Monday, January 2, 2017

A Really Long Post On Millennials/Social Media/Cell Phones


This is about 20 minutes long (watch the whole thing!), sent to me by my mother (an education consultant/teacher-trainer), sent to her by an administrator of a school, all who are very very thoughtful and concerned about child/adolescent tech usage.

It is thought-provoking. It made me feel very unsettled, angry, and sad, helpless, and I couldn't get it off my mind.  It led to some good discussions here, as I forced my older kids to watch it.  I sent it to friends I know would be interested and also have the same concerns and worries about this subject as I do.

Which is pretty much everyone I know.  Because tech has infiltrated our kid's world.  I see toddlers with Ipads and frankly I will tell you it turns my stomach and I am glad it does. To me that is indicative of the world I grew up in-the one that says that children learn by reading, by observing, by being outside, be being bored, by looking around them.  They don't need beeping lights.  They don't learn from stinkin' Dora The Explorer app in any way shape or form, but with their hands and active deep brain processing.  They'd learn more with mud and sticks and acorns and flour and water and leaves and a paper and pencil and a few books than the latest Ipad.  They'd do more for their brains and their psyches and their souls with that little list BY FAR than the latest gadget.

And then they go to school and I have been in enough school meetings, with administration and other parents to know that there are many who are concerned about tech.  And not keeping tech out of kids hands but bringing it to them more and more often-into classrooms everywhere and all the time, which also turns my stomach.  I think many administrators and teachers feel exactly like I do-but the competitive selling point of the school is what tech they supply, which means it all comes down to money, not is what is best for the kids.  Money over kid's brains.

The parents talk of tech like this is an utterly essential aspect of life that will determine the kids will succeed or fail. I have talked to enough teachers to know that there are very limited benefits of it.  Kids learning by interacting with others, by reading and listening and reciting and by the sight and sound and touch of pages turning.  No books in classrooms? That's awful and no one will ever convince me otherwise because it's just common sense, a rarity today when it comes to just above everything.

And then there is the psychological aspect and no studies can prove to me what I know from talking face to face to other parents and being one myself, and teachers and those that help children-doctors and therapists.  Our children are changing and NOT in a good way.  In a terrible drastic scary way.  Addiction and I'm not just talking porn which deserves all the talk it is getting, but addiction like not being able to part with a phone, flipping out when they have to, endless hours and hours and hours on social media and texting and games and forums. Hours and hours, days and days.  I see parents frustrated but many in the end giving in and saying, "What can we do?"  But it doesn't change the fact that teens brains are hard-wired for addiction.  And tech can be addicting! We all know it can be and to deny otherwise is just that-denial.  We are handing it to our children at their brain's most vulnerable time of addiction (just like Mr. Sinek in the video alludes to) and are saying, "Have at it." And we are introducing these habits younger and younger.  And the incidence of depression and anxiety and suicide and struggle with addiction are rising.

And the excuses.  I've heard them all, some of them I've made myself.  And we all know they are ridiculous because we are HERE today and we made it without cell phones to call mom on when we get here or there, home or away.  We all figured out how to get from Point A to Point B and we can still do that, but I don't think the younger generation can because they haven't learned the skill.  I can tell you that I can argue against every excuse for tech under the sun that has ever been invented.  Because parents are great at justifying, but teens-they are even better. I've heard them all, bring them on.

I've also given in to them, and deeply regretted it.  I've learned many many more lessons than my children have when it comes to tech.  I've learned right along with them and that is a huge caveat of my generation (I am 47) who were literally thrown into the storm with no help, no advice, no guidance except from people trying to make a buck off of our children (the tech companies). That storm was changing it's course every day and we couldn't keep up.  I grew up thank the Lord without any of it, and I raised my first three children up to their teen years without any of it.  I remember writing letters and posting them, and film cameras, and learning how to send an email and be blissfully awesomely unaware of everything in this little black box of an internet.

