Digital Devices and Learning to Grow Up

Last week the NY Times ran the sort of op-ed on digital culture that the cultured despisers love to ridicule. In it, Jane Brody made a host of claims about the detrimental consequences of digital media consumption on children, especially the very young. She had the temerity, for example, to call texting the “next national epidemic.” Consider as well the following paragraphs:

“Two of my grandsons, ages 10 and 13, seem destined to suffer some of the negative effects of video-game overuse. The 10-year-old gets up half an hour earlier on school days to play computer games, and he and his brother stay plugged into their hand-held devices on the ride to and from school. ‘There’s no conversation anymore,’ said their grandfather, who often picks them up. When the family dines out, the boys use their devices before the meal arrives and as soon as they finish eating.

‘If kids are allowed to play ‘Candy Crush’ on the way to school, the car ride will be quiet, but that’s not what kids need,’ Dr. Steiner-Adair said in an interview. ‘They need time to daydream, deal with anxieties, process their thoughts and share them with parents, who can provide reassurance.’

Technology is a poor substitute for personal interaction.”

Poor lady, I thought, and a grandmother no less. She was in for the kind of thrashing from the digital sophisticates that is usually reserved for Sherry Turkle.

In truth, I didn’t catch too many reactions to the piece, but one did stand out. At The Awl, John Hermann summed up the critical responses with admirable brevity:

“But the argument presented in the first installment is also proudly unsophisticated, and doesn’t attempt to preempt obvious criticism. Lines like ‘technology is a poor substitute for personal interaction,’ and non-sequitur quotes from a grab-bag of experts, tee up the most common and effective response to fears of Screen Addiction: that what’s happening on all these screens is not, as the writer suggests, an endless braindead Candy Crush session, but a rich social experience of its own. That screen is full of friends, and its distraction is no less valuable or valid than the distraction of a room full of buddies or a playground full of fellow students. Screen Addiction is, in this view, nonsensical: you can no more be addicted to a screen than to windows, sounds, or the written word.”

But Hermann does not quite leave it at that: “This is an argument worth making, probably. But tell it to an anxious parent or an alienated grandparent and you will sense that it is inadequate.” The argument may be correct, but, Hermann explains, “Screen Addiction is a generational complaint, and generational complaints, taken individually, are rarely what they claim to be. They are fresh expressions of horrible and timeless anxieties.”

Hermann goes on to make the following poignant observations:

“The grandparent who is persuaded that screens are not destroying human interaction, but are instead new tools for enabling fresh and flawed and modes of human interaction, is left facing a grimmer reality. Your grandchildren don’t look up from their phones because the experiences and friendships they enjoy there seem more interesting than what’s in front of them (you). Those experiences, from the outside, seem insultingly lame: text notifications, Emoji, selfies of other bratty little kids you’ve never met. But they’re urgent and real. What’s different is that they’re also right here, always, even when you thought you had an attentional claim. The moments of social captivity that gave parents power, or that gave grandparents precious access, are now compromised. The TV doesn’t turn off. The friends never go home. The grandkids can do the things they really want to be doing whenever they want, even while they’re sitting five feet away from grandma, alone, in a moving soundproof pod.

To see a more celebratory presentation of these dynamics, recall this Facebook ad from 2013:

Hermann, of course, is less sanguine.

Screen Addiction is a new way for kids to be blithe and oblivious; in this sense, it is empowering to the children, who have been terrible all along. The new grandparent’s dilemma, then, is both real and horribly modern. How, without coming out and saying it, do you tell that kid that you have things you want to say to them, or to give them, and that you’re going to die someday, and that they’re going to wish they’d gotten to know you better? Is there some kind of curiosity gap trick for adults who have become suddenly conscious of their mortality?”

“A new technology can be enriching and exciting for one group of people and create alienation for another;” Hermann concludes, “you don’t have to think the world is doomed to recognize that the present can be a little cruel.”

Well put.

I’m tempted to leave it at that, but I’m left wondering about the whole “generational complaint” business.

To say that something is a generational complaint suggests that we are dealing with old men yelling, “Get off my lawn!” It conjures up the image of hapless adults hopelessly out of sync with the brilliant exuberance of the young. It is, in other words, to dismiss whatever claim is being made. Granted, Hermann has given us a more sensitive and nuanced discussion of the matter, but even in his account too much ground is ceded to this kind of framing.

