I happen to be 21 which fits me right in this generation and the main reason this occurs is due to parenting. My parents wouldn't let me go _anywhere_ by myself until I was at least 17. By that time I was completely and utterly addicted to computing to just let go and 'hang out'. As a matter in fact most of my friends are online rather than 4 real friends in real life. It seems like people in my age group had parents that would rather have their child stare at a screen than experience the world. Just my two cents.
Asking as a parent with three young kids who's seeing practically no benefit to ubiquitous screens at this point, and lots of bad things about them, and trying to figure out how to navigate this brave new world while screwing these kids up as little as possible.
My parents didn't really limit me going out. In fact, they encouraged it. But I found the internet to be way more fascinating compared to my friends. I did have friends and a 'normal' life, but I was an introvert by any measure. I had people to hang out with at school and places to hang out with friends after, but I never wanted to go out and goof off. I want to say it isn't so black and white.
That said, I do find kids' exposure to electronics reaching an alarming point these days. Parents I feel just tend to plop an iPad infront of them all day which keeps them entertained to no end. They are extremely hyperactive since those games require them to be but teaching nothing of value. I can't say that's definitely bad, but it is scary. Maybe that's what a generation before me thought about me, so who am I to say?
If I may give advice, I would suggest you limit access to games and especially ads. Ads definitely have an effect on kids and is the very first media they see that is designed to manipulate them.
Next, maybe download some fun but informative videos from YouTube? (Don't ever give them free access to youtube, trust me. Really). YouTube Kids from what I've seen is trash and has nothing better than subpar cartoons. There are interesting things I feel could keep them entertained but also benefit them.
When you take away access to something, make sure they have something to do that they find interesting. Not just you. A big mistake I think parents make. Encyclopedias aren't so fascinating in comparison to the entirety of the internet, and we just feel robbed of fun. Talk to them.
Any game that he likes, I remove the ads. It's usually a dollar or two. I also consider it a tip to the developers for entertaining my kid.
I usually play together when I can. And he also enjoys watching me play. I actually can't wait for the day when he beats me at street fighter.
But I think the key is finding things he enjoys just as much as playing video games or watching tv. It's hard, but they exist. And exercise should be one of them. Solving puzzles another. Going outside on the scooter is another. Cooking is another. They aren't hard to find.
If he loves something too much, I'd limit it with a reward system. That's how the world works anyway.
>But I think the key is finding things he enjoys just as much as playing video games or watching tv. It's hard, but they exist.
I don't know what makes good parenting. I know no one is prepared to be a parent, but you sound like a great one :)
LEGOs are real expensive these days, and you really have to kind of. . .tailor the experience for them until they're 6 or so, so that they use them safely and so that they aren't presented with too much complexity and once. That said, for both my 5 yo nephew and myself growing, they're a great toy because they can be a group or solo activity, and because they help respond to creativity ("I want to build X!") without removing all the imagination - video games tend to offer a more "complete" experience (i.e. leave fewer "gaps" for the child to fill), and less modular toys can feel limiting in what kind of play can be accomplished.
Just my two cents.
Me and my friends are so used to identifying and quickly ignoring ads from a young age, that they have become largely uneffective on us.
Comparatively my not-so-techie friends and family, that haven't grown up so used to ads, tend to be more influenced by them and purchase more stuff (my dad clicks facebook ads more regularly than me and my friends).
I Wwnt to preface that I do understand where you are coming from, and spent many years agreeing with the sentiment that you pose, but over time came to realize that I was mistaken and had an oversimplified view of what makes the advertising industry tick.
In the interest of discussion: do you think that most people are too lazy/ignorant to ignore ads like you and your friends do?
On the other hand my non-gamer gf can't understand how I can read or play a flash game when it's surrounded by few animated banners.
And my mom starts to read each page from top left corner as if it was a letter she got from IRS or sth.
Someone put it this way regarding the recent machine learning researcher craze. It went something like - PhDs are currently being paid millions to study where to place the pixels on your screen to influence you.
I was denied access to computers, and I don't think it did me any good. I'm 27, so a bit old for this topic, but my house was specially up to date bc of my dad's job. The internet was dangerous and diabolic in my mom's mind though, and my access to computers was extremely limited.