I've had my own journey with tech-from realizing the pull of social media and hating where it took me and hitting the delete button and feeling a huge sense of relief from pressure and from getting my precious time back with not one regret of saying no to it all.  Time is what our kids need from us parents, and social media is the biggest time suck ever. I learned a lot from blogging-a time-suck again, choosing whether to participate in that time-suck, and then also comparisons and awareness of a deep desire to be real instead of falling into the trap of presentation and perfection which is so common on the internet but is also so untruthful-integrity and being aware of it. Being aware of the good/bad and what weighs more and how I can influence that weight tremendously.

It took years to work out the way I wanted to use the internet so that it could be something positive and healthy in my life and it takes self-awareness and honesty and thoughtfulness and self-discipline.  But it also took being aware of what I was missing post-internet and what I lost compared to pre-internet.  Our children will not be able to do that. You don't know what you've lost if you aren't even aware that something is missing.   That is what it comes down to.  What is missing?

-A clear head instead of one that is filled with too much information which is dangerous-dangerous in the way that we become immune to what is really important.

-A life lived with what is in front of you instead of what exists out there somewhere.  With WHO is in front of you, in that chair across from you, in that house you live in.  With the books on your bookshelf, the recipes in your cabinet, the fresh air outside your door, and the creativity you thought of in your own mind with the supplies you have in your own house.

-Presence, mindful and physical and emotional presence.

-Authenticity and integrity and empathy and humility: four huge important things that are missing from most everything on the social media.

I am waiting for the switch to flip.  To switch to parents knowing the dangers that are far and wide and all encompassing and realize that what will make their child happier, more creative, more intelligent, more empathetic, more healthy, more employable, better workers, have fuller, richer, healthier minds and bodies and souls is the LACK of tech in their lives.  The later they touch an Ipad, a computer, a phone, the BETTER off they will be.

Yes, I've heard the "tech isn't going away" reasoning and yes, it's true, but if that is used an excuse to just accept all the bad with the good, no thanks.  It CAN go away, and it must, in many situations.  We also have to do a better job in educating our children on the negatives.  And a phone contract is a good idea, but it must go further than that.  They need to know from the minute they start using it (and if they can't understand this they shouldn't be using it) the way their brains react chemically.  They need to know how gaming and social media companies purposely make every facet of their product addicting.  Purposely!

We need to stop (OK not stop but get real) about all this "stranger danger on Facebook" talk that seems to always be the one and only thing talked about when it comes to kids and tech and talk about the every day danger-not the one in a million danger.  The danger of the loss of concentration, the struggle with being "on" all the time, the images filling up our children's heads-the fake lies of perfection. We need to talk about sexting and porn yes, for sure, but we need to show them what it does to relationships-what is missing and the shallowness of it all.  I want an awesome group of speakers to come to every junior high to call out our administrators and us, the parents, and give us all a huge talking to-to empower us to say no as parents, and demand more and show us all the data and research that is only just being talked about now.  There are very very few experts that will do this I've found.  I've read enough "parenting" books that drop the ball majorly when it comes to really talking about what kids and parents are struggling with and will go out on a limb to say "these need to be your rules if you want to raise these children properly".

I say all this all out of frustration-and I'm frustrated by what I myself just did-I wrote about it and gave no real solutions and no answers.  This video is informative and eye-opening and needs to be heard.  But I wonder if this speaker even has kids and if he did what his rules would be knowing all that he just spoke about.  Realistically what would he do?  What if the schools he sent his children to handed them a laptop?  Or let his kids have their phones all day in school and use them in the classroom?  How would he teach balance with a kid who was always "doing his homework" when he had a big hunch that wasn't true?  Would he let his daughter have an Instagram account and when?  I have about 20 more questions I'd like answered with specifics. Because it's not ever as easy as it sounds-in the elementary years, yes, but in the teens years, not always.

I get angry because there is a lot of spouting off about our generation and our millennials (and trust me I get it!) but when it comes to tech please have at it. Experts, give me your rules and suggestions but ONLY if you've had direct success with them all in your home yourself and only if you define what "success" is.  I find our parent's generation doesn't really understand what we are up against and will not directly offer any advice.  I have had many grandparents complain to me by what they see (and I agree with them!) but in a way they are adding to the problem by not speaking up and wanting to keep the peace. Help us, support us, give us a little boost when we are fighting against the tide of the crazy "norm". (Thank you Mom!)

