Santa Barbara Talks Podcast: Techwise SB Founders Discuss iPad Challenges with K-3 Students | Local News


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Melissa Quigley and Kristen Hughes were among the original founders of Techwise SB, a group that seeks to educate elected officials and school administrators about technology and its effects on children in the early years.

They have asked the Santa Barbara Unified School District to remove iPads from K-3 students due to what they say are the dangers associated with excessive iPad use.

Hughes is a pediatrician with the Santa Barbara County Department of Public Health and said he has seen an increase in childhood obesity and other serious health issues due to the use of technology during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Quigley is a psychologist at Monroe Elementary School and said she sees students talking about suicidal ideation, depression and other mental health issues.

Children struggle to pay attention in school, Quigley said.

“They’re sliding all over the place,” Quigley said. “They’re on the document they’re supposed to be on, but they navigate very quickly to other apps, or to the camera, or to a drawing app, or to a game, or to message each other. There is a lot of off-behavior of the current task.”

Hughes said Techwise SB is “pro-transformative technology” and can change lives. But there are downfalls.

“We have to live in reality, and the reality is that there’s also very distracting consumer technology and technology, and there’s a whole tech industry that’s making a lot of money developing technology that aims to make our children addicted to our product,” Hughes said.

The group is in talks with the Santa Barbara Unified School District about technology in the classroom. In this hour-long podcast, Hughes and Quigley talk about their professional experiences and share their pro tips on how to help kids use technology safely — and not let it control their lives.

Santa Barbara Talks with Josh Molina is a podcast produced by journalist Josh Molina. Consider a financial contribution by visiting or subscribe to his Youtube channel.

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