_A_ device free dinner? Why aren't all of them? These weird little "small gestures" make me feel like people have lost control of their homes.
We have a landline expressly to give out to emergency contacts. And dinner is tech free. Every night.
I think the main problem is tech has made everything _else_ easier, but parenting harder, and parents just aren't prepared to fight the battles / put in the work. A parent who is staring at Instagram when they're at the park shouldn't be surprised that their kids wants screens, too.
I've noticed that others are a lot less likely to pull out their phones and stare while at the table if I don't do it myself. There's just something kinda sad to me when I see couples at a niceish restaurant and neither person is talking and both are looking at Facebook or Twitter and there's still food on their plates. I know you can't extrapolate that to a person's entire relationship, but it just seems kinda... unfortunate I guess.
It wasn't a big deal to politely point it out and in time it almost never happened, or she would at least excuse herself to handle something quickly.
I think there can be a balance. After seven years, we will sometimes go out to eat and not really have much to say. Sometimes we'll sit in silence and watch the world around us or simply enjoy our meals and quiet company. Sometimes we'll eavesdrop on our neighbors.
Sometimes we'll whip our our phones and read whatever it is we read, even showing each other what we see... "Did you see so-and-so's new dog? What a cutie! Here, look" or "Take a look next time you're on Instagram". This might spark conversation about said dog, or our cat, or our workdays, or some other completely unrelated subject, or it may continue in silence.
And then there are plenty of other times when neither of us can shut up for hours, carrying on, barely eating, and forgetting we even have phones.
Our devices can obviously be unhealthy, especially the more addictive parts. But I think they can also be a healthy portion of our lives and relationships, provided our interactions are managed.
We don't have kids yet, but I definitely think it will be an interesting challenge to help them find that right balance.
† At our wedding, I urged my wife against writing her vows on her phone so she wouldn't end up swiping to buzzfeed in the middle of it.
The complexity is when people regard a lack of smalltalk as a chilly isolation. I personally have been called stuck-up because I didn't engage in smalltalk at school. Some cultures are more oriented to this than others.
I always like that Pulp Fiction line: "That's when you know you've found somebody special. When you can just shut the fuck up for a minute and comfortably enjoy the silence."
I don't think a moment of silence is any excuse to pull out the cellphone. In fact, I think this highlights part of the problem we have with cellphones. We expect constant entertainment, action, and info. It's really rare anymore to just sit for a minute and do nothing -- and it could be that doing nothing is pretty important.
I'm the kind of guy in a coffee shop, waiting room, etc. who just stares into space glad that I owe my thoughts to myself and not my phone. But when everyone else has their phones out except for me, people probably think I'm a weirdo.
And it's not just phones, mind you. It's televisions, also. I used to go to a nice, quiet, and remote barbershop. Affordable haircuts and no noise. What's not to love? As soon as he started attracting more customers, boom: television in the waiting room. Gotta keep people constantly distracted I guess :\
I saw a guy today in a coffee shop. He had no smartphone, tablet or laptop. He just sat there drinking his coffee. Like a psychopath. (https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/-5j54a0AOYfg/VqbpdyKMA8I/A...)
Why is it sad? I think it's fantastic. It's the elimination of boredom and the ability to be interested, productive or entertained at any moment. It's not like anyone is forcing you to look at your phone. I'm quite capable of putting my phone away and staring into space if the mood takes me. Your communal TV example is rather more intrusive by comparison.
At the end of the day, though, I think the greatest thing that gets to me is its impulsiveness and form of instant gratification.
It's gotten so bad that people can't even put their phones down while driving. I've seen enough drivers texting, even if they are just stopped at a red light. Why we permit people to continue driving when they can't respect the notion of operating a several-thousand pound, gasoline-filled vehicle that can kill dozens of those around them is beyond me.
On a less extreme spectrum, sometimes when eating dinner with friends a question will be posed and someone will whip out their phone to look it up. Sure, having answers instantaneously is a benefit, but the drawback is also the loss in ability to take a moment to ponder the question... to come up with your one's own thoughts and exercise the mind, so to speak.
I feel like the world transformed so quickly.
certainly some would
>Or does the presence of cellphones reveal that a large number of people were never particularly interested in engaging meaningfully with others but would only feign interest when the alibi of the cellphone isn't available?
I think that people are addicted or at least oblivious at how attached to their phones they are. And they see plenty of other people engaging in the same behavior, which makes it a social norm and validates that behavior. Everyone does it, so it's OK.
Although I can't help but chuckle, because the same sorts of people who wanted to look down on me back in the day for spending hours in front of a computer, building a website, learning how to program, or playing games, are glued to their phones nearly every second they can manage to find. When it came time to practice the sort of etiquette that they preached, they failed miserably.
I would add a followup to that. Would this also mean that more people are together now that otherwise wouldn't, without that crutch?
Not sure I want anything said with that, but I couldn't help but draw the conclusion.
When there is a need to look at your phone (Important message, a call, or even to look up something), I think the polite thing is to excuse yourself, do the thing really quickly, and get back to your meal.
In my world it is though.
> Is it not rude to start reading a book while you are having a lunch with someone? Why is the phone any different?
Does this happen in other languages, too? As often?
And then the guy replied that I misunderstood. I was like: " impossible, I double-triple-quadruple-checked and quoted the relevant part". And then, blast! I saw that I got lost in the position of the negative part (it wasn't even a very complex case where negations are chained, as it happens sometimes). Worst thing is that the way I understood it, it didn't have much grammatical sense, whereas the real sentence was correct.
