More and more my patients are becoming addicted to their devices. I am concerned that their communication and social skills may be stifled. We are who we are in a large part by what we do. Children and adults who spend hours on devices miss opportunities and to grow as individuals.
It is best to limit exposure to the internet and social media. There’s a false narrative of what’s real. Unfortunately it is not the curators of the net to assume that responsibility. As parents and as families it is our role to take over responsibility.
5 Tips for Parents
Keep devices out of kids’ bedrooms.
Set up online firewalls and data cutoffs.
Create a device contract.
Model healthy device behaviors.
Consider old-school flip phones for your kids.
Taken from: Is Your Kid Hooked on Smartphones? 5 Tips for Parents
Our minds can be hijacked’: the tech insiders who fear a smartphone dystopia
“What doesn’t kill me makes me stronger.” Nietzsche was right, and Nasim Taleb’s book “Antifragile” explains why. Kids need thousands of hours of unsupervised play and thousands of conflicts and challenges that they resolve without adult help, in order to become independently functioning adults. But because of changes in American childrearing that began in the 1980s, and especially because of the helicopter parenting that took off in the 1990s for middle class and wealthy kids, they no longer get those experiences.Instead they are enmeshed in a “safety culture” that begins when they are young and that is now carried all the way through college. Books and words and visiting speakers are seen as “dangerous” and even as forms of “violence.” Trigger warnings and safe spaces are necessary to protect fragile young people from danger and violence. But such a culture is incompatible with political diversity, since many conservative ideas and speakers are labeled as threatening and banned from campus and the curriculum. Students who question the dominant political ethos are worn down by hostile reactions in the classroom. This is one of the core reasons why universities must choose one telos. Any institution that embraces safety culture cannot have the kind of viewpoint diversity that Mill advocated as essential in the search for truth.
Why Universities Must Choose One Telos: Truth or Social Justice
Reading with your child, though, is not just for the child. Fyodor Dostoyevsky said, “The soul is healed by being with children.”
Do yourself and your kids a favor, once the stars are out tonight—and every night thereafter—drop everything else and read until one of you is fast asleep.
Wind the clock, for tomorrow is another day
North Brooklin, Maine
30 March 1973
Dear Mr. Nadeau:
As long as there is one upright man, as long as there is one compassionate woman, the contagion may spread and the scene is not desolate. Hope is the thing that is left to us, in a bad time. I shall get up Sunday morning and wind the clock, as a contribution to order and steadfastness.
Sailors have an expression about the weather: they say, the weather is a great bluffer. I guess the same is true of our human society—things can look dark, then a break shows in the clouds, and all is changed, sometimes rather suddenly. It is quite obvious that the human race has made a queer mess of life on this planet. But as a people we probably harbor seeds of goodness that have lain for a long time waiting to sprout when the conditions are right. Man’s curiosity, his relentlessness, his inventiveness, his ingenuity have led him into deep trouble. We can only hope that these same traits will enable him to claw his way out.
Hang on to your hat. Hang on to your hope. And wind the clock, for tomorrow is another day.
(Signed, ‘E. B. White’)
E. B. White won numerous awards in his lifetime, and with good reason. Born in 1899, he was one of the greatest essayists of his time, he wrote children’s books which have gone on to become classics, such as Stuart Little and Charlotte’s Web.
He was also responsible for writing hundreds of wonderful letters.
In March of 1973, he wrote the perfectly formed reply to a Mr. Nadeau, who sought White’s opinion on what he saw as a bleak future for the human race.
(This letter, along with 124 other fascinating pieces of correspondence, can be found in the bestselling book, Letters of Note. For more info, visit Books of Note.)
Garden at Giverny – Claude Monet 1895
If We’re All So Connected, Why are Our Kids so Lonely?
Our children are spending an increasing amount of time staring at screens. And a new study released in January found that children today are struggling with “loneliness or deep levels of unhappiness” as a result of the time they spend on the Internet. The experience of loneliness has always been a part of childhood, of course. But technology, which in some cases can connect children to others virtually, clearly also has the potential to aggravate and introduce new sources of loneliness.
Where can we go to understand the loneliness of childhood? Loneliness is a central theme of Francis Hodges Burnett’s classic, The Secret Garden. The book is a hymn to lonely children and lonely places, lost families and sparse friendships. In this most unhopeful of themes, Burnett gives children the brightest and most hopeful of alternatives, a garden, itself transformed by death and the loneliness of loss. Here is a place where the roots grow deep, and the illusions of what one is and what one has lost fade behind the real sights and scents of life allowed to flourish
Technology will be a part of most children’s lives, in useful (and useless) ways, but teaching children how to step away from their screens, and gravitate toward what can be felt and cultivated in the real world—where they might discover their own secret gardens—will reveal to them the difference between the beauty of stillness and the loneliness of isolation.