Do you know what else we need?  We need to be honest with ourselves and with each other.  We need to share our rules and empower each other.  I've had enough emails that have said to me, "I don't want to give in but my child is asking for the latest ____ but I don't really want him to have it.  He'll be the only kid on the block who doesn't."  I once wrote to a mom who I admire to ask her a question about how she handles the homework/tech thing and she told me her kids didn't have Ipods/Ipads/phones or their own laptop till college!!! College!!! (This was about a year ago not 10 :). She said, "We just said no and stuck to it and kept them busy with other things.  We have a family computer for school work."  That was so empowering to me at the time.  I know a few of my friends who have little ones and they have had little or no access to tech (as my kids have till high school) and will continue to say no for a long long time.  I think as this problem has crept down to newer parents, those who don't fully have their parenting confidence in place, it is more important than ever to hear from those who don't allow technology and think there kids are much better off for NOT having it. We've all seen this article before right? (Another similar one here.)

What would my "dream world" look like when it comes to all of this?

Very very limited tech usage (meaning almost none and in junior high used rarely in a classroom only) at home for kids from birth to junior high. They learn to read, and write and communicate and concentrate deeply.  Tech exposure is thought of as detriment instead of an advantage.

In high school we'd begin first with major education when it comes to brain reaction to technology and the awareness of being "sucked in"-"your brain on tech". A strong strong awareness of the "dark side" of the internet from dishonesty, misrepresentation, advertising, false information, the science behind addiction and how companies use that, etc.  How and why to make choices when it comes to participation in social media-etc.  An entire class on it all, with reminders and constant guidance and parents teaching first at home and setting rules in place.  Would this all make a difference?  I don't know-those hard-wired teen brains.  I've heard the "teach them balance" thing over and over again and I have yet to see ONE parent who feels they have been successful at this through the teen years when it comes to tech.  We have to ask ourselves why teens love tech so much?  Why are they so drawn to it during these years?  My answer? Because it's the "easy way out" almost always.  It requires less work, less thought, less growth emotionally and mentally and socially, less accountability, and more self-discipline.  (The video touches on this briefly and it's so true-these are emotionally hard years!)

An acceptance of rules for parents that become the norm, which can only be realized through information and studies and articles and then general acceptance. This is why we don't encourage our teens to smoke and drink and if parents we knew did, they'd be frowned upon by most as bad parents.  There needs to be a certain awareness and acceptance of what is good/bad for our kids first. (Smart phone in second grade?  Not good!) It is just beginning as I have read more and more studies/articles coming out against use of tech and younger children, in schools and with teens and as more mental health professionals are talking about what they are seeing.  Yes the tech companies will come out with their own studies but they have something to lose (akin to cigarette companies marketing to teens in days long gone).  Certain societal norms need to be accepted-manners!  We have manners because they were taught and modeled at home-they were in essence "rules" we followed.  We need to do the same-set the example.

43 comments :

  1. Thank you for posting this. I needed to hear this message! We'll be making some big changes in our house.

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  2. I feel the same. I hate tech use for little kids, I feel like the only way to learn to live in this world is for kids to get outside of themselves and they don't learn that when they are interacting with screens instead of people. We have a family computer (which my kids play games on occasionally if they have finished their long list of "first things first"), and my husband just got a Kindle Fire which is practically an I-pad, but it is not a toy. WE (my husband and I) don't even have smart phones, and I just can't see us saying yes to them for our kids anytime soon, simply because I believe, like you said, that kids' and teens' brains are hard-wired for addiction, and I don't think it is fair to put things like that in their hands when they don't have the maturity to be in control of them rather than vice-versa. I feel strongly about this topic, and I do wish it were addressed more completely, not just the capabilities of tech but the dangers of it, and how to keep it from taking over your life, if not completely ruining it. That's kind of a ramble, but my point is, I agree. :-) Thank you for your example.

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  3. Thank you. My kids (7 and 5) do not watch tv or play video games or read on a screen. We watch a Friday night movie as a family and I often feel like people think I'm self righteous about our no media policy. It's hard. The amount of technology and screen time my second grader has at school bothers me so much. I appreciate your words...I feel validated.