And the fact that I had quoted the sentence proved that he hadn't edited in between. Else I would certainly have blamed him for that: I was so sure of my cautious multiple checks...
I was ashamed of myself.
(I had troubles with "is it"/"it is" in the present case too, I had to re-read the sentence 3 times to be sure. What confuses me in English is not really the grammar, it is the abundance of very short words, they scramble the structure of the sentence, for they are less recognizable and distinguishable from each other.)
Personally, I would rarely bother with anything other than random social chit chat in a place as public as a restaurant. More involved conversations take place somewhere else more private. But why would I do random social chit chat with my spouse? It's the kind of stuff reserved for strangers and casual acquaintances.
Otherwise, why bother with the logistics of getting people all in the same place at the same time?
I would only agree that engagement is irrelevant when leaving the table with one's food is acceptable. Otherwise there's the implication that you're there for some purpose, other than getting yourself some nutrition.
It's hardly a logistical problem to get two people who live together (and therefore already have largely intertwined schedules) to a restaurant.
And the reason is fairly obvious: to enjoy the food.
When I first played with smartphone, it was before most people had phones with Internet (it was pre-iPhone). Someone commented on how I was on the phone all the time and the lesson stuck with me ever since. Now I don't do that to people.
If are going to discuss how to instill values in our children regarding smartphones, we need to look at ourselves first.
"I'm a little bit better than that person because I can take an elevator ride without looking at my phone"
"Our relationship is better than theirs because we can get through dinner without looking at our phones"
On and on it goes... it's comforting, isn't it?
Not intended as a judgement, just an observation.
Is that like a Bay Area thing? Sounds really terrible to me (I live in Europe)
Nobody would say s(he) is a bad driver, but so many people complain about the driving of other people.
Right now I'm working from a restaurant and would say 1/4 of the people are looking at a phone (give or take, didn't count!)
For realsies though: it's all about the connectivity of the area you are in combined with local social norms. Sweden, Denmark, and Finland are filled with phones, 4G connections, and quiet dining tables as people read the news.
I like the potentiality of being able to log into it with the Browser, but giving myself just enough resistance to not go through with it. I feel like it gives me more power to my decisions.
Also, I have lots of good friends and family who user Messenger frequently and I'd hate to miss their messages on that.
Also, related, I've removed notifications from nearly all my apps. That's nearly the same effect as removing the app altogether from my phone.
It's important to remember this fact. Too many people judge others based on their own ideologies. It's their life; not your own. I'm just as guilty as everyone else to judge, but I'm working on it.
What's important to me is that there is sufficient device free time whether over a meal or otherwise. Then it's fine if some meals aren't amongst those times.
But eating out at anything above a fast food place certainly are amongst the device-free times... And often fast food meals are too.
Or are you describing a first and last date situation?
Your mortgage might be more expensive than it should be because of your facebook account.
If the cost of your home increases by $10,000 in extra interest over the lifespan of the mortgage due to things your friends post on your facebook wall and you use facebook for 80 years of your life, will you still be happy with your $125 per year facebook subscription?
Don't get caught up in conspiracy theories. Facebook is actually really constrained in how much "evil" stuff they can do without you knowing.
That's not up to you, credit score systems based on your social media profile examine your friends as much as they do you. Job prospects are also affected by how your friends post and present on facebook: http://theundercoverrecruiter.com/facebook-friends-matter/
Remember: How your friends express themselves affects your financial future, so work hard to keep them in line citizen!
Why should all dinners be distraction free? I understand dinner is a social event for many cultures/families, but not every person wants this nor am I convinced it must be this way. I'm efficient with my eating and when the family wants to socialize we play Catan or sit around the couch and talk. Besides that, when the dinner conversation reaches an impasse, Alexa has occasionally been helpful in resolving it.
It's fine if people enjoy socializing over dinner, but let's not arbitrarily assume it's morally superior. Nor should we mistakenly compare it to our own childhoods, when devices weren't as ubiquitous. We should question old habits/traditions especially when the environment has changed.
 I'm subbing in "distraction" for "device", my kids have brought non-powered distractions to the table before.
But there is a reason many people like to use dinner as a mandatory point of family social contact: it keeps you on a daily schedule. You can multitask: listening to stories while you chew. And it provides some resilience to changes.
Like marriage, there is some value to committing to something like this "in sickness and in health". It's nice that you all want to play Catan now, but what happens when your teenager decides they don't like games anymore? Or what happens if your spouse isn't loving your approach to competition these days? Or if someone just doesn't feel like socializing? Everyone needs to eat, so in that way it's resilient to these shifting winds. If nothing else, you can sit and chew and listen to your family's voices.
So I'm not disagreeing with you: there are other ways to achieve the same ends that might be more efficient or more comfortable for your family. But there are also good reasons to sacrifice a little of that in order to fix a ritual that can pay off in unpredictable ways.
This is a good point. I remember my mom getting mad when I'd bring a book to the table (c. 1995). If it's not a phone, it's something else.
Of course, the image of the paterfamilias at the breakfast table with his nose in the newspaper, ignoring his family, was a constant in the 19th and 20th centuries.
Sure, fine. I was mostly critiquing the notion that a "distraction" free dinner was an event that needed to be planned, as opposed to something approaching a default.
