business:

• Maintenance + Planning + Innovation (Adoption)=
• Enhanced Technology Capabilities=
• Reduced Costs + Increased Production=
• Increased Profitability.

Of course, this is only a brief explanation of this invaluable formula. Be one step ahead of the competition.

The Impact of Technology on the Developing Child

Reminiscing about the good old days when we were growing up is a memory trip well worth taking, when trying to understand the issues facing the children of today. A mere 20 years ago, children used to play outside all day, riding bikes, playing sports and building forts. Masters of imaginary games, children of the past created their own form of play that didn’t require costly equipment or parental supervision. Children of the past moved… a lot, and their sensory world was nature based and simple. In the past, family time was often spent doing chores, and children had expectations to meet on a daily basis. The dining room table was a central place where families came together to eat and talk about their day, and after dinner became the center for baking, crafts and homework.

Today’s families are different. Technology’s impact on the 21st century family is fracturing its very foundation, and causing a disintegration of core values that long ago were what held families together. Juggling work, home and community lives, parents now rely heavily on communication, information and transportation technology to make their lives faster and more efficient. Entertainment technology (TV, internet, videogames, iPods) has advanced so rapidly, that families have scarcely noticed the significant impact and changes to their family structure and lifestyles. A 2010 Kaiser Foundation study showed that elementary aged children use on average 8 hours per day of entertainment technology, 75% of these children have TV’s in their bedrooms, and 50% of North American homes have the TV on all day. Add emails, cell phones, internet surfing, and chat lines, and we begin to see the pervasive aspects of technology on our home lives and family milieu. Gone is dining room table conversation, replaced by the “big screen” and take out. Children now rely on technology for the majority of their play, grossly limiting challenges to their creativity and imaginations, as well as limiting necessary challenges to their bodies to achieve optimal sensory and motor development. Sedentary bodies bombarded with chaotic sensory stimulation, are resulting in delays in attaining child developmental milestones, with subsequent impact on basic foundation skills for achieving literacy. Hard wired for high speed, today’s young are entering school struggling with self regulation and attention skills necessary for learning, eventually becoming significant behavior management problems for teachers in the classroom.

So what is the impact of technology on the developing child? Children’s developing sensory and motor systems have biologically not evolved to accommodate this sedentary, yet frenzied and chaotic nature of today’s technology. The impact of rapidly advancing technology on the developing child has seen an increase of physical, psychological and behavior disorders that the health and education systems are just beginning to detect, much less understand. Child obesity and diabetes are now national epidemics in both Canada and the US. Diagnoses of ADHD, autism, coordination disorder, sensory processing disorder, anxiety, depression, and sleep disorders can be causally linked to technology overuse, and are increasing at an alarming rate. An urgent closer look at the critical factors for meeting developmental milestones, and the subsequent impact of technology on those factors, would assist parents, teachers and health professionals to better understand the complexities of this issue, and help create effective strategies to reduce technology use. The three critical factors for healthy physical and psychological child development are movement, touch and connection to other humans. Movement, touch and connection are forms of essential sensory input that are integral for the eventual development of a child’s motor and attachment systems. When movement, touch and connection are deprived, devastating consequences occur.

Young children require 3-4 hours per day of active rough and tumble play to achieve adequate sensory stimulation to their vestibular, proprioceptive and tactile systems for normal development. The critical period for attachment development is 0-7 months, where the infant-parent bond is best facilitated by close contact with the primary parent, and lots of eye contact. These types of sensory inputs ensure normal development of posture, bilateral coordination, optimal arousal states and self regulation necessary for achieving foundation skills for eventual school entry. Infants with low tone, toddlers failing to reach motor milestones, and children who are unable to pay attention or achieve basic foundation skills for literacy, are frequent visitors to pediatric physiotherapy and occupational therapy clinics. The use of safety restraint devices such as infant bucket seats and toddler carrying packs and strollers, have further limited movement, touch and connection, as have TV and videogame overuse. Many of today’s parents perceive outdoor play is ‘unsafe’, further limiting essential developmental components usually attained in outdoor rough and tumble play. Dr. Ashley Montagu, who has extensively studied the developing tactile sensory system, reports that when infants are deprived of human connection and touch, they fail to thrive and many eventually die. Dr. Montagu states that touch deprived infants develop into toddlers who exhibit excessive agitation and anxiety, and may become depressed by early childhood.