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  4. This was a shot to my heart of encouragement. I grow so so weary on this. Out of 13 cousins my two (jr higher & second grader) are the ONLY ones without iPhone or iPad. It's easy to control your own household but tricky to control the others (family) that comes in your home with their technology. It has hurt my relationships with siblings because of my strict rules on this and my kids think I might as well be 85. Christmas my two seer nieces came in with iPhones they are 6! I could have cried. I love the real ness of your blog and it's always refreshing encouragement. Thank you!

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  6. I totally needed to read this today! My daughter is about to turn 13 and we've always told her she couldn't get a Pinterest, Instagram, or Facebook because you can't sign up (unless you lie about your birth date which I cannot believe how many parents are okay with this!) until you are 13. Now that she is, the pressure is on us to come up with the reasoning as to why she still cannot get whatever social media she is asking for. It's so hard! She doesn't have her own phone, but she does use mine to check up on her friends' pages on Instagram and to look at Snapchat. I needed to hear that I should keep fighting to keep her off of it. It is totally the easy way out to just give in to her and the pressure to be like all her friends. I really just wish I wasn't the only mom of her friends who felt this way! I'm going to stand firm though, thanks to you. I feel like I'm not alone when I read your blog posts and all the encouraging comments. I do know in my heart what is best, and that's to wait on the technology as long as possible.

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  7. As a longtime teacher I 100% agree with this!

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  8. This was a great read, well thought and presented and im with you 100% also. I would love to send it to my children. Would that be OK with you

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  9. The real problem is the lack of God in our world.
    We can't blame corporations for their inability to "lead us" now.
    The bible says "you will have troubles in this life."
    The bible also says "in the last days, children will Lord over their parents."
    The evil one seeks to destroy us.
    Love how he said charge the phone outside the bedroom, I already do this.
    And i HATE when people talk INTO THIN AIR while using their earpieces and IGNORE THAT I'M STANDING RIGHT THERE.
    So you know what I do, since they are ignoring me, apparently cannot see me (because they are so important on their important phone) i just talk back to them, I have to listen to them, so they get to listen to me (making comments, usually i just pretend I'm on the other end and I answer the way I think the person would answer on the other end.).Also a gal nearly walked into me cause she was looking down on her cel , I HAD TO MOVE…because she doesn't see me apparently, no way, i just stood still, let them run into me, i won't be apologizing.
    you cannot ignore a human being in the room. that is your first rule of thumb.bunch of cowards these people who have to look at their phone and not appear vulnerable.

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  10. I do agree with your post. My older daughter got her first iphone at the end of 10th grade and my youngest got an iPhone in 7th grade. In hindsight,technology and social media seemed to exacerbate some of the struggles of middle school for my youngest daughter. I had commented negatively on one of your posts re:technology about five years ago and now I must concede that you had it right.I agree that more education in our schools is needed so that our children can better understand the pitfalls of technology and specifically social media.I feel we get manipulated by an alternate version of reality and did it really happen if we didn't document it on our instagram? Gets harder to tell what is real and what is not -very confusing!

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  11. I have no real experience as my oldest is only seven but we do not plan on allowing any technology other than DVD movies until much older. I like the idea of waiting to college but not sure how realistic that is. We used to allow television shows but cut them out entirely after realizing how hard it was for kids to just have it once a day, they were always asking to watch a show. Now they never think about it and are always reading in their downtime. This is one of the reasons we have chosen to homeschool, which I realize is not a practical option for everyone. Thank you for speaking out!

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  12. My husband is a high school teacher and hates technology in class. Kids are addicted, and are constantly playing games/texting/checking social media when they're supposed to be reading or listening. It then becomes his job to be the police and walk around the room looking at kid screens to see what they're doing and not focus on teaching. He says he has no idea how these kids are going to go to college and sit in a auditorium and listen to a lecture for an hour. They just don't have the discipline! I can't even blame them, adults are all addicted as well. How do we expect teenagers to be able to have the self-control that we don't? But like you said, our high school pushes technology as if it's the greatest thing we can teach our students. We have to buy our 13-year-old son a laptop for high school next year, and I am dreading it so much. I don't want him him to have access to the Internet whenever he needs. We do all of these technological integration because we are trying to compete with the other high schools around us. But honestly, kids don't need to learn how to use technology. They already know. It's the teachers that need lessons on how to use it. We need to go back to Books and lectures and hands-on learning. I couldn't agree with you more.

