For Your Consideration – 6

“A Curious Question Of Vanity, Urgency, Pleasure And Anxiety”: By philosopher Alva Noë.

“Here’s a question, dear reader. I’d like to know what you think. Should kids have cell phones? Just to be exact, should sixth-graders have cell phones? Let me see if I can formulate the issue a bit better: Should I get my son a cell phone? He’s modest in his demands. He says he’ll settle for an iPhone 4. It’s not like he wants the latest model. I am serious. What should I do? I didn’t need one when I was his age. They didn’t exist then. Has the world reorganized itself so that a kid his age really does need a phone?”

“Drunk on Gadgets”:

“The ‘rightful place of science,’ to appropriate Obama’s phrase, is somewhere more humble than the pedestal on which politicians would place it. Technology is not a magic wand, even if presidents would like to wield it as if it were.”

“Generation Whine: Self-pitying twentysomethings and the Boomers who made them”: Article is a bit more nuanced than the title may suggest.

“Kathy Edin, a sociologist at Harvard who studies urban poverty and family life, is one of the most prominent critics of the emerging adulthood theory. The notion that an entire generation is consumed by the desire for ‘identity-based work’ is, she said, ‘completely ridiculous.’ ‘The myopia is galling,’ she added. ‘While people on Thought Catalog are struggling to find themselves, there are young families struggling to survive in an economy where two jobs can’t pay the food bill.'”

“Lonely, but united: Sherry Turkle and Steven Johnson on technology’s pain and promise”: Video.

“Turkle is often derided as a “Luddite,” while Johnson gets “utopian” a lot. But hearing them describe their positions in person was a chance for them to color in the subtleties. Turkle sees her latest work as “repentant,” after years of championing the benefits of technology, even though she still loves the potential of that technology, while Johnson admits there are costs to his method of engaging with the world through “weak-tie” networks. He also mourns his reduced ability to just sit down and read a book.”

“You Are Not a Switch: Recreativity and the modern dismissal of genius”:

“Recreativity has many proponents and represents a wide spectrum of opinion. Still, it’s striking how easily some of these critics and theorists glide from relatively sensible talk about the role of appropriation and allusion in art to sweeping claims of an ontological or biological nature.”

“Reign of the Tecno-Nanny”:

“What’s at stake in this is that reliance on the techno-nanny to make our decisions and monitor our lives invites us to outsource moral character.”

“Visualizing Vastness”:

“Admit it. You have no real feeling for the size of the solar system. That’s O.K. Nobody else does either. Even knowing the numbers doesn’t help much. If I tell you the Earth is about 8,000 miles in diameter and 93,000,000 miles from the Sun, does that give you any sense of the distances involved? No, because the numbers are too big.”

“The 1991 CBC Massey Lectures, ‘The Malaise of Modernity'”: By Canadian philosopher, Charles Taylor.

“To Taylor, self-fulfillment, although often expressed in self-centered ways, isn’t necessarily a rejection of traditional values and social commitment; it also reflects something authentic and valuable in modern culture. Only by distinguishing what is good in this modern striving from what is socially and politically dangerous, Taylor says, can our age be made to deliver its promise.”

“Where the Internet Lives: Take a Look Inside Google’s Data-Centers”:

5 thoughts on “For Your Consideration – 6

  1. The answer lies in how you are defining your family and modeling what this looks like in decisions such as getting a cell phone. When we faced the request in 7th grade we (parents & child) determined it was not a good use of financial resources, was not needed, was a possible distraction, and something else to keep track of. In deciding against a phone at the time we also set our child up to be non-conforming in middle school where the pressure to conform is substantial. The inside joke we all enjoyed was that since every other child did have a phone, if ours actually needed one she could just borrow it. It would have been easier for her and us to just go along and get one. We felt she was strong enough to handle the consequences of being different and we wanted her to start developing strength in that area. We wanted to use this issue to help clarify our values and decision making process for her. Also, just found this a good exercise in critical thinking/decision making. We were fortunate that our child agreed with the conclusions and course of action and part of the consideration did include determining when we would see a use/need for one. Which was when she started going out with friends and driving – two situations in which a phone would allow her some control if problems arose. She survived and so did we. (She got the phone around 9th grade when she was beginning to hang-out with more teens including those older than she.) Good luck.

    1. Thanks for sharing your approach to this decision. I don’t have any children, so for me the question is merely hypothetical, as opposed to the author of the cited article. However, I’ve noted over the last ten years or so that students were getting their first cell phone at increasingly earlier ages and, like Noë, I wondered about the wisdom of this development.

  2. Fortunately C is not interested in a cell phone… he’d rather get a new laptop. Could all change next year, of course.

    But that’s not what captivated me among your links – the Google tour was amazing. Thanks for sharing.

    1. this is a real dilemma. i’d love to say no. do not get him one. try to preserve any and all ties to a more simple childhood. he will be bombarded with technology for the rest of his life. of course this is easy for me to say not being immersed in the situation…

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