This, I feel, made me want computers even more. I realised early the magical powers of the internet. I wanted nothing more than a computer for myself. Even now, I easily get hooked (wouldn't say addicted) with videogames, porn, or just browsing.
Observing my friends, those who had more freedom in this regard are the ones that cares less about any of this; those of us still playing too much videogames are the ones who had very stingy restrictions there.
I'm under the impression that what my parents would have been better advised to do is give me more freedom. All of my younger siblings had more leeway in that sense, and I'm by far the most introverted of the bunch. All of my peers were very obviously more socially apt than me; they had been going out for years by the time I was allowed. Feeling at a constant disadvantage in social situations stifled me.
Of course, anecdata. Also, raising a child might be one of the most difficult and terrible things you can do. And at the same time, kids are more resilient that we give them credit for, as long as they're loved (!) and fed.
(I feel my parents did a fantastic job, even though I could point out a dozen things I think were very wrong. I'm sure if I had children of my own my opinion on my parents' job would increase dramatically.)
It's been very tough, but we don't have a T.V., we do let our kids use the tablet, with restricted apps and time. Our neighbors below us hate us and are moving....because you know....five kids stomping around above them, but I guess this is the new reality. The best thing we did was smooth coat all the walls with plaster and then make 2 large chalkboard walls. I am constantly surprised by how well this worked out. I think the tactility of the chalk has been an important factor, one that I overlooked, as I always used dry erase markers. I'm a convert to chalk now and my kids only use the best, Hagaromo full-touch. Working on math homework is a dream now as I can easily sketch out geometric concepts and have them trace over it with their fingers. Sure you could do it on paper, but something about standing in front of the chalkboard makes it more compelling. Aside from that setting up a folding table on the balcony and buying them a bunch of mid-grade chemistry stuff has also worked out surprisingly well. A couple days ago they created a catalytic reaction that actually gave off quite a good bit of heat. Could they have injured themselves? Probably. I'd rather have them experiment and explore.
4 of my kids are girls, and this raises special challenges. We fought a war with both sets of grandparents about not buying them dresses or pink gender defining toys. I was shocked how much resistance we got on this, but I strongly advise parents of girls to consider what the value of gender neutrality is, and whether or not it makes sense for them to try and abide by it when buying toys or clothes. If you do, be prepared to meet with a lot of resistance, both from your parents and public school. Just my two cents.
Our population isn't declining either, as long as you watch it from Earth's PoV instead of whatever nation you're from.
I don't want to judge a specific person on having a number of children, and being the parent of one child I can't even fathom having five (!!!) but the general notions you made in conclusion to that I disagree with.
Perhaps we should all read this, or at least look at it from a different perspective, as I confess I do not study these issues carefully, but I don't think any type of neo-Malthusianism is worthwhile.
(Full disclosure: I hate pink and was shocked too over how much of it grandparents and such forced on us and in what way. But I am still curious about your reasons. )
So my (completely amateur) opinion is to have a policy like you're doing, but only enforce it like 80% of the time. 100% is where you start to get into giving people complexes territory.
Also, the association between apparently girly and bad or dumb is not healthy if you happen to be girl.
The inability to get a quiet room alone is my personal vision of hell, but I suppose that if I literally never had the experience of a quiet room to myself, I wouldn't miss it. I wonder if this is like language learning... much easier if you're immersed in it from birth, than trying to adapt later in life.
My family got our first computer in 1998, when I was 13 years old. Nobody in my family was very computer literate at the time but they knew they could "ground" me from the computer by changing the Windows password.
Somewhere along the line (in a gaming magazine, probably) I stumbled an article about Slackware and Linux and later BeOS. I was determined to have access to the computer when I was grounded and my parents weren't home so I figured out how to download Slackware and BeOS floppies from friend's computers and get them working on our home PC.
Without all of this dedication to mischief and getting around the rules, I might still consider a computer just a terminal for sports news, games and email.
Breaking these rules and discovering Linux and the fact that I could write software without "doing crazy math problems" changed my life.