If we are dealing with a generational complaint, what exactly do we mean by that? Ostensibly that the old are lodging a predictable kind of complaint against the young, a complaint that amounts to little more than an unwillingness to comprehend the new or a desperate clinging to the familiar. Looked at this way, the framing implies that the old, by virtue of their age, are the ones out of step with reality.

But what if the generational complaint is framed rather as a function of coming into responsible adulthood. Hermann approaches this perspective when he writes, “Screen Addiction is a new way for kids to be blithe and oblivious; in this sense, it is empowering to the children, who have been terrible all along.” So when a person complains that they are being ignored by someone enthralled by their device, are they showing their age or merely demanding a basic degree of decency?

Yes, children are wont to be blithe and oblivious, often cruelly indifferent to the needs of others. Traditionally, we have sought to remedy that obliviousness and self-centeredness. Indeed, coming into adulthood more or less entails gaining some measure of control over our naturally self-centered impulses for our own good and for the sake of others. In this light, asking a child–whether age seven or thirty-seven–to lay their device aside long enough to acknowledge the presence of another human being is simply to ask them to grow up.

Others have taken a different tack in response to Brody and Hermann. Jason Kottke arrives at this conclusion:

“People on smartphones are not anti-social. They’re super-social. Phones allow people to be with the people they love the most all the time, which is the way humans probably used to be, until technology allowed for greater freedom of movement around the globe. People spending time on their phones in the presence of others aren’t necessarily rude because rudeness is a social contract about appropriate behavior and, as Hermann points out, social norms can vary widely between age groups. Playing Minecraft all day isn’t necessarily a waste of time. The real world and the virtual world each have their own strengths and weaknesses, so it’s wise to spend time in both.”

Of course. But how do we allocate the time we spend in each–that’s the question. Also, I’m not quite sure what to make of his claim about rudeness and the social contract except that it seems to suggest that it’s not rudeness if you decide you don’t like the terms of the social contract that renders it so. Sorry Grandma, I don’t recognize the social contract by which I’m supposed to acknowledge your presence and render to you a modicum of my attention and affection.

Yes, digital devices have given us the power to decide who is worthy of our attention minute by minute. Advocates of this constant connectivity–many of them, like Facebook, acting out of obvious self-interest–want us to believe this is an unmitigated good and that we should exercise this power with impunity. But–how to say this without sounding alarmist–encouraging people to habitually render other human beings unworthy of their attention seems like a poor way to build a just and equitable society.

98 thoughts on “Digital Devices and Learning to Grow Up

  1. As always you target an important modern issue. Many of us, although not grandparents, worry or at least wonder about the consequences of our modern communication tools on children. As anyone else I love the convenience of my phone, the amazing social networks that allow me to communicate with anyone at any time. I have real relationships with writers and bloggers I may never meet in person and I realize that my time spent in virtual relationships take away some of my time that should maybe be spent with the people who are physically with me. My children were born with these incredible tools and I did my best (with mixed results) to do what I did with food. In the samw way I said yes to cakes and frosting for a special occasion but no to daily donuts, I also said yes to Facebook when homework was done and no to Snapchat when a book report was due or when dinner was served. It is true that conversations in the car are rare when everyone is plugged in. But I wasn’t more talkative when I drove with my mom in the 1970s. And once in a while one of my kids will forget that she is watching something I’m not watching. She will shout: “Mom, you’ve got to see that!”
    As most adults who have known a different world I am torn but refuse to think that kids are more rude than we were. I believe, however, that adults must remain adults and set boundaries. Children need them as much as ever. It seems to me than some adults fear the changes and are also afraid to be disliked if they speak up. Moderation works pretty well for many aspects of our lives.
    The last sentence of your essay is important. I understand the grandmother’s feelings and I totally feel for her. I think that she should use her knowledge of another time and tell her grandkids about it. Children love stories and need them to find their place in the world and first in their family and community. Fun stories told from someone who has lived them work well with kids. This grandmother could win her grandkids’ hearts if she asked them about their interests and compared them with hers when she was their age. Honestly, even modern kids, enjoy knowing about weird things. Their grandparents’ lives are as weird to them as if they came from another planet.
    As always this is an excellent post. I’m relieved to read pertinent thoughts about legit worries.

    1. I’d agree that moderation can go a long way. And I’d also agree that children today are not markedly different from children in the past. There’s never been a golden age of communicative, giving, and thoughtful children. That said, we need to learn for ourselves and teach our children how to prioritize decency. The fact is that many of us adults are no better than the children we tend to scold.

