Oblazney Proposal on Technology and Children


Reference to a current Michigan bill or law that relates in some way to your proposal:

Why this proposal will make a difference in the lives of students of all ages across Michigan, or a significant subgroup (by age, background, economic status, and/or region, etc.) of students in Michigan:

How and where did you learn about the issues underlying your proposal?

How has your service activity influenced your thinking about this proposal?

Link to your media artifact(s) giving background on the issue:

News Article: The Hidden Epidemic- How Technology Affects Children



Talk directly with at least 3 real live people who have special knowledge about this topic or the impact your proposal would have, and summarize their comments. These may include people appearing in your media artifact (video, podcast, etc.).






Describe the specific issue or problem, being sure to provide sufficient context so that someone less familiar with the issue has a sense of the bigger picture, but know that your focus here is on a more detailed spelling out of the specific problem or issue that you’ve identified. (250 words minimum)

Technology and the Developing Mind (Brandon Oblazney)

Technology has numerous benefits, making a variety of daily tasks significantly easier, especially within the education space. Specifically, tools like Canvas, Google Drive, and even the Michigan Student Caucus allow for easier collaboration and access to course material, and more efficient grading and turning in of assignments. However, various uses of technology, including the smartphone and social media, have been scientifically linked to poor cognitive developments within the teenage mind, an epidemic that I believe is silently sweeping the nation without a clear way to solve this problem. Specifically, technology has been seen to create an unhealthy addiction that mimics that of illegal drug use, hurts social cognitive development, and also leaves teens more prone to mental health issues like anxiety and depression. Specifically, with social media, I have heard the saying “even though everybody is more connected, people are more alone than ever.” This is evident at the increased rates of suicide, anti-social behavior, depression, all issues discussed earlier (Ortiz). Finally, there are physical effects that technology can have on youth, as many students do not have the same movement skills that they did 10 years ago, shockingly tied in with the fact that some students do not even know how to hold a pencil at an appropriate age (Parker). In a world where technology use is increasing at a rapid pace, policy needs to be created that prepares young minds for this increasing immersion, to best harmoniously reap the benefits while mitigating the negative effects. The goal that I am hoping to achieve is not to negatively promote technology and shame its use, but to help create awareness of harmful effects that many people fail to address, aiming to create a proposal that finds the correct balance of electronic use within schools and at home.


Works Cited:


Ortiz, Adrianne Albarado. “SOUND OF MIND: Negative Effects of Technology in Children.” San Angelo. San Angelo. 19 April 2017.  Web. 11 March 2018. www.gosanangelo.com/story/life/wellness/2017/04/19/sound-mind-negative-effects-technology-children/99872132/.


Parker, Najja. “Children Unable to Properly Hold Pencils Because of Technology, Report Says.” AJC.com. The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. 1 March, 2018. Web. 11 March 2018. https://www.ajc.com/news/world/children-unable-properly-hold-pencils-because-technology-report-says/uDxGPemuYneVEBVw1zUnxN/

Potential Solutions:

Describe three reasonable, feasible potential solutions or approaches that would help address this problem.

SOLUTION 1: Limiting Technology in Schools in the State of Michigan

Technology is said to have a major impact on several congitive aspects of a developing child. From my own personal experience, as well as the experiences of many others, it can be stated that the use of technology is ever increasing in all levels of education, from elementary school (as seen in educational games and videos) all the way to college (through more collaborative resources like Google Drive and Canvas). Cell phones are additionally becoming more prevalent among students. These technologies have many benefits, but as stated earlier, have many negative qualities that harm mental health, the attention span, and can potentially mirror the addictive effects of drugs. In order to reduce this, this proposal would force more strict technology restrictions on schools, best reducing the amount of screen time when possible in order to reduce the negative cognitive effects of technology. There are many studies that say that taking notes by hand is more effective than on the computer, as computers offer many distractions with the internet, and the person who is writing the notes is not as involved cognitively with the note taking process than if they were physically writing it with their hands. This proposal would be similar to Ross policies regarding technology, removing notes by tech when necessary and promoting the use of pen and paper writing, potentially rewarding schools financially for succeeding with this initiative. In summary, proposal would be primarily restrictive, in that it rewards schools in finding ways to use less technology and in turn reduce the negative mental health effects that come from looking at a screen for a prolonged period.