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  13. Very interesting video - and true, I'm afraid. I have seen this in my own family. It certainly has been a challenge for us as parents and we have not always done a good job. I know I "relented." We started off with no cable TV and limited TV to Barney and occasional Disney Movie. Now we have cable and my 17 year old son watches a fair amount. (Mostly sports.) My oldest son never had a cell phone until college. Next one had a track phone until she blew through the minutes. Because it was a social vehicle, we told her she had to pay for it. She was a sophomore or junior in high school. So the new rule became you had to be 16 and pay for it on your own. But I bet we relented and let my son get one at 15. So we have seen the gamut. Now they use chromebooks in school. Are the kids playing games on them? You bet. My son found them to be a huge distraction and doesn't like them. So I think the first thing that needs to be done is the school needs to limit technology use - and certainly crack down on the students on their cell phones. And us parents - perhaps more rules than simply no cell phones at the dinner table. I have "yelled" at my son for having his phone with him when he is out playing with the neighbor boys. But am I helping him really? No. It's a feeble attempt. I need to help him control his own use. Back in the day we had to wait for the phone to talk to a boyfriend. Now kids have 24/7 access and it's too much. I am eager to learn anything that works! My oldest son is now 25. He lived in Chicago for two years with a slider phone (like mine) and finally broke down and bought a smart phone (mainly so he could manage his business as a professional piano player.) He now uses it to read books, so sometimes he looks like he is buried in his phone. But he has become a great reader of history and philosophy and can access library books that way. He still uses it to text his fiance quite a bit, but otherwise will go long periods without looking at it. He often doesn't answer my texts and several times has butt-dialed me in the middle of the night. (Not a great thing when your kid is living in the murder capital of the US.) My girls seem to find comfort in having a phone near. One has learned she sleeps better with it away from the bed and is trying to convince the other to do the same. So there is some learning that they have achieved - in the 23 - 25 age range. But I am deeply saddened when I see the younger kids at family parties - with heads down and not talking. Sorry for the whole lotta ramble....

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  14. Thank you so much for this post. My oldest is in 6th grade and has been asking for a phone, but we have been holding out, not sure when the right time will be. Reading your post solidifies my decision to wait as long as possible. She claims she is the "only one" in her school who does not have a phone, but that doesn't bother me!

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    1. My oldest is also a 6th grader but a boy and I hear the same things every day! The "only one" without a phone, or an instagram account. But I can name at least 5 of his friends who also don't have phones or social media accounts. I have to admit that there have been a couple times I wished I could have sent him a text (like when I'm running late to pick him up from practice) but other than that, I don't see a need for it. Stay strong!

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  15. I watched that earlier this week and found it very thought provoking and made me want to make even more changes to our already pretty bare bones media usage as a household. But what I can't quite agree with is that it is Corporate America's job to fix it.

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    1. I agree Andy-I think not to fix it, but to "cope" maybe? I wrote more about this below.

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  16. We just bought four acres in the country and are praying with that comes lots of chores for our teens! I told them "It's time for more chores and hard work and less screen time" to which my just turned 15 year old said "I agree!"

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  17. Our kids are at a school where no one is allowed to bring any electronics to school until junior and senior year and then it stays in the car. The office has a phone open to students to call parents. This school is 3-12 grade. It is amazing to see the liveliness and beautiful faces of these kids that are free from all that!

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    1. I love this school-do they have to argue this with parents who want more? Do they have some sort of mission statement/explanation about this? I would love to hear more. I would love to know that one day this type of school would be the one parents/children are fleeing to instead of the ones that promise a free laptop. I absolutely think it is a relief for many kids to be "forced" to part with their tech and just "be" in a classroom setting with good leadership and peers. If you see this will you email me? I would like to know more info about how they "get away" with this.