      Thanks, as always, for sharing your thoughts here.

      1. You are making an excellent point about adults not behaving better than their children. In fact I’ve often noticed parents busy on their phones while their little ones wait patiently. Adults should remain models and although we are not perfect we should watch the way we interact before being too harsh against the young people. Again, thank you for a thoughtful and thought provoking post.

  2. Perhaps someone ought to give Hermann a copy of Proust and the Squid and while they are at it, ask him to lay his prejudices aside (even the Awl website calls him, among other things, a total weirdo, ad hominem, for sure, but their words) and consider the formation of children more important than shilling for dry-as-dust technology. A good place to start is with the the psychosocial, educational, and pediatric insights and wisdom of the Alliance for Childhood . He might start with their Fool’s Gold and try a few chapters of Wendell Berry before falling asleep at night.

  3. Both sides of the argument have valid points. As an adult just turning 30, I find myself in an interesting position. A sort of middle ground, & my opinion on the subject matches.

    One the one hand, I’m glad we’ve had such technological advances. Social media & connectivity allows people from all over the world to connect. To meet people you other never would. And it can allow for more freer expression. Technology can be a godsend for people who feel socially awkward face-to-face, or for those like myself who sometimes have a hard time putting our thoughts into words in a timely manner for verbal conversation. I can share my views with others of similar interests without having to go out into the wastelands & search.

    On the other hand, having not grown up inundated with this current technology, I also fear the potential negative effects. I see people out at a restaurant together but staring down at their phones the entire time. I see parents hand toddlers IPads & smartphones to keep them quiet without having to actually interact with them. I tire of general self-centeredness of social media, where people feel they have to post every little thing that happens to them without questioning the possible consequences of sharing.

    I think the big problem is the speed of which these advances took place. I’ve worked with people I’m only a few years older & we might as well have grown up in a different country for all that we understand each others’ point of view. This is especially problematic for parents & grandparents who may feel at a complete loss. Children need to learn moderation, but either their family can’t keep up with the changes to help them balance the real-world & cyber-world, or their parents are young enough that they’re doing the exact same thing as their kids! You can’t teach moderation if you don’t practice yourself.

    So what’s the answer? I don’t know. But I think the first step is getting rid of this all-or-nothing attitude. Technology is a tool, & like any tool it can be used for good or ill. It’s up to how we decide to use it.

    1. I’m closer to 40, but I’d agree that the perspective of someone who is right now somewhere in their 30’s is rather unique. In fact, I would’ve been tempted to put the dividing line somewhere closer to 35. In any case, those who can remember life before the Internet but where still relatively young when it arrived have an important perspective. Indeed, they may be best positioned to weight the relative merits of connectivity as you did above.

      Also, agreed regarding moderation and parents.

  4. “Phones allow people to be with the people they love the most all the time, which is the way humans probably used to be…” People used to live and die within 25 miles or less of their birth places. Now you have friends and family going off to other states or countries for jobs and experiences that would not have been possible in recent history. Phones, social networks, and games are solutions to the problem, “how do I keep in touch with them?”

    It does come at a cost. I personally prefer not to be on social networks or games when there are other people to interact with. Kids, however, are pulled daily from a community of their peers and cast adrift into a frequently sprawling suburban school district. I can’t blame them for wishing to stay in close contact with such a tight knit community as schools provide.

    1. I’d say that the function of digital devices, social networks, etc. as an answer to the problem of alienation and displacement is, at best, complicated. Look at in a certain light, the dependence for some can be understandable.

  5. Great job! I am also prompted to ask parents and others who complain about the amount of usage, “Who is the adult?” As a parent, we simply do not allow electronics or phones at the dinner table. Regardless what has a child’s attention, it is the adult’s responsibility to regulate appropriate manners and social behaviors.

  6. I think that we, as a whole group of humans, are not yet sure how to deal with the huge advances technology has made. We’re stuck in the inbetween-zone, both children and adults, because many people didn’t grow up with what younger people did nowadays and don’t know how to handle it. I think, with the world getting more and more pulled into this form of communication, gaming, etc. people will start growing up, knowing how to deal with it and what sort of balance is necessary.

  7. I think you can make a valid argument for both sides. Technology makes life better no doubt about it, but when it comes to social networking and gaming there has to be limits for how much time we spend using it.

