A growing body of research from a variety of disciplines indicates that the widespread use of digital technology – including computers, the internet, video games, and smart phones – has a measurable, negative impact on the development and adaptation of the human brain, resulting in significant changes in our sleep, mood, concentration, memory and learning, as well as behaviors such as risk-taking and aggression. This effect appears to be more pronounced for the younger generation of so-called “digital natives.”  This episode will explore the current research on this topic and the implications for the education and psychological development of college students.

Other questions include:

  • How does technology impact our relationships and ability to create and sustain intimacy?
  • What are the effects of technology on memory and attention span?
  • What are some practical strategies to help cope with the stress of digital life?
  • How can we more effectively model positive use of technology for our students?
  • How our brains are adapting to the increased technology and media exposure?
  • How has technology decreased our ability to empathize and increased narcissism?
  • Are students of color more vulnerable to the effects of technology?
  • What are  the positive aspects of technology on mental health?

On this episode of Student Affairs Live, host Tony Doody spoke with Scott Becker, the Director of the Michigan State University Counseling Center, and Aislinn Sapp, Conduct and Retention Specialist in the Office of the Vice President for Student Affairs and Services at Michigan State.

Link to PDF of presentation
The Shallows: What the Internet is Doing to Our Brains by Nicholas Carr
The Glass Cage: How Our Computers Are Changing Us by Nicholas Carr
Alone Together: Why We Expect More from Technology and Less from Each Other by Sherry Turkle
Reclaiming Conversation: The Power of Talk in a Digital Age by Sherry Turkle
Digitale Demenz by Manfred Spitzer
Irresistible: The Rise of Addictive Technology and the Business of Keeping Us Hooked by Adam Alter
Hamlet’s BlackBerry: Building a Good Life in the Digital Age by William Powers
Caught in the Net: How to Recognize the Signs of Internet Addiction–and a Winning Strategy for Recovery by Kimberly S. Young
I Need To Unplug from Who’s There


Episode Host

Tony Doody

Tony Doody

Tony Doody has over 25 years of practical experience and oversight in senior leadership positions within the Higher Education industry in the areas of Facilities Management, New Student Orientation, Recreation, Parent and Family Programs, Leadership and Training, Marketing and Communications, Adult Learning, and Major Events and Programs. He currently serves as the Director of Student Centers at the University of Delaware. Over the last six years, Tony has presented at over thirty universities and national conferences on topics of innovation, digital leadership, technology, and unconventional leadership. He received the Diamond Honoree Award from the ACPA Foundation, the highest honor of the American College Personnel Association, recognizing transformative contributions to the field (2017) and earned NASPA's 2017 Technology Emerging Practice Award. In addition, Tony has worked over 20 years as a consultant in the areas of executive coaching, leadership development, presentation skills, risk-taking, innovation, social media, conflict resolution, and team cohesiveness. Past clients include J&J, Bristol-Myers Squibb, Vistakon, Navigant, Janssen Pharmaceuticals, United Way, Merrill Lynch, Tumi International, and Aventis Pharmaceuticals.


Dr. Scott Becker

Scott Becker, PhD, LP, is the Director of the Michigan State University Counseling Center. He completed his graduate study in clinical psychology at Miami University in Oxford, Ohio following a doctoral internship at the University of Notre Dame and Oaklawn Hospital.  Over the past twenty-two years he has worked at a number of universities, community mental health centers, and integrated health centers.  Dr. Becker contributed the psychological commentary to the biography, The Life and Ideas of James Hillman, and he is the editor of the forthcoming book, Inhuman Relations, Volume 7 of the Uniform Edition of Hillman’s writings.  Dr. Becker’s areas of interest include archetypal psychology, trauma, grief and loss, clinical training and supervision, eco-psychology, and multiculturalism.  Over the past four years he has developed an integrative model with his partner, Aislinn Sapp, that addresses the negative impact of digital technology on psychological and neurological development.  He has presented this work at MSU; in national and regional webinars, conferences, and workshops; and in lectures and publications at the Dallas Institute of Humanities and Culture.


Aislinn Sapp

Aislinn Sapp, MA, LLP, has her Master’s degree in clinical psychology and completed her doctoral coursework and doctoral internship at the University of Rochester, where she later served as a staff therapist in the University Counseling Center.  Ms. Sapp has worked at MSU for the past eight years and currently serves as the Conduct and Retention Specialist in the Office of the Vice President for Student Affairs and Services.  In her clinical work, she specializes in the treatment of complex trauma and PTSD, and she has research and assessment specialties in child and adolescent development and motivational theory.