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  18. I agree completely! My kids are little so its pretty easy now, the hardest part is being a good example. Which brings me to my question - you wrote about figuring out how to use the internet as a positive thing for yourself, what "rules" did you make for yourself and how do you keep it positive and not let all the negative comparision etc etc creep in?

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  19. My goal is to have my students see technology as a tool. It's a tool that can be used to learn new things, practice skills that need additional time, or create a product to share with others.

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    1. I wish that was what it was used for, but that would be a very very narrow use of tech in the classroom-that would mean no phones would ever be used in jr high/high school age, extremely limited use of the internet in a classroom setting with a few computers, and maybe just programs for presenting information? I think practical skills for school aged children are always better when they are writing with pen/pencil and paper-the brain in connected to the hand sort of learning.

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  20. This is such a sensitive area and a divisive topic. I do agree that the misuse/overuse of technology and social media has brought a lot of new issues that we are still learning to navigate. While I agree on most of the points, my position is that our job as parents, first and foremost, is to teach our kids to make proper choices. It is no different than choices related to food, relationships, work ethic, etc. We have banned sodas in our house (just as an example). Sodas are addictive and very unhealthy. As much as I'd like to hope my kids will now live their lives soda-free, I know they will have access to it outside of the house. And they do go for it still when they are at somebody else's house, though much less nowadays. It is a proverbial forbidden fruit. What we are focusing on is to make them realize WHY we don't consume sodas so that they consciously embraced all the implications.

    I think, like Susan pointed out above, technology is a tool and it can be used to enrich lives or to damage them. What is sad to me is that most parents and schools do not see it as their responsibility to teach kids to use it properly.

    As far as social media-- it is a reflection of our societal norms and standards. It's a mirror of who we are (collectively). I see it as my parental duty to teach the kids to be critical of what they see and "apply their brain" to it. I will never be able to shield them from social media, but I can raise them with a right perspective-- that is their only defense.

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    1. So many good points Mila-I think for my generation it all came so quickly and we weren't prepared for it-we were learning it right along with them but had much less time to keep up. I was brought up to be relatively trusting and think the best of everyone and everything-that most people have good intentions. And I feel like when it comes to the internet I have to teach them to question everything, doubt a lot, be wary of this and that, analyze the source, examine the morality...all in junior high. There is just no way any kid can be prepared for everything they will come across the internet, and mostly I think children are handed devices without much of capacity to understand all that examining, and doubting, etc, and without the wisdom to discern as they are just children.

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  21. I love you idea about having a required class in school about it-maybe by the time my kiddos are old enough we will? One can hope.
    Thanks for sharing this video, I showed it to my husband last night. Any tips on a spouse that doesn't see the danger of technology like you do??

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  22. Working as a registered nurse for 40 years I figured out, on my own, addicts mostly seem to have started their drug of choice when they were 14 y/o. Fourteen always seemed to the magic number for the creation of a hard destructive life. An effect of addiction is emotionally you stay the age you were when you discovered your addiction. I wonder if we are going to have emotional 9 year olds or even 3 year olds? There is hardly a child in the waiting without their own device and they're angry we don't have free wifi. Scary.
    Also, I don't think he's saying Corporate America is required to fix this, but this is the hand they are dealt, they are having to work around it.

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    1. That is so interesting to me Nancy-we are seeing that now with the "safe spaces" etc? I also agree with you-it's not Corporate America's job to fix it, but they will have to cope with it and find a way to demand productivity and creativity. It IS funny to me when this video starts out he mentions that managers have asked these new hires (young adults) what they "need" and "want" from their workplace-bean bags, free food, etc. I think back when I graduated and had my first "real" job-it is laughable, just idiotic to think ANYONE in that office, most especially the owner would have asked ME what I "wanted" to help me work better. "Here's your cubby, this is what is expected, now do your job and get along and follow the rules (like returning from lunch on time etc). And I did and yes there was pressure, and I was petrified at times, but I learned it and then the next job up and was promoted. If this is the attitude, than they are guilty of the same thing that parents are being blamed for-and I do believe it's true-this over-catering, "what can we give you to make you happy and LIKE us sort of attitude". It reeks of desperation to be "cool"-that is a problem with OUR generation, not millennials...the inability to grow up. It's complete lack of authority and adulthood and destroys any respect and trust-talk about leadership!!!

