ThimphuTech was the first technology blog in Bhutan. We started writing it in 2009, just as broadband and mobile internet started to take off. (Although internet in Bhutan was launched in 1999, it was either super-slow or super-expensive, and was only used by a selected few).

In the blog, we wrote about technology and food, but also about plenty of other stuff. The blog became popular and influential in Bhutan. A companion bi-weekly column -- Ask Boaz -- was published for many years in the Kuensel, Bhutan's national newspaper. (The complete Kuensel columns are available as an ebook, Blogging with Dragons).

We stopped updating the blog when we left Bhutan in 2014, but the information within the posts can still prove useful, and thus we decided to keep it online.

We thank all our readers.
Tashi Delek,
Boaz & Galit.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

A time for technology and a time for no technology

More and more of our waking hours are being filled with "tech time": Using Facebook on computers, sending and receiving SMS messages on mobiles, browsing the web, listening to music on iPods or mobiles, and of course, watching TV. All this tech-activity comes at the expense of other activities such as working, studying, playing sports, socializing, reading, eating, sleeping, or just enjoying down time. In an recent Kuensel article on the "Hole in the Wall" computers placed in Changjiji, a 12-year old child that now uses these computers after school was quoted to proudly say "I played football and marbles, but now I play counter strike [a video game]".

In many developed countries children no longer play outside or see their friends in person. Instead, they stay indoors and play computer games, or chat with their friends on Facebook. One clear result is the decrease in physical activity, leading to child obesity and related diseases such as diabetes.

According to a recent article in the New York Times, titled Digital Devices Deprive Brain of Needed Downtime, another result of spending too much "tech time" is damage to our brain and its ability to absorb. They write
When people keep their brains busy with digital input, they are forfeiting downtime that could allow them to better learn and remember information, or come up with new ideas.
While many activities in Bhutan are still not done online, such as shopping or banking, the amount of "tech time" seems to be growing fast. Awareness is therefore the key. Parents and educators should try to explain and encourage non-tech time for their children, and should also remember to be good role models themselves.

1 comment:

  1. Outdoor play used to be taken for granted only a generation ago, but few children today can enjoy this kind of freedom in much of the developed world. In the United Kingdom this has been an issue of much debate, as it has been realized that it is essential for the child's mental health. See for example this BBC story:

    By the way: Counter-Strike, the video game mentioned in the article, is considered "unsuitable" for people under 17 in the United States.


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