  8. I completely embrace the reason why this topic is being talked about.
    I’ve seen this happen in real life, and have felt the frustrations a care giver experiences in their efforts to be educational to their involved adolescent.
    It takes extreme patience and tact to get through that adolescent as soon as you desire to, and most people are simply not experienced enough to produce the results they so chase.
    My best advice is to give them Time.
    Give them Time.
    And support their most sincere pursuits…

  9. This really hit home for me. I have four kids, aged 17 through 25. The oldest two are somewhat tied to their technology, but they have a rich and varied perspective on the world. They are willing to spread their wings and explore, to try new things, to see the wonder in the natural world. Technology has provided a safety net to our daughter, who at 22 is traveling abroad by herself. My eldest has put off the constant distraction of a smartphone until just recently – by choice. The two younger boys, however, seem to be tied to their technology, spending hours in front of the screens, often to the detriment of family conversation and connection, and despite our best efforts to distract them away from the devices.

    I recognize the desire to be so connected to friends. I felt the same way when I was their age. I understand the anxiety that comes with not getting or giving an instant answer to a text. Life for them is moving at breakneck speed, and hopping off the technology train for even a short time means missing out in the way of connection. It doesn’t take long to feel alienated.

    I agree with your last point about the recognition of the value of another human being. Even if the rules are changing, even if the world is becoming theirs, we should find a way to strengthen those inter-generational and interpersonal bonds. Maybe there’s an app for that.

  10. I am 16, and I am what some would describe as a “screen-addict.” The generation gap is an eternal thing, to be sure– there is no doubt in my mind that parents felt this same sense of disrespect and mindlessness from their children spending all day watching TV or using their home phones, though, perhaps, to a different degree. However, I would like to clarify something often ignored: the Internet goes beyond talking to the people you know “irl.” I have personally made meaningful relationships with total strangers via online communication that are just as “real” as any that I’d make at school, and this is because the Internet allows for discovery, for expansion of one’s horizons. For example, the people in my family are not particularly “cultured,” per se– not to say they aren’t intelligent, of course. Without the Internet, I would never have known about many great works of art, be it the literature of James Joyce, the films of Gaspar Noe, or the music of Alban Berg. I consume media that local shops don’t carry, that local people haven’t heard of and likely would not enjoy. The net lets me not only experience these things, but, perhaps more importantly, have people with whom I can actually discuss these things. I don’t reject socialization for mindless drudgery, I reject mindless drudgery for socialization.

    1. Indeed, I’ve formed some meaningful connections with some of the people who’ve been reading my blog over the past few years, people I’ve not met in the flesh or likely ever will. There’s no doubt that the Internet creates new networks of affinity that can be stimulating and valuable. Hermann’s essay, linked in the post, raises those same points. My point here is not to say that nothing of value transpires online–that would be an odd claim for a blogger to make. I’d say it’s all “real” life. The question is now, as it has always been, a matter of conducting our lives in ways that respect the dignity of the people with whom we interact, whether those ties or those of necessity or affinity. It occurs to me, as well, that your framing suggests the tension between localism and cosmopolitanism. Their are joys and discontents associated with both.

      1. Well, ok, but I’m not sure that ‘localism’ vs. ‘cosmopolitanism’ is really it. Technology isn’t, I think, bound to any particular ethnographic or any particular cultural point of reference or locale. It’s got a most curious evolution of its own, and we are its most curious sword-bearers, as it were.

  11. Fascinating and very true points. Older generations are almost afraid of new technology and its control over society today, because it simply didn’t exist when they were growing up.

  12. Very thought provoking post :)

    As a female in my mid-twenties I find this constant screen addiction a big problem when I go out with people and they’re busy tapping away on their phone, ignoring the human beside them.
    Yes, technology has been useful so far– building bridges, helping with social anxiety, providing information and humor on a boring day. And I love all that! But it should never be to the detriment of building ties with the people that matter to us physically.

    No doubt in the past keeping engaged with older people was difficult enough. Now we just have more reasons not to try engaging others too.

    I agree with your conclusion and the balanced argument you’ve created for both sides :)

  13. The concept of Grandparent alienation that you’ve highlighted in this or rather summarised, isn’t tat hard to ignore on a day to day basis. Unfortunately, or maybe the other way round, times have changed to such an extent that a kid would be close to his/her grandparent if the latter resorts to texting as well… It becomes easier for the kid to connect with the grandparent if the grandparent is if not as much but at least a little tech savvy.