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    2. Oh my goodness! You're so right about the safe spaces. We already have a generation of young adults that are emotionally 6 years old. I saw a room labeled Safe Space on a campus a few months ago and I thought it was a place to stash your backpack. Am I out of touch or what? I only wish I had looked inside to see the furnishings.

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  23. I have been waiting for you to write about this! I feel the same way. I have a baby daughter and I have a few hopes: that technology will lose its appeal as the supply continues to soar and hopefully outpace its demand; and that I will be able to compel my children to enjoy the real, tangible world outside of technology even if that means it's more work on me. I also am working on my own addiction to the screen. My one rule I'm working with right now is "Baby sees a screen only every other day. And when we do, it's less than 10 minutes of farm animals on YouTube because she loves them." :) She's 18-months. Who knows what the world will be like when she's 13!

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  24. Wow, couldn't agree with you more!! I just read this entire thing to my husband (as he's trying to study, poor guy ;)) & we aree 100℅. Thank you, Sarah, for being such a confirming voice for good, healthy parenting. You are appreciated & admired :)

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  25. Our school district got a grant to provide an I-Pad for every child K-8. Our 3rd grader has I-Pad time every day at school. We have to provide the head phones, and we've already purchased 4 sets this school year. The last time they broke at school, I wasn't aware until I saw his loss of point for 'unprepared' on the teacher's website. With parent permission, they are allowed to bring I-Pad home. There are games to help them learn, but there are others that are just games. We are responsible for these I-Pads; there is a purchasable insurance plan to cover them, but this is optional. I have lots of feelings about the technology requirements in elementary school. I value your words.

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  26. Thank you.
    I am so grateful that you did not quit blogging totally but managed to find this new form. I have been a reader for years and your authenticity and the way you describe the struggles practicing what you preach have been a great support to me raising our sons. Here, again, you are making an important point that really hits home. I noticed during the Christmas days that I was not content with the way my phone pulled me away. A number of friends (adults!) were having an argument and it was really hard to let that be and not grab the phone all the time (behind the kitchen cupboard doors). I have to take action, for my children as well.

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  27. I pipe up from time to time to say THANK YOU so you keep journaling and sharing with us. I see from the numerous comments here that I'm not the only one! It is awesome! I really appreciate your level headed, family focused guidance in a world just as you described here. Please please continue to use the internet in this very positive way. My kids attend a "classical" school, one of the Great Hearts Academies here in Arizona (charter), and they strive to have as little tech as possible. In fact, the only reason they've even bothered with a computer lab is to be able to take the standardized tests which are now electronic in our state. I'm so very grateful to live where my kids have access to this kind of education, and I hope it catches on. So far they've expanded into Texas. :) www.greatheartsamerica.org

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  28. Thank you for sharing this video. I loved it! Good things to think about for sure.

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  29. This is so great. Thank you for the encouragement to keep on saying no. I know we won't regret it since our kids will have to grapple with technology for at least 50 years even if we don't get them a phone until they're 18! :)