Then when u become a grandparent it begins to totally make sense....we all screw up our kids...teaching thwm how to recover is the real deal
She/he tells us ahe/he was so unprepared for relationships and the knowledge that others' sid not come from our style home (happy marriage filled with love, imo)
Now how does one predict that??? Introduce my kids to broken marriages?
No flame intended. Honest question. Never thought about the gender of my kids being a privacy thing.
As a parent I (we) try not to restrain things like screen use. Instead we actively promote all other forms of spending time we prefer more. This means I usually enter the room before my kids get up and put the devices away and put other toys in sight. My wife is a montessori (method) teacher which makes her quite skilled at knowing which kind of toys/lessons our kids like at what time in their life. Meaning each couple of weeks the things we prepare change. Result is they usually first pick a bit of everything in plain sight and only after, at the end of day, ask for a device. We didn’t tell them not to, it is just they really like their puzzles, painting, and what have you. In real life preparing means putting things in sight instead of in a closet and one of us being downstairs before the kids is normal as well. Not much effort there.
Disclaimer: my oldest is only 3 right now. Older kids may be entirely different though I believe promoting better options has a better effect than restraining the negative ones.
You made me think about it and it is quite interesting. From reading your post I was surprised. Thinking about it makes it interesting. I work in the Healthcare sector and gender definitly is part of privacy information (as is age for that matter). However, I would have not thought about it twice sharing it here. Now I’m in between.
Gender neutrality is there to avoid distinguishing roles according to people's sex or gender, in order to avoid discrimination arising from the impression that there are social roles for which one gender is more suited than another . That is hardly the case when referring to one’s own child. Hence my follow-up assumption in the same comment that it might be for privacy reasons.
The first statement in that comment on gender neutrality was led by the media taking the whole gender neutrality thing a bit too far nowadays. Some sources just follow the hype instead of looking at the argument for using it as stated above. That is my own opinion though and might be a deluded view on media articles i came across that went into the “did you just assume my gender” mode for stories where gender was totally irrelevant.
I do realize the first sentence of my comment was a phrased a bit provoking because of the whole media thing. Sorry if that offended you and provoked you into this question (comment). Hope this answer helps to show I was not here to fight gender neutrality as a whole.
This is just their perception and proposed solution. Ruining your marriage so they will be comfortable in a bad relationship is crazy.
Parents often fail to teach their kids how they got to this point. I have made a point to make sure I don't just take for granted my kids know everything I know.
What to look for? What not to look for? Where does this action come from? Why do I get a funny feeling about this person? What fear causes this anger response. The fact that everyone is nice at some point. On and on the list goes...
Right and wrong, life, is either taught... or learned the hard way.
What a great statement. So true! It may seem trivial but this is important..
They just have to learn how to deal with non-ideal people, mostly by dating a bunch, maybe reading a few books so they can better recognize borderline and other personality disorders.
We do not seek to teach our children how to form or maintain human relationships, much less intimate relationships. As a result, they do not spontaneously learn these things, especially in a society that isolates young people to an increasingly radical degree from their community, their peers, and society in general.
Also if she is young (< 21), this is a phase and it will pass.
Go with the flow.. Man... Your kid will surprise you
Can we please treat this topic with the seriousness it deserves? This dismissal attitude makes me feel physically ill.
See also Dr. Ingeborg Bosch on Past Reality Integration  or this Wikipedia article  for an introduction.
> This dismissal attitude makes me feel physically ill
Argumentum ad misericordiam .
Raising a child should be a seen as sort of project. You need to figure out what they need to learn while they grow, and then you need to figure out ways of teaching it to them. Of course, you will probably have to adjust your plan along the way, and you yourself will have to learn how to do this properly. But if you view things from the end, it is easy to see why "helicopter" parenting is harmful and will likely result adults who are incapable of managing their own lives once the time comes
Abstractly, anything you spend a lot of time doing is going to shape how you think and not necessarily in positive ways.
Concerns about "screens" today seems more analogous to the old "TV-as-parent" issue.
No TV or analog in house.
I am now torn as the older kid is at a prime age to introduce programming...
...but the benefits we see daily from no-screen childhood are to our biased eyes overwhelming.