A distraction is not the same as a device. A screen's distraction area is just the one person using it. A general distraction can be shared by everyone at the table, making it a social thing again.
That would explain why people who value the social aspect of dinners hate screens.
I strongly agree. I'm always surprised how much resistance to this idea I encounter, though.
Whether they'll make your family happier or "more perfect " according to someone elses yardstick is irrelevant. You set the boundaries, and live with the environment that they create. So set the ones that make you happier and stick with them. They may be just what your parents did, or they may be the opposite.
Well, one reason is mindfulness: being present to really just eating.
Why mischaracterise as an arbitrary moral thing to latch on to the current zeitgeist and make it seem somehow worse? It's a bit like saying getting kids to eat less junk food is an arbitrary moral imposition. Adds nothing.
90% of what 90% of people say just doesn't matter. So it doesn't matter if they're staring at their phones instead of talking about their weekend plans or their cousin's weddings, or any other tidbit of nothing that occupies their public vocalizations.
The problem is the companies that shape their services provided through the phone to be optimized towards abusing well-documented behavioral characteristics of 'average people'.
But then, when I was in college, I'd read paperbacks while riding a bike to class.
Twitter sound bites have slowly weakened my attention span for more long form articles.
You can easily see this by looking at what sites are popular (Buzzfeed) and which are struggling to stay alive (rip Grantland)
Digital devices on the other hand push their own agenda - driving engagement, registering ad impressions, and are designed to keep you hooked and coming back - because that's what's profitable.
Being in control (with passive reading material) vs not being in control (with digital devices, unless you're extraordinarily focussed) is the point of contention, at least the way I see it.
> "[...] [the written word] will create forgetfulness in the learners' souls, because they will not use their memories; they will trust to the external written characters and not remember of themselves." - Socrates
That's because you're not old enough. Some people did complain. (I can't find the actual quote, but I'll wager you've seen the photo that usually accompanies it - a train full of people reading the newspaper.)
You're definitely not old enough to remember Socrates bitching about kids learning to read and write.
And I suppose you're lucky enough that your parents didn't complain about you reading books, like some of my friends' did.
There has never been an era where parents failed to find fault in young people's behavior.
A device-free social event makes as much sense to me as having an equipment-free sporting event. Imagine playing baseball without bats, balls, or gloves. Imagine soccer without balls or goals.
The family dinner with meaningful conversation is a cultural construct that is yanked directly from a Normal Rockwell cover on the Saturday Evening Post--a myth of Americana. There is nothing inherently good or virtuous about it. It's fine if that's what your family does, but it's also fine if your family plays poker for chore chits, or if it eats in perfect silence, with no one acknowledging anyone else for the entire duration.
With devices, once my kids are moved out of my house, I will still be able to have conversations with them during dinner, or at any other time of the day. And those conversations will include images with lame pun captions.
"I pretend I'm one of those hikikomori. That way I don't have to have any goddamn stupid useless voice conversations with anybody. If anybody wants to tell me something, they can write it in a text or direct message. They never get bored with their phones, and so I'd get to have asynchronous conversations with proper sentence structure, punctuation, and grammar for the rest of my life. Everybody thinks I'm just a poor hermit bastard, dependent on technology, and no one even cares." --Holden Logfromblammofield
They do inhibit it.
I think it's funny that we live in this amazing world of sights, smells, movement, filled with other animals and humans with all sorts of physical and social activities to choose from, but instead we choose to take the blue pill so we can look at a tiny glass square displaying mostly advertising and trivialities, with a horrible user interface.
The only explanation I can think of is that phones are addictive. Smartphones set up a reward system that displaces more enjoyable and useful behaviours.
It's like we've become those people tethered to slot machines at a casino continuously swiping at these devices. They don't even 'pay out' most of the time. It's sad.
I'd prefer to just be a human, thanks.
Most of the time, in the US, a "normal" conversation consists of one or more people employing impolite tactics such as interruption, overtalking, and non sequitur to crowd me out of the conversation entirely. In short, most people have no interest in what I have to say, but somehow expect me to listen to them anyway.
While on a device, I can at least finish my paragraph without being interrupted. It doesn't matter so much if no one bothers to read it, so long as I am not prevented from saying it in the first place, which is the modal situation for a synchronous voice conversation. I eagerly anticipate a world where it is no longer possible to take one look at me and dismissively decide that I am not worthy to add to a conversation. Unattractive and unpopular people can have interesting ideas, too.
Sometimes I'm the schlemiel, but mostly I'm the schlimazel. I'm the type of person that gets insulted out in public, for no particular reason, and no one bothers to call out the bad behavior. Because I guess that person is just cooler than I am, and that's the way of the world. If you want to run with a casino metaphor, imagine a slot machine that not only never pays out, but also punches you in the face every time you push the play button. That's me whenever I step out of my bubble. That little black rectangle doesn't make the slot machine actually pay out, but it does stop me from getting punched in the face, which is nice, comparatively speaking.
Regular humans can be pretty awful. I try not to be bitter about it, but it's difficult whenever people declaim how great and fun their life is, because it just reinforces that the terrible people are often selectively rude--to me, specifically--and not uniformly horrible to everyone.
Don't let people get you down.
You need bats, balls and gloves to play baseball. You don't need devices for social events. Social events by definition are about interacting with other event attendees. Devices often - in fact almost always - detract from that.
