Wednesday, March 29, 2023

Chasing Life Podcast Season 6: The Science of How Tech Is Impacting Our Brains

I've mentioned a time or two that I'm a big fan of podcasts. One of my favorites the last few years has been Dr. Sanjay Gupta's "Chasing Life." I love his intelligence, sense of humor, and demeanor, and I think he'd be one of the 5 famous people I'd love to sit down with at a dinner party if I could. I always learn something from every listen with him.

His sixth season of the show started this past February and I'm definitely drawn in. He calls this season "a personal journey" for him, and he has this as his introduction to the season:
"If you’re reading this, you’re probably looking at a phone or a computer screen. These days we spend most of our lives looking at screens – whether it’s for work, school, or fun – but how is it shaping us? On season six of Chasing Life, Dr. Sanjay Gupta takes us on his most personal journey yet, while he dives into the science behind how technology is impacting our brains. As a dad of three teenage girls, he explores how worried we should be about the effect screen time is having on kids’ health. Join us each Tuesday as we bring everyone to the table – from members of the Gupta family to content creators and medical professionals – and look for guidance on how to navigate a world surrounded by screens."
As a Lower School Technology teacher, a parent of teens, a person who has read a lot of books over the years on this subject, and someone who lives a lot of life on her phone...and who is living in a world where ChatGPT and AI are all in the news these days, this season's theme has really struck me as well. I often say I have a love-hate relationship with technology... but the deeper enmeshed we become in this "techified" world, the deeper we all get into ALL of it! Not to mention, more and more, the trickle down gets younger and younger and we are seeing the effects on more and more kids, in more and more ways: digital drama, mental health issues at all time highs, and new social and ethical dilemmas all the time.

I recently saw author Tom Friedman speak, and this image of him spoke to me, especially since I had read his book Thank You For Being Late: An Optimist's Guide to Thriving in the Age of Accelerations. In it he speaks of the speed of life and technology, globalization and the environment, and how people are resistant to change. This picture (and the slide is a visual in the book too) totally sums up where we are...and where Sanjay Gupta seems to be too with this season.

New episodes of Chasing Life come out every Tuesday. These are the topics Sanjay Gupta has tackled so far in season 6. Obviously, more are to come. In each episode he had several experts, authors, and digital influencers on that he interviews. I particularly liked the idea of "mediatrician" that he mentions in episode 3 when he speaks with Dr. Michael Rich, co-director of the Clinic for Interactive Media Disorders at Boston's Chidlren's Hospital. It all gives fascinating food for thought in this tech age in which we live. Definitely feel like this is a must-listen for all of us--parents, educators, and consumers of digital media.

Season Six, Episode 1: A Personal Journey for Sanjay - Feb. 7th, 2023

Episode 2: How to Raise Kids in the Digital Age - Feb. 14th, 2023

Episode 3: How Much Screen Time is Too Much? - Feb. 21th, 2023

Episode 4: Breaking Up (and Making Up) with Your Phone - Feb. 28th, 2023

Episode 5: Hank Green on the Future of the Internet - Mar. 7th, 2023

Episode 6: The Selfie Effect on Your Brain - Mar. 14th, 2023

Episode 7: Will Banning TikTok Help Kids? - Mar. 21st, 2023

Podcast cover image from, Tom Friedman picture taken by me on March 21, 2023 at the Baltimore Speaker Series.

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