Our kids spend all their free time engaged in imaginative play much of it collaborative, and manipulating physical objects, and when we can get out, outside.
Their ability to sit in a room with no screen and make a world seems pretty rare, compared to peers who were given ipads or whatever years ago.
But I also worry, how do we also make sure they are literate and savvy.
I fear that as soon if the programming bug bites it will be the End...
Quite often spontaneously, and on occasions where we take away screens as a punishment, they engage in the same kind of collaborative/imaginitive play with physical objects together. I'm probably equally biased to you, but I don't feel that having access to screen has in any way impaired or diminished their ability or desire to engage in that kind of play together, while at the same time preparing them for a future in which screens and computer/internet literacy is going to be a supremely important skill to have.
I think the Web's far and away the most dangerous part of screens. I grew up mostly with OTA TV, an NES, and an offline DOS computer as my only screens until age 10 or 11 so when we got dial-up, which could only be used sparingly (one phone line) and sitting at a desk. All were kinda fun, but also boring enough that you'd wanna go outside and ride bikes or something after an hour or two. The modern Web is like having a cable subscription with 100 channels of only stuff you love (and most of it the crappy low-value stuff that you, nonetheless, love). It's hard to moderate use as an adult, let alone for kids.
[EDIT] yes of course you can and should just tell them no, as with other decisions they're bad at making, and I have no problem doing that, but what I'm unsure about is whether the benefit of Web-anwhere-in-the-house and Netflix and Youtube and so on are worth even having to enforce rules to begin with—maybe it's better to not have them at all, because they're so low-value compared with less distracting and addictive alternatives.
Also: not every child is going to end up a programmer.
About the most important org any parent should know about and support: http://commercialfreechildhood.org/
I don't think it's that screentime itself that's such a problem, but the content, and mindlessness of some stuff. I'm happy to let my 5 year old watch Cosmos with me, Paw Patrol on the other hand makes the kid go crazy.
Eh, I don't know. The only thing I know we are doing right is having strict limits on screen time.
Was limited to an hour of tv and games a day as a kid and of course craved more, but me and siblings did well in school and socially partially from that.
Anecdotal 2 cents.
How are the screens being used—are they playing games or learning to make things? Making things should be encouraged.
My wife and I decided to ban our son (now 5) from all digital consumption as long as possible. we went hard-edged when we noticed his uncontrollable addiction. it was all he asked for daily. nothing else mattered. no interest in the robot cubetto we bought him, reading, playing with toys, or even being very communicative.
sure it was EASY to just hand him the digital pacifier when he was 1,2,3 yrs old. now we see the start of the epidemic before our eyes. its real but we are taking back control and starting on a healthy hands-on path of learning and having fun the good ol way.
and if he ends up being in the minority - so be it. at least he will be a a whole human being with empathy who can create, dance, run for miles, focus, communicate, and think critically miles beyond his zombified peers. Its never too late.
Allowing your kids to roam around like that these days will get CPS called on you.
Yet another bit of the world ruined by Sun and Daily Mail.
Actively socialize a lot with people in your neighborhood. Including the old lady next door, local cops, teachers and shop owners. And once you know 50 persons around by name and they have your phone number, tell them one by one that you intend to let your child going out more and more out by him/herself to learn autonomy. Ask them to not worry, but to keep an eye open: they will feel important, think you are a wonderful parent and your kids will have 50 people to help them in case of a problem.
In my experience, if you befriend on average one person a week, you get there after one year.
Manichean but works wonder. Learned the trick while working in Africa.
It actually works for many other things: finding a job, getting help to do stuff, getting laid... You usually make real friends on the way, not a bad side effect.
Even in those facebook times, one-to-one human relationship are still ruling everything we do, and living in a community is one of the most rewarding skill to sharpen.
But yeah, we are not in a movie, it's a lot of work. The maintenance part is really time and energy consuming, as not everybody is interesting and worth it.
I do appreciate the method, I just find hard to believe that it can be put in practice in realities like mine.
To find out where to start, ask yourself where your children are more likely to get caught alone and reported to CPS.
It will also require you go to clubs (sport club, book club), events (garage sell, protests, etc) or even to put them in motion.