A bad analogy is like an equipment-free sporting event: it has no objectively measurable goals.
She just keeps the TV on at all times.
Watching a show on Netflix on her tablet? TV on.
Takes a shower and is in the bathroom for 30-45 minutes? TV on.
Leaves the house and someone is there, though not watching TV? Let's TV on. I have to shut it down myself.
I have absolutely no idea how she picked up that habit. No one in the (immediate) family does it.
The same is true with social media and internet addictions, although there's also the dopamine kick to contend with, which makes them a bit different.
Practicing meditation, general mindfulness and taking long (more than a week) holidays without internet or even electricity helps me a lot to avoid getting addicted to distractions.
I often see kids as young as 2 or 3 with iPhones in their hands while being pushed in their stroller on a walk, or at a restaurant at dinner.
We allow our 3 year old boy a small amount of screen time each day, as he spends the whole day (9-6) at day care and it helps him unwind a bit to watch Sesame Street, and gives us a chance to prepare dinner uninterrupted. But it's always under our control, we do not hand him the remote or device. Nor do we use it when we go out to eat.
I hate these environments too. I have yet to meet someone who is glued to some screen or watches tons of TV and would still attract me enough (in a purely intellectual way) to make me want to know them more, and try and pursue a relationship with them/have engaging conversations.
Doing the same task most of the time doesn't bring the best out of people (realistically, if you look at your phone during family dinners, when do you give yourself enough time to do something else without distraction ? can anything meaningful happen when you're sucked out of your own life constantly ?). Yes, you can read on your phone, yet people will more likely show you cat gifs and not interesting articles.
We used to let the kids watch an iPad in the car and there was always fighting because everyone wanted to watch different shows. So we took the iPad out of the car and now the kids only have books to read in the car. Since we did that car rides have been so much better.
> "Do they not get car sick from reading books while driving?"
> "Do they get car sick from reading books while driving?"
If so, what is it? Why would a person choose one over the other?
I hope this is coming across as useful. How communication is understood on the web is interesting to me, and understanding how to communicate effectively means also learning how we come across and how that squares with what we intend, and I fear I may not be doing a good job here. Without a response from the people who actually down voted, all we can do is try to look at how people might interpret what was written.
It's pretty clear that Fogest was asking if the kids get carsick and there was no implication that anyone was lying.
In my experience, questions posed as 'Fogest did ("Do they not get car sick...?") or you did ("Is English not your first language?") carry with them additional information. The neutral, default versions of these are "Do they get carsick?" and "Is English your first language?"
To me, 'Fogest's comment reads differently with only that change:
> Do they get car sick from reading books while driving? I remember as a kid on long car trips I would try and read but I'd always feel sick from it, however I was fine watching movies on a portable DVD player.
Another example is your choosing to interpret "not wholly accurate" as an "implication that [someone] was lying". If I'm misunderstanding where you got that, please do let me know, as it's not my intent to misrepresent you. What I meant by that was the implication that 'soccerdave had left out relevant information, that their kids get sick when they read in the car. As you read it as you did, is it my fault for how I phrased it? Yours for how you interpreted it? I certainly didn't use the word "lying" and "not wholly accurate" is not equivalent to "lying" Both of ours?
I'm purposefully not answering your question whether English is my first language as it's mostly irrelevant. There are people who are able to express themselves in written form in a foreign tongue much better than the vast majority of native speakers (Vladimir Nabokov and Joseph Conrad come to mind), and plenty of native speakers who aren't aware of how they come across or take particular care when they write. And English in one area is not the same as English in others. (Water fountain or bubbler? Soda? Pop? Coke?)
This is getting very far off from the original comment. I often hesitate to chime in when someone comments some variant of "I don't know why you were down voted". I think it's useful to explore possible reasons as it provides an opportunity to look at how we may come across, particularly to those who disagree with us. That said, it's a difficult place to comment because it's almost by definition a place where there's at best a misunderstanding and at worst trolling or otherwise uncharitable interpretations occurring.
Whether or not someone cares about this is another thing. People may not think that it's worth taking the time to think about or that people should always interpret what's being written in the best light possible. For constructive conversation I think this is crucial. At the same time, I think it's important to understand and take into account the context of where it's being said when commenting on an internet forum stripped of every nuance except the words themselves (perhaps tempered by the reputation of the commenter). Regardless of whether they should, not everyone is going interpret comments in a neutral way, giving the commenter the benefit of the doubt. If I want to be be effective and constructive (and avoid down votes, as that's often used as a proxy for effective and constructive), I think I should take these into account and take care in how I express myself in comments. (Thinking about it, one could posit it's an application of Postel's law to human communication.)
This is the last I'm going to comment on this here, as I don't think I've added anything that wasn't already in the thread, and it's not clear to me that your comment was made in the interest of honest, constructive conversation and giving me the benefit of the doubt.
From 9 to 12, just have fun together.
From 13 to 25, just keep them alive.
How are you doing this? I have been for a solution to this for the last few months but nothing really came up. TIA.
I am someone who grew up to hate notifications: my phone is on silent; and when I am present with you having an actual meal, you have my 100% attention in a way no one else I know does anymore. I say this to make it clear that I didn't grow up to dislike social dinners: if anything, I grew up to love them as they were never forced on me.
So the calls you get on that line are 98% telemarketers?