As children are connecting more and more to technology, society is seeing a disconnect from themselves, others and nature. As little children develop and form their identities, they often are incapable of discerning whether they are the “killing machine” seen on TV and in videogames, or just a shy and lonely little kid in need of a friend. TV and videogame addiction is causing an irreversible worldwide epidemic of mental and physical health disorders, yet we all find excuses to continue. Where 100 years ago we needed to move to survive, we are now under the assumption we need technology to survive. The catch is that technology is killing what we love the most…connection with other human beings. The critical period for attachment formation is 0 – 7 months of age. Attachment or connection is the formation of a primary bond between the developing infant and parent, and is integral to that developing child’s sense of security and safety. Healthy attachment formation results in a happy and calm child. Disruption or neglect of primary attachment results in an anxious and agitated child. Family over use of technology is gravely affecting not only early attachment formation, but also impacting negatively on child psychological and behavioral health.

Further analysis of the impact of technology on the developing child indicates that while the vestibular, proprioceptive, tactile and attachment systems are under stimulated, the visual and auditory sensory systems are in “overload”. This sensory imbalance creates huge problems in overall neurological development, as the brain’s anatomy, chemistry and pathways become permanently altered and impaired. Young children who are exposed to violence through TV and videogames are in a high state of adrenalin and stress, as the body does not know that what they are watching is not real. Children who overuse technology report persistent body sensations of overall “shaking”, increased breathing and heart rate, and a general state of “unease”. This can best be described as a persistent hypervigalent sensory system, still “on alert” for the oncoming assault from videogame characters. While the long term effects of this chronic state of stress in the developing child are unknown, we do know that chronic stress in adults results in a weakened immune system and a variety of serious diseases and disorders. Prolonged visual fixation on a fixed distance, two dimensional screen grossly limits ocular development necessary for eventual printing and reading. Consider the difference between visual location on a variety of different shaped and sized objects in the near and far distance (such as practiced in outdoor play), as opposed to looking at a fixed distance glowing screen. This rapid intensity, frequency and duration of visual and auditory stimulation results in a “hard wiring” of the child’s sensory system for high speed, with subsequent devastating effects on a child’s ability to imagine, attend and focus on academic tasks. Dr. Dimitri Christakis found that each hour of TV watched daily between the ages of 0 and 7 years equated to a 10% increase in attention problems by age seven years.

In 2001 the American Academy of Pediatrics issued a policy statement recommending that children less than two years of age should not use any technology, yet toddlers 0 to 2 years of age average 2.2 hours of TV per day. The Academy further recommended that children older than two should restrict usage to one hour per day if they have any physical, psychological or behavioral problems, and two hours per day maximum if they don’t, yet parents of elementary children are allowing 8 hours per day. France has gone so far as to eliminate all “baby TV” due to the detrimental effects on child development. How can parents continue to live in a world where they know what is bad for their children, yet do nothing to help them? It appears that today’s families have been pulled into the “Virtual Reality Dream”, where everyone believes that life is something that requires an escape. The immediate gratification received from ongoing use of TV, videogame and internet technology, has replaced the desire for human connection.

It’s important to come together as parents, teachers and therapists to help society “wake up” and see the devastating effects technology is having not only on our child’s physical, psychological and behavioral health, but also on their ability to learn and sustain personal and family relationships. While technology is a train that will continually move forward, knowledge regarding its detrimental effects, and action taken toward balancing the use of technology with exercise and family time, will work toward sustaining our children, as well as saving our world. While no one can argue the benefits of advanced technology in today’s world, connection to these devices may have resulted in a disconnection from what society should value most, children. Rather than hugging, playing, rough housing, and conversing with children, parents are increasingly resorting to providing their children with more videogames, TV’s in the car, and the latest iPods and cell phone devices, creating a deep and widening chasm between parent and child.

Cris Rowan, pediatric occupational therapist and child development expert has developed a concept termed ‘Balanced Technology Management’ (BTM) where parents manage balance between activities children need for growth and success with technology use. Rowan’s company Zone’in Programs Inc. http://www.zonein.ca has developed a ‘System of Solutions’ for addressing technology overuse in children through the creation of Zone’in Products, Workshops, Training and Consultation services.