Father and daughter speak on dangers of screen addiction

By Grace Ostuni
Staff Writer

Peter Ryan, a retired Navy captain who became concerned about his children’s use of technology, spoke on the dangers of screen addiction and its impact on faith on Feb. 9 in the Gentile Gallery. Ryan’s daughter Theresa, a Franciscan University student, spoke after him.

Ryan began his talk by saying that digital technology has been rolling out at an increasing rate in modern times, but without any studies showing what these devices will do to their users. Ryan spoke about how many popular social media apps are designed intentionally to be addictive.

“(Phones) are an implement of war,” said Ryan.

Ryan then outlined some negative psychological effects associated with the overuse of technology, including increases in depression, anxiety, loneliness and suicide as well decreased motivation. He also listed physical effects associated with overuse of technology, including poor sleep quality, obesity, underdevelopment of musculature and impaired brain development.

“Our nation’s ability to get back to full employment is directly related to the time spent on screen … during our time in isolation,” said Ryan while explaining some of the societal effects of technology addiction.

Ryan ended his portion of the talk by giving the audience his thoughts on how to fight technology addiction. He encouraged the formation of technology rules and limitations as well as accountability plans with friends and family.

Afterward, Theresa, Ryan’s daughter, gave her testimony, explaining why she switched to a slide phone and how her prayer life has benefited from this change.

“I realized almost immediately it was easier to shut my mind down and pray,” she said. “There are things we can do to make ourselves more docile and receptive to the workings of the Holy Spirit.”

“I really liked what Theresa said (about) using your laptop as a replacement for your phone. That can be … so easy to fall into and that really hit me,” said Grace Pollock, a sophomore nursing major.

The talk was a required event for recipients of Franciscan’s Unplugged Scholarship.