As a technologist who is in their early career, I love this sentiment. Too often do I see people blaming younger generations for an addiction to screens. The reality exists that parenting with the intention for balance will be what ultimate keeps children away from screens not blaming the industry as a whole.
Also for the longest time we weren't allowed to watch TV, however in later years of my childhood this rule was relaxed. Of course it was never in the room we ate in, that would be terrible although I know many families are in front of the TV).
And if not, it's a good place to start.
Irresponsibility with tech is a new danger that we have to teach our kids about.
* Begin paste *
The common factor in all these time-sinks is not the phone, but it's the internet. I have a smartphone and although I could definitely live without it, the only thing I've done is disable data. Rather, I'm too cheap to pay for data. What difference does that make, you ask?
One, on messaging, people would use text to contact me or each other if they notice that WhatsApp/Talk message hasn't reached for a couple of minutes. And a call is very helpful to transmit high density info in short time.
Two, I can still use my very nice phone with a large screen to watch videos, read ebooks on the go like if I'm in a bus or something. The difference here is that these things are not infinity-sinks in my experience - I can go 1 hour or so reading a book on a cellphone but then need to take a break which is when you look up and around. Also, subconsciously, the permanence of the book/video prioritizes real world interrupts (in an embedded programming context) rather than blocking them.
Then, you always have music that you can copy to the phone and listen to if you don't want to put your face to the screen. This enables you to move your head around everywhere and still not be all that bored because you still have that music going on.
If I absolutely want, which is almost never, I play games but I find that mobile games are not something that I like so it never comes up at all.
But a lot of time, I've just noticed myself looking around, just absorbing the world around me and being in my own thoughts rather than a forced stimulus and I find that relaxing unless I'm stuck in a very noisy environment in which case the earphone doubles up as a noise blocker.
And the general trend I've heard here is that you need to be on email. But work already has wifi and if you're at work your computer is right in front of you. Secondly, aren't you making a big mistake by configuring work email on your phone?
Maybe I'm the second coming of RMS but I do not install Facebook and Twitter apps on my phone for privacy reasons. Checking at most once everyday seems to be enough for me but I know that's not the case with everyone. It seems a lot of plans are made over fb for you guys, which is understandable - we use hangouts and whatsapp over here, but primarily whatsapp. But more importantly, for immediate plans we generally use SMS and phone calls which might be why we're not as reliant on facebook. FB is considered more of a public 'show-off' billboard than a private friend group.
So yeah, maybe this was worthy of its own blog-post but my gist here is that turning off the data does wonders. You still get to retain those handy unit converters, two factor authenticators, password wallets and other things that are yours without the Skinner box annoyances of the infinity-sinks.
Of course, before someone rants "You don't know how important it is to have internet on my phone", I'd say you're obviously right. However, maybe after reading my post, you realize that it isn't all that important then kudos to you. You should atleast try it once before knocking it right? A lot of times we think "It's impossible to get through without X" but humans are surprisingly adaptive and can cope without X just fine.
I'm just sharing my experience, hoping that it's useful to you.
* End paste
Fairly judgemental on how people should live their lives no?
The parent comment is explicitly talking about how they "feel" about people using their phones and then continues to explain their situation. It is not forcing it's opinion on anyone and not ruling out other ways to handle phone usage.
I'm not sure how the comment should have presented the opinion in a different way so that it wouldn't be "judgemental" but I'd be interested in your viewpoint.
They certainly didn't do themselves any favors when they built their house.
I'm curious -- what was she managing? Did she excel in her role?
In my opinion, the best thing you can do with kids is create boredom. If they have access to a shop, or some lumber, they will start to build stuff. If kids are bored and they turn that into building, that's the first step towards getting into a good undergrad school. Building stuff is good.
The hard part, as parents, is creating that boredom. It's so easy to give them the video game babysitter. I haven't done well at that. I wish I had some magic statement that made that part easy but that part is super
The other thing I'd say about kids, and I hate this, really hate this, is private school. It's better. My kids went and were on track to go to Los Gatos High School which is a pretty decent school. For various reasons we found kirby.org and both of my kids go there and it's a shit ton better. I hate private schools, I think kids should experience the full range of people, not just the rich kids that get into private schools, but wow, the private school was so much better. So much better. Hugely better. My younger son who hates that school, it's a nerd school and he's a jock, came to me and said "yeah, I want to go there, it's better than Los Gatos". My older kid is applying to schools and he has a shot at the ivys, that's all the private school.
I'm ashamed to admit that I like private schools, but wow, have they been good for my kids.
One thing my father did for me was to install a small workshop (in our 2-bedroom apartment with 5 persons living, I'll let you imagine the reaction of my mother, but we held strong), equip it with various tools, subscribe me to a DYI magazine, and teaching me some first gestures, to make sure I am reasonably safe being alone (I was 7 at the time). Later, I have never heard a "no" from him when asking to buy this or that new tool.
That was a very unusual thing in that place and time of overcrowded small apartments and low resources. When my schoolmates saw that, some of them started to do the same, and their parents gave in, I was good at school so an example to follow ;-)
-- try to observe him and determine what his interests are, at least on a very high level. Is he attracted by mechanisms? electronics? architecture? sewing? something else? In my case, it was easy, I started to break toys since I started having them, my parents reprimanded me until they noticed that I don't actually break them but dismount properly. (For that, obviously the toys had to be of the kind allowing that, not all in one piece.)