SOLUTION 2: Michigan Technology Awareness Program

Many people are not aware of the effects that technology can have on youth. Many children are using social media underage and do not understand proper electronic etiquette. Additionally, many parents fail to monitor their children's technology use leading to technology addiction as well as many of the negative cognitive effects including depression, increased anxiety, poor sleeping habits, reduced academic performance, and a worsened attention span. This statewide proposal would focus on the parents, as it would be an initiative to get parents to understand not only the obvious benefits of technology, but the various negative effects as well that it can have on their children. Additionally, it will tell parents to keep a closer eye on their children, in order to allow them to better monitor their children as well as teach them the rules of the internet, in order to keep them from potentially posting something they may regret. Finally, this initiative would focus on the solutions, giving parents a variety of mental health resources to their kids in case any symptoms of mental illness are very visible. Specific examples of what would be promoted would include enjoying a meal without having your phone out, or limiting time on technology, or having the parents follow the kids, giving them some freedom while still keeping an eye out for their overall well being. This initiative would take place through workshops, online promotion, and physical promotion through pamphlets and television advertising. The goal of this promotion is to hopefully raise awarness for the correct technological balance within the household, and to help parents out with kids who have potential mental health related problems relating to technology.


Sources for Potential Solutions: Reducing the physical negative effects of technology

This solution is different from the first in that it is not restricting technology at schools, but keeping around the traditional, non-technological activities within education. Modern education is moving towards the digital age, but there are many skills that are still necessary for personal development including reading and writing. This proposal would focus on keeping basic elementary curriculum items around in schools, as basic as learning how to use a pencil, arts and crafts, and use of the white board instead of the computer. As seen in the Parker article below, some studnets are having a hard time with simple educational tasks as technology is becoming more prevalent, and it is essential that we prevent this trend from continuing. This proposal, like the first, would reduce the technology use at schools as they would need to still make time for these activities, and would still be developing the necessary basic skills. However, this proposal would be a law mandating that SPECIFIC, ESSENTIAL parts of elementary curriculum not be changed, even though technological advances may make learning within this space more convenient as learning with tech in certain areas may not be as effective as learning physically in the classroom, unlike the first which just limits the amount of technolgy used within the classroom.

Works Cited: 

Bhutto, Fatima. “Irresistible by Adam Alter Review – an Entertaining Look at Technology Addiction.” The Guardian. Guardian News and Media. 21 Apr. 2017. Web. 18 Mar 2018. www.theguardian.com/books/2017/apr/21/irresistible-by-adam-alter-review-technology-addiction.

“Disconnect To Reconnect: Can You Survive A Meal Without Your Phone?” Le Pain Quotidien - Bakery & Communal Table. Le Pain Quotidien. Web. 18 March 2018. www.lepainquotidien.com/editorial/disconnect-to-reconnect-can-you-survive-a-meal-without-your-phone/#.Wq8x3JPwa8V.

Doubek, James. “Attention, Students: Put Your Laptops Away.” NPR. NPR, 17 Apr. 2016. Web. 18 March 2018. www.npr.org/2016/04/17/474525392/attention-students-put-your-laptops-away.

Ortiz, Adrianne Albarado. “SOUND OF MIND: Negative Effects of Technology in Children.” San Angelo. San Angelo. 19 April 2017.  Web. 11 March 2018. www.gosanangelo.com/story/life/wellness/2017/04/19/sound-mind-negative-effects-technology-children/99872132/.

Parker, Najja. “Children Unable to Properly Hold Pencils Because of Technology, Report Says.” AJC.com. The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. 1 March, 2018. Web. 11 March 2018. https://www.ajc.com/news/world/children-unable-properly-hold-pencils-because-technology-report-says/uDxGPemuYneVEBVw1zUnxN/

Rosenberg, David. “1 In 5 College Students Have Anxiety or Depression. Here's Why.” The Conversation. 14 Mar. 2018. Web. 18 March 2018. theconversation.com/1-in-5-college-students-have-anxiety-or-depression-heres-why-90440.

Reaction or advice from a Topic Coordinator:

You must solicit a critique from a topic coordinator, and explain the impact that advice has had on the final draft of this proposal.


Research process:

Describe your research process — indicate who you talked to (including but not limited to consultants), what you read, what your thinking was, how it changed over time, and how your consultants changed your thinking. This description of your research process definitely could include “dead ends,” or ideas you had that didn’t ultimately bear fruit.  In short, we want to know what you did and how it led to your legislation, and we also want you to give us a window into your thought process.


Author contributions:

Please delineate--in detail--who made what contributions to the process and to the finished proposal? Who took on which responsibilities in researching ideas, drafting language, etc.?



The sections below should comprise your final proposal language, submitted for consideration by your peers and potential inclusion in the MSC Platform.

Preambulatory clauses

These set up the PROBLEM, but not the solution.




(Add more "Whereas" clauses if necessary.)

Operative clauses

These describe in detail, the solution you are proposing (not the problem itself; those should go in the "Whereas" clauses above).





(Add more "Resolved" clauses if necessary.)


What are three reasonable arguments against this proposal?




Costs and funding:

What will your proposal cost (in direct expenses, lost tax revenue, lost economic opportunity, and/or non-monetary costs)? How will you pay for your proposed legislation? Where will/could the funding for your proposal come from?  Who might object to dedicating resources to your proposal (competing interests)?  



These can include websites or other information you have found about the issue.


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