  14. I have had quite similar thinking when looking overall living. Not just how young kids live but also services we use etc. And again how fast is change still ongoing. As example with education. In higher education there are already quite much online education. So teacher and students are not sitting together and learning in social way we could think is that real social interaction between people. Interaction is needed usually just to get things started. Actual work can be done quite much with online communication.

  15. We are technological beings and we are biological beings. So, I don’t think it’s really as simple as an “us” versus “them” argument would make it seem. The Grandma Alienation syndrome referred to I think is illustrative of the rapidity of the pace, or the acceleration, of the current evolution in technology, and how, in just the time of two generations or so, the social ability to keep apace with that is basically and inevitably outstripped, or thrown under the bus, as it were. Or not. Here, for instance, I am possibly engaging others, however clumsily, and not actually talking with someone else over a cup of coffee across the breakfast table early in the morning.

    Marianne Moore defined poetry as an imaginary garden with real toads in them. Me, I can enjoy posting digital pictures I’ve taken with soft gloves & a toy camera from the 60’s in them. So, I think a sort of lightness in humor as well as awareness (as much as that is possible) is important here . . . Please feel free to check it out: https://egbertstarr.wordpress.com/2015/07/15/it-was-a-sky-blue-sky/

  16. This is a very serious issue especially in Ireland. We have some of the highest rates of diabetes, heart disease, depression and suicide in Europe. I wonder how many of these are influenced by too much time spent on screens?The main issue I have is lack of development of social skills. I was born without intuitive social skills. It’s a disability. I had to work and constantly develop to learn my social skills. These kids have the skills. They are losing them due to too much screen time. That to me is very sad. It’s no wonder some of the problems mentioned above are high in this country.

  17. Addiction is a state characterized by compulsive engagement in rewarding stimuli, despite adverse consequences.
    There you have it. If you think you can’t live without it, then it becomes a problem.
    I have been a tour guide in fantastic places (Death Valley, Arches, Denali…) and I have seen visitors glued to their devices. I believe they missed the natural beauty surrounding them, whatever was on the screen seemed more appealing. Instant gratification, always on, it does change how we view the world and what is important to us. I believe we will become more removed from nature.

  18. Nice post. I learned a lot today. Guess our countries aren’t so different after all. Keep up the good work.

  19. I know one particular mum whose child wants her attention and is usurped by the thrill of online shopping and texting and is, in fact, encouraged to play on her tablet instead. She is an only child so has no siblings to turn to. Although preoccupied, I must say she is not a bad mother…just overly distracted which is really unfair to her daughter.
    I’m 18 and I can go days without looking at my phone, I usually look at it to see the time and realise I haven’t replied to my boyfriend for 3 hours. Oops!
    I must say I really hate this stigma about my generation. It makes us out to be mindless and anti social…and then people complain when we’re on the street, socialising! I’m glad some of you seem to understand that this is not the case, for most of us anyway. All we’re guilty of is falling into an age bracket which led us to the world of social media and abbreviations and emojis and touch screens and Wi-Fi. It’s a useful resource which is hard to ignore but, somehow, we do manage to peel out eyes off “the screen” and make it through our day whilst making actual conversation with our very own lips. It is possible! I’ve seen it happen!
    If you think children, or teenagers, can’t cope then I’m sorry but that’s an inaccurate generalisation. What did your grandparents think of your lifestyle when you were a kid? Every generation has its flaws; ours, I’m afraid to say, is technological convenience.

  20. This is certainly something I struggle with. My son turns 7 soon and at 40, I sometimes find us at loggerheads over the issue of technology-addiction. I blogged about this recently as well, and as you say in your closing, it really is about finding the balance, the right mix. Being anti-technology simply doesn’t make sense in the present age, but learning to figure out when you’ve crossed over into another zone by overdoing it can hold the key to staying on top of the situation. Thanks for the post! Re-blogging it.

  21. I could go on about how detrimental social media and smartphones are to quality human interaction and critical thought, among other things, but I’ll just say this: it benefits corporations (and the government) well to encourage us to continue to live screen-bounded lives instead of real, authentic, free, and, most importantly, aware ones. I’m not religious at all, but this quote applies well: “Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves.”