-- the workshop doesn't have to be big, but
a) it should allow instant access to any tool of the collection, any time. Storing them in a locked box hidden away and taking out for the occasion won't work.
b) you need to have a full set of tools allowing to start and complete a simple operation (and safely at that), i.e., to be able to saw the piece, it needs to be firmly attached, etc. To control the investment, optimize on the number and type of of operations -- think of making something very simple, make sure the child shares your interests, and equip for that, but from as to z. (To illustrate -- a bird's house requires a saw, a hammer and couple of nails, but make sure the child cares about birds getting it.)
c) tools don't have to be expensive and complicated, but they need to be above junk quality. If you yourself have the experience, you should be able to determine the required minimum. If not, ask a friend who has. Some of them simply cannot be of "kid version" (drills, for example), don't buy that. In my case, it was the time when tools were inherited from father to son, and none of them were electrical, but all of them were good, I just had to learn to use them -- at the beginning, this will test the kid's patience, so dose carefully. (At the same time, this is where the bulk of the skill development lies, and the age is right too, so...)
d) try to teach your kid to clean up the mess after they finished for the day, but don't set out with high expectations ... sometimes, they will be just too tired after having fully invested themselves in the process fro several hours.
e) help him to always reach the end of each project, not just drop it because they lost interest. But do not insist. This is the hardest, much harder than d).
Nothing to be ashamed about. You want the best for your children and private schools get more money.
The problem is not that private schools are better, but that public schools are so much worse. The people feeling shame should be the politicians who have worked and continue to work to dismantle the public education system (in large part motivated by religious fundamentalists seeking to replace public education with voucher-based religious schools), and the people that vote for them.
This can't possibly be the reason. Otherwise the bay area would have the best schools in the nation because religion here is borderline illegal.
This is preposterous.
Public schools have been neutered by deep budget cuts by politicians of all parties who, along with their boosters, can afford to send their children to private schools. School budgets rely heavily on taxes (which politicians cut for political gain), state/federal grants, and programs like state lotteries.
The wealthy alumni of private schools, denomination be damned, bankroll candidates and in return the politicians push programs to force kids out of public school. They also fill the curriculum with inferior text books based on handshake agreements with publishers and drop standards to maximize the number of "successes".
TL;DR - adults fail to value the education system, watching those who can afford it send their kids to private schools, so people want more money in their pocket (less taxes) to pay for private school or demand "options" - like vouchers.
There is overwhelming evidence that this is exactly what the current United States Secretary of Education DeVos' motivations are:
It's just not true.
Higher income families can afford to take more time off, especially salaried workers, and are often two-parent households. This gives those parents time that hourly-based workers, poor, or single-parent households literally can not afford to spare.
They don't love or "value" their children's education any less, but they are in a situation where being as involved as those more fortunate than them is so much more difficult.
Malcolm Gladwell has written about this - https://www.amazon.com/Outliers-Kimberly-McCreight/dp/006235...
One obvious reason is that, relative to cost-of-living, the per-student funding is incredibly low in costal Revenue Limit districts (this distinction applies to 95% of districts statewide, but only ~65% bay area).
This makes it hard to retain teachers. It is made even worse off by the fact that the wealthy school districts tend to be so small. Where I live, there is a school district with ~15 K-6 schools in it that is funded as a Revenue limit district. Less than a mile away from there are two separate districts each with only one elementary school each, and no secondary schools. Both of those schools, of course, are Basic Aid; one has per-student funding of double the larger district and the other has per-student funding of more than triple.
This doesn't explain all of it, of course. California has had to deal with more ESL students, for longer, than most other states and those students are very uneavenly distributed as well (Aforementioned school district with 15 schools has only one neighborhood school with less than 80% either hispanic or non-hispanic).
1: In california there are two ways that schools are funded. The state has a limit of around $6k per student that it will guarantee each district gets, if the property taxes cannot cover that amount. This does not include Federal funding, or state funding that is earmarked for specific purposes, so districts budgets are a bit higher than the $6k.
If school district has revenue in excess if the ~$6k limit they only get the special-purpose state funding, but can keep the excess. Thus small wealthy neighborhoods have a strong incentive to have as small a school district as possible, to increase the per-student funding there.
I would love to go through all this and reply, there are a lot of thoughtful comments here, some I agree with and some I don't. I'll try and get to them on Sunday, I know that's an eternity in internet time, it is what it is.
I love that this has generated a discussion, in the US we are so screwed because you can't talk about anything without in devolving into my team versus your team. We are so stupid. We should discuss stuff. As in look at a thing, see what is good, see what is bad, be engineers and make it more good. In the US right now, that is simply not a thing. We suck.
On the plus side, I'm making close to as much as I made as a successful CEO doing tractor work. Who knew that was a thing? It's hard work but I'm liking it.
As a kid I was constantly bored, this strategy was deeply ineffective on me. I did grow into it as an adult, but it took a long time.
In short, YMMV.
Kids are complicated and non-deterministic.
Delayed reward can be taught and boredom is far from a good teacher.
...the interviewer, apparently, asks young people (age 18 to 22 years old) the following: whether men with the (device hidden) are human or not; whether they are losing contact with reality; whether the relation between eyes and ears is changing radically, whether they are psychotic or schizophrenic; whether they are worried about the fate of humanity."
Can you guess the device? It's the Sony Walkman, and the time is the 1980s.