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  30. Sara, my sentiments exactly! I am 42, with 6 and 10 year old girls. We are a little extreme at our house. No cell phones. My husband and I get teased about that (by adults, not our kids). But our kids do complain at times. Then we remind them that when they want to tell us something really important, we don't get interrupted by a phone call, or distracted by technology. We also tell them that because we don't have a monthly cell phone bill, we have the flexibility to spend a little more here or there on something they might want. Our goal has ben to be "present" in their lives. And while they are little, it has been easy. We know we will likely get family cell phones when they start to go out with friend without us, but we have a little time. We also don't turn on the TV except on occasion. I am proud that my girls don't really ever ask to watch TV, that they love to play with dirt and leaves and make "creations" in nature, that I see their imaginations working all the time, that I have never heard, "I'm bored", and that they love to read. Truthfully, I had more exposure to TV as a child than they do. I read the book, The Big Disconnect, a few years ago. It discusses how technology alters and impacts the human brain at every stage of growth and development. It is sad, and eye-opening. It definitely had a big impact on me! Here is the link in case you are interested. https://www.amazon.com/dp/B009NF6GT2/ref=dp-kindle-redirect?_encoding=UTF8&btkr=1 One thing that really stuck with me from the book, was that if a mom is nursing her infant, and is on her phone while doing that, the baby looks to the mom for social cues and interaction and gets a blank stare. The author likened that blank stare (that we have when we are on technology) to the blank stare of a depressed parent. The baby gets the message that he/she is not important. The mother isn't interacting with the baby at all. That being said, before I realized this, I would at times look at my computer screen while nursing. I didn't realize. Technology is so distracting! And there is so much we didn't know and still don't know. But we do know enough now to start doing something about it. I am also an elementary school teacher and have seen what kids "need" both in and out of school in terms of technology. I have had students in therapy because of their addiction to Mine Craft. An 8-year-old discussed this with me over the course of a year. It was so hard for her. She would sit in school, and couldn't concentrate because she couldn't stop thinking about Mine Craft. She hated this addiction! It wasn't her fault! She couldn't focus in school because she craved Mine Craft! So sad! I hope that you get some feedback on your questions about when to allow certain aspects of technology- what is safe and at what age? We do need a "rule book". I probably take things too far, but I don't think I'll regret it. I have enough distractions...I don't need more. And I am flexible enough to adjust as my girls get older. But I certainly could use some guidance as well!
    Thanks for sharing this post and the video! I hope this becomes more commonly discussed!

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    1. Aimmie-
      I ordered the book from the library-right below the book list was a book I have read called "Glow Kids" which is extremely eye-opening to something you referenced-the amount of kids receiving therapy for addictions-LITTLE kids and teens too. And we are talking scary stuff-kids totally disconnected from reality for days in trances etc. This is real although it sounds like science fiction! I talked to a therapist friend who says she treats kids/teens all the time for not only tech addictions but for anxiety etc, caused by teens using social media too much etc. and it's heartbreaking.
      I don't think for one second you take things too far-I think you are doing it the right way, and wish I could go back and change things, and I am considered I am sure an overly strict parent when it comes to tech and TV. It's funny how quickly this has changed too-I see it from my youngest and oldest-no one had smart phones in 8th grade when my oldest was that age-but they did have dumb phones (and there were a few hold outs like us who said no to that also.)
      I am ALL for the "dumb phone" as long as you can get away with it (and yes they are still available and maybe it's not the best deal but who cares!!!), or really really careful use of the smart phone AFTER junior high (with parental controls and NO privacy allowed-meaning it is checked by parents and they have the ability to see everything-there are many avenues to accomplish this today.) I think sharing a family phone(s) sounds wonderful when they start becoming more independent, or driving.

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  31. It's not only millennials of course, but anyone who has any sort of device. I take my kids to their church choir practice, and most of the parents are out in the hall on their smart phones clicking away, scrolling, and not talking to each other. And - the saddest part is- Adoration is happening right through the door next to them. The best thing- as the speaker says in the video- is to keep the phones etc. out of sight when not needed.

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  32. As a parent and a teacher (for close to 30 years) I am horrified by the use of technology and how it is taking over our lives. Schools are pushing it more than ever, and at younger ages and all I can say is "What is the research in ten years going to show about how we have destroyed our kids brains with all of these environmental toxins that are destroying our minds and our attention and our creativity?" Kids are coming into our classroom with more needs than ever, especially in the areas of attention, focussing, and autism, not to mention a huge lack of communication and social skills. The expectation is that they have their own computer for school use here by grade six! Kudos to you for standing your ground on this and being such a huge advocate of limited technology! We need your voice more than ever!

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  33. Thank you for your words! I often point young mother's to your blog for common sense on parenting. It encourages me to hear your words and helps fortify me against the battle!

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  34. A new generation of Smart phones was born. The mobile phones are designed with latest technology which has turned as pocket PC. samsung galaxy s8 edge case uk

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