  22. Everything you say is very valid regarding the effect of isolation and segragation. Children also fail to learn any social skills whilst focused on a machine. There are also very notable consequences of cognitive impairment, in children, if they are exposed to much technology on a regular basis from a young age. I heard that Steve Jobbs didn’t allow his children to use an ipad eeek. But one has to ask whether that responsiblity lies solely on technology companies and how much lies on parenting. Why, with the internet so ready to answer investigative questions, aren’t parents sourcing material to make sure they are being appropriately cautious in their rules about technological usage. Being allowed to engage in mind-numbing activites before school and on such a frequent basis is not ok, and it is someone’s responsibility to make sure it doesn’t happen. The only way to change this is for people to take independent responsibility. We are all very capable of making changes and going against a grain. I nanny and I have very strict rules regarding this as a result of research and an education in psychology. NO technology between 6.30am and 6.30pm. Not to be on a high horse, but this takes persistance and hard work to create a habit that is positive for a child’s welfare and for them to feel comfortable within that space, especially if it goes against peer behaviour. Parents need to wake up, smell the coffee, do some private research and make necessary provisions for their children to ensure they are not lead by a mass market of technological onslaught.

  23. This is spot-on. I’m only coming to the end of my twenties now, but I recognize a lot of these problems – I worked as a teacher for a few years and when I had to deal with the younger kids (who all had laptops – a genius idea the school had to advance their educations, I guess) they were sometimes caught playing Minecraft instead of doing what they were supposed to be doing (sure as hell not playing Minecraft.) The whole “go to hell Grandpa” vibe I get off of the reaction to the NYT article also seems way too quick to dismiss this argument.

    Still, I wonder whether anything new is really happening. Kids and teenagers have always ignored their elders, haven’t they? Maybe Candy Crush just makes that easier to do.

  24. I have to say, I truly enjoyed this read. It gave the framework I’ve been looking for to what I consider a dilemma in society today. I am hesitant to say that we have become slaves to the very thing we created

  25. I like how you have carefully considered both sides of this. A lot of articles that you read about this kind of thing tend to completely dismiss one side or the other. It is an issue that is obviously far more complex than just technology is right or technology is wrong.

  26. Fantastic read. I love the way both sides were presented and considered. Honestly I feel that with portable technology being so new we just haven’t learned how to properly integrate it in society yet. I am only in my mid twenties and see this phenomenon not only with those younger but those my age and even older generations. I am guilty of poorly directed attention as well as having received it. My guess is that technology is just amplifying certain aspects of our behavior that may or may not have been noticed before. How much is just fascination of the ability to do and how much is willingness to ignore those around us? Time should tell as we find our new cultural and social norms and we get used to having such power at our fingertips.

  27. I feel like children should be alotted a certain amount of time a day on devices. Then the rest helping around the house or going outside and playing or reading. I mean I see children so young on phones and whining if their parents take the phone away. I am sorry but it they are always connected to phones or computers there will be no social interactions It is just sad.

  28. I rather spent full attention when with my Mother In the car forget mobiles when there’s music we can sing along and chat.
    Have to say young adults can be good at having full attention while watching tv with the people in same room while checking social networking. Better then mine . The thing is I’m reading interesting facts and what’s going on in the world while they just use it for social friends stuff and friends they know.

  29. Great post – well-written and to the point. Nonetheless, there are couple of points I would like to add. In general, people have always shown a tendency to be “socially dependent”. In other words, they need somebody to share their lives with in order to feel complete, accomplished and so on. Social networks allow people to do this, but they also provide a medium for comparison, which may have devastating effects on individuals that lack confidence or are easily jealous.
    So I agree with some points mentioned in this article – technology (especially social networking) hasn’t really changed people, it’s just brought out qualities that were less noticeable before. Nonetheless, this isn’t proof that this technological obsession is not bad in itself – humanity can either be improved or pushed towards further decline. Not everyone has the willpower to overcome an addiction that might potentially ruin their life, especially if it’s at a young age. I’m not saying to get rid of technology and social networking – it would be impossible to do at this stage. I’m just saying that there’s no need to make it seem less harmful, and take one step further by trying to make our lives more interesting than what can be seen on the screen.

  30. Perhaps another approach to high tech would be to use your technology, to help young people learn to make choices. The choice is “time” Give you children a time to choose what electronic device the want to use! The time does not include home work; however, it might be idea to negotiate that time, when you child has know reading homework. before they may start there home work, they must read so many pages in a book. Not too much, because they do need to do their homework. If your child is ready to go to school the first thing in the morning, that is an excellent way to get a morning snoozer out of bed.
    As far the affect technology has young people; it is basically a social.

  31. To all parents who read to children and allow them not be on devise more than 15 minutes. Yes, people are the same. But in my sixty years. Our country is so poor or so rich that every in middle of so’ that everybody is being manipulated to the extreme!

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