The arguments aren't new or novel. Hosoda was saying similar in the 1980s, and the Walkman just as easily isolated people in the 1980s as phones do now. yet somehow humanity survived.
Remember pagers? They were the device of choice in the 1990s for kids, and they were pilloried just as bad, and even linked to drugs. There's a pretty decent history of people panicking morally about new technologies and their dehumanizing effects, and generally people have adapted more or less fine.
And quite frankly, most "real-life" interactions seem to be pretty much the same. Just sitting around with phones talking about things you saw on the [social] Internet.
This is a bit of a sad statement. What about conversation in a group, or debate in a meeting at work, or communicating with your children, or any other kind of relationship? Not everything can be showing each other videos, as YouTube can already recommend better than humans can.
Given how much social life basically migrated to the Internet, there aren't that many happenings without a digital trace.
I mean you can't even discuss politics without talking about Trump's twitter...
Just yesterday grandma was showing me pics my aunt sent her. Pics she found on cousin's Facebook profile.
 We already have political scandals that involve just email dumps, think how cool things are going to get when we get dumps of facebook/slack/whatever convos!
No, we have just moved on to the next device, which ends up absorbing even more time. It's not more of the same, it's an increase at every step.
I don't think that such adaptation is a "done deal". We're very much a work in progress as far as the latest social media stuff goes, meaning from about Facebook onwards. And without being all scaremongery, I really wonder if we _are_ fine.
There seems a growing number of studies and anecdotes to at least give the suggestion that ever heavier immersion in the virtual world correlates broadly with increased dissatisfaction and distress, especially for younger people. There were never any such indications for Walkmen, or pagers, so I do think already it's different.
Let's not chuck all our tech in the bin - but let's be cautious and observant about what's happening around us.
A very convincing and cogent argument can be made to the contrary.
When was the last time you let a child just get bored, so they might entertain themselves with their imagination?
On the other side, when we go out for walks or camping or away from tech, it really doesn't take long for the kids to adjust.
I'm going to assume you haven't seen the steaming piles that are today's kid's shows and apps. There's no way that crap is as mentally stimulating as content from the 90s (or before). It's optimized for addiction.
And I'm not saying to cut it off entirely. I'm just saying the new stuff is universally terrible.
When we were children we had to wait till weekends to watch those special weekend shows. We had to wake up early to watch all of them. Hell we even had to pee or make a snack in the 3 minutes of commercials lest we miss the next segment!
Nowadays you see kids watching all that crap all the time. Morning, noon, and night. Parents justify it as "educational content" or they just want some quiet time. But you have children literally sitting on the shitter for an hour watching an iPhone.
I'm not expert on raising kids and I'm not saying my generation was perfect (far from it!), but that can't be good.
We had shows like X-Men which tackled issues like racism and prejudice, Captain Planet which tackled pollution and environmental stewardship, shows like Gargoyles that introduced mythology and Shakespeare and treated kids like intelligent human beings, Animaniacs which introduced a generation to the Vaudeville tradition of humor, The Magic School Bus which taught children all sorts of facts about the world, etc.
I could honestly go on and on but there was just a ton of great content for kids in the 90s (on network television alone!).
Good content is still being made, the parents just have to choose to consume it!
That type of content has never been more accessible (the PBS kids app is great).
I'm kind of sad that BtAS is not on Netflix, though.
Commercial children's content has been optimized to be an addictive tool to sell toys since well before the 1990s; OTOH, there's plenty of quality content now, too, it's just that, as an adult, you are more likely to seethe difficulty of separating he wheat from the chaff.
Plus, people have been decrying the moral decline of society compared to their own childhood for, based on historical evidence, as far back as we have historical evidence. And it's probably much older.
Youtube at least has some interesting/useful content and lets the creator and the viewer engage each other in various ways.
When I was 10 I watched hours upon hours of television and played NES games until I ran out of content. Now my 10 year old son gets about 2-4 hours of personal screen time each day (depending on the day) and in that time he plays loads of games, watches loads of game-specific videos, and a fair share of pointless videos (e.g. "top ten ugliest dogs", "most satisfying video", etc). Contrast, "top ten ugliest dogs" with say, 1990s Transformers cartoons and you'll probably come back realizing the the ugliest dog video is both more interesting and entertaining.
I don't know about that. At least a bad cartoon is an original creative work. So many YouTube videos are just recycled low-effort garbage. Not that there isn't great content on YouTube, it just seems like their algorithm promotes some pretty bad stuff. If you visit it in an incognito window it looks like the front of a tabloid.
You just have to look for it.
One of the most annoying things is how quickly each generation forgets the past or looks at it uncritically.
For 90s kids there was a lot more exploring and learning involved with computers/technology. Now it's just mindless tapping.
It'd be really cool to setup an old 486 at home for the kids and let them play with the same technology we used as kids. No internet, just stacks of disks, maybe even setup some sort of SSH tunnel to mock dialing up to BBSes.
My siblings have eight kids. I can't speak for how they act everyday, just what I observe during our frequent family gatherings. Here's what happens. The adults hang out and do boring things (OK on a good day, we play cards or board games or sit around a fire!) while the kids run around doing things. Only in the past year or two have electronics really been a part of this at all. The youngest is eight, the oldest 14. They play tag, climb things, play board games, play cards, sit around fires (hmm...) and they don't beg for electronics or even ask for them. I'm sure it's different at times, at home. But I know that most of them didn't have a tablet until maybe two years ago. And my siblings didn't either. Lately, sometimes they play video games or tablet games, but only sometimes.
It's not actually a requirement of life to own and use a tablet. (Or smart phone.) And certainly not a requirement of childhood. Rather than have those things around and in use, the opposite was the norm. They were rare. Eventually the kids get to be 9 or 10 or 11 and say "hey, Everyone owns one, maybe I can have one?" and then they got one, finally, but with some rules in place, and times that it could be taken away, because the parents are making the rules. And it doesn't seem to have become an addiction for them, because it's just one thing added to an already interesting and abundant life.
But I've seen other kids/parents where tablets and TV and phones are central to living and entertainment. And you don't want to be around for the war that erupts when the parent tries to pry the electronic device away from their child. It's a third arm, and it's not going anywhere.
We do adapt to what we're around, how we behave, what's acceptable. If it's "normal" then anything else is change, with all the resistance that comes with it.
It's the parents job to be firm and establish some limits, making sure they are respected.
I think a lot also depends on the content.
And for the kids that aren't destined to live an adolescence of bickering and strife, they will flourish with access to the whole of human knowledge and ability to interact with online communities as an equal, without anyone knowing their age unless they choose to reveal it.
With all due respect, accessing the internet today is nothing like what it was in 1990. It's like comparing apples to oranges. There's a huge difference between accessing a BBS with a modem and pulling an iPhone out your pocket and pulling up Facebook's newsfeed with a couple taps of your finger. These applications are designed to be addictive, and people's unfettered ability to access them anywhere enables their addictions. The physical and technical barriers that limited your access in 1990 are long gone.
Those things like Facebook and such that are designed to be addictive are only addictive to the types of people who find that kind of thing alluring. People who seek social validation whether than evaluating themselves for themselves can not be protected from that tendency. And that is, whether we like it or not, the foundation of modern society. It is an inevitable consequence that such people will spend their lives drowned in neurotic worry. It's not particularly new, and the systems that make engaging in it so easy also make leaving that sort of thinking behind if a person wishes to do so.
Ultimately, though, consider the kid. If the kid is a social butterfly, what effect is withholding tech from them going to have? They're going to be made bitter, probably be significantly sidelined in their social circles - the exact place they derive every ounce of their self worth. It wouldn't exactly be a pretty alternative.
This is obviously wrong (there are plenty of young people who don't fit that description who are addicted to tech--for example the hikikomori  in Japan) and a massive generalization based on your own person experience.
We have no issue connecting with them, or doing family things together, or etc etc etc. If you can't connect with your kids when they have iPhone in hand, you're not going to be able to connect with your kids even if you're a million miles from the nearest wireless cloud.
A lot of discussion around this issue is just tired rehashing of the same complaints every generation over the past 150 years has said about the incoming generation. Some of y'all in here already sound like grandparents, lol.
This seems extreme. The idea generally talked about is "we're not yet sure about the effects of prolonged phone use on development of social skills and mental health, and related impacts on physical development. What's more, we know that adults are finding themselves with hard-to-break negative habits surrounding their phone use. And we know that app companies are A/B testing to the nth degree in an attempt to drive engagement ever higher. So caution is indicated here, even if we don't yet know precisely how much is warranted"
That doesn't seem in the least "preposterous" to me. And your sample size is tiny, and you don't have a control group: who knows what your family dynamic would be like if your kids had boundaries around their usage of devices?
As others have said, this is fundamentally different to the moral panics of the past. Back then, it was "kids are doing X, which I didn't do, and X is therefore bad." Now it is vastly more "I am realising that Y is bad for me, and I'm a full-grown adult. Perhaps I shouldn't let my kids run free with Y either".
This isn't "novels are corrupting our girls", it's much closer to "hang on, this smoking business may not actually be improving our health and vitality, and we might consider only letting little Jimmy have 20 a day. Yes, yes, even though we have no issue running in the park with him, or doing family things together, or etc etc etc"
It's good that all people are exactly the same as you and your kids and that this will therefore work for everyone, isn't it. /s
My opinion is that disconnects are typically about joint values, interests, and expectations. Or, more appropriately, lack thereof. Yes, there's the possibility that the parents don't understand digital devices and therefore are limited in joining the party. But, again my opinion, if it wasn't digital devices, it would be some other thing that was new or foreign to the parents. And so perhaps the real failure is the willingness of the parents to engage at the children's level. It also might represent a lack of shared values and expectations in connecting in the first place.
Your comment seemed dismissive of the possibility of a problem, and of the possibility of that problem being exacerbated by screentime/phone use/tablet use. Ergo my interjection.
As an analogy, that I think is apposite, some people can smoke tobacco and not get addicted, for others it becomes a consuming need; I think electronic interactions can be like this for many people. I get tetchy (irritable) when I don't have a drink for a few days, a similar tetchiness takes me when I don't get my fix of phone time. Screens can provide a very easy way to avoid social interaction, something which is a challenge for me. Stick this all together and you have problems connecting with people that are exacerbated by increased screentime; I do have the agency to avoid getting completely absorbed by devices but I also exercise that agency on behalf of my kids as I believe they have not (as pre-teens) developed the ability for themselves.
It seems to me, you did make that claim.
I've tried looking this up and received a quite diverse collection of results. What is this?