Eventually, some thing that works very well is talking to people waiting with you. In queues, waiting rooms, at traffic lights or even traffic jams. It's awkward/annoying as hell when you do it wrong, but after a big of practice it's really a great source of networking.
You mention Facebook - I think FB could be leveraged here as well.. perhaps a neighborhood group.
But you can mix both approaches;
You can do one-on-one to create / maintain the relationship, and utilize social networks to organize the community.
But if you want your local baker to go out of his way to get your child out of trouble, you need to look him in the eyes when you ask for it. And you need to do that for each person you recruit. There is no way around it.
I know, because I used to be an introvert geek because Mali kicked my ass.
I think this is a really overblown fear. Yeah, everyone "totally heard about someone" who had CPS called on them because they let their kid roam around, but I think this is mostly an urban legend about as likely as a terrorist attack. CPS usually has way more on their plate than they can handle with actual issues, I don't think they give a damn about free-range children.
However, and I think this is the important thing, CPS totally didn’t care after a quick 15min interview.
The second time they even apologized and said they were mostly showing up because they had to.
It was the same local busy-body calling them both times btw.
Except they are required by law to follow-up on all reports. So you will be interviewed and inconvenienced at the very least.
I can't even imagine how that would play out in current times.
For instance 20 years ago there was public phone booths everywhere. A kid would just need a few coins and the house number to do a call, now you’d need a cell phone, and giving one to a 5~8 year kid is still not practical.
Or I remember shopping at local shops enough to know their faces and names, or ask shop owner if the other kids where nearby. I don’t think my kid knows anyone other than the bakery people, because local shops have nothing for him at this point.
Same with police or church member perception, I think our generation is less OK to just say to a kid “if there’s any problem just trust the police”. It becomes a weird and complex message of what the institution’s goal is, what’s OK and not OK for them to do, what’s the warning signs, what to do in case stuff gets weird etc.
TL;DR: A lot of stuff changed in the last decades, we can’t just blindly do the same as before.
When I was kid, I would get on my bike and wander too far. One time I was out and a thunderstorm came along. A nice lady invited me into her house to call home.
Fast forward to university, a professor objected to me closing his office door with just the 2 of us in there (we're both male and I'm 6ft 200lbs). A colleague of his was falsely accused of being inappropriate to a student, so his policy is to keep the door open.
The change in trust levels has changed pretty swiftly.
I'm of two minds about this.
1) This is a bad thing in that we don't give respect to authority that it really deserves. And that's quite often a bad thing--especially when related to children and teaching. Sorry to break it to you, Mommy, but your little angel is actually a spoiled, shitty little brat and, no, his opinions don't count.
2) This is a good thing in that people in positions of authority who abuse their power over others are not uncommon. Having greater scrutiny helps cut down on these situations. Apparently most women have dealt with a couple of these people as teachers throughout high school and college.
I really don't know how to reconcile these two.
So to be totally fair - not exactly similar situations
I'd go further. We need to get back to: "If you have a problem, pick an adult and ask for help." Really. Most threats to children are people they know. Random strangers are almost always helpful in a situation.
I'm not sure about that; there are phones specifically designed for that market (e.g., Firefly), after all.
Even just the risk of breaking, losing or getting it stolen is not negligeable.
It’s a viable option depending on the kid and the environment , I just feel kids phone are still too clunky to be worth it. I’d prefer to go straight for a regular smartphone once the kid is big enough to properly take care of it.
Or teach the child to approach a stranger; a random stranger is very unlikely to be a threat. (A less random one even better: a woman with young children.)
Not trusting the police for problems a child is likely to encounter seems paranoid.
because she's already at her quota of kidnapped kids for the day?
The most popular ones in the US are, but ones that are fully independent phones with their own SIM have been available for some time.
Just for some examples: https://www.smartgeekwrist.com/standalone-smartwatch-sim-car...
Compared to the Ford Model T, maybe.
Of course, I'm not sure that it has much to do with the speed of the car they are driving.
More recently, I remember Dublin city centre in 1988, when Ireland was still pretty poor, being full of kids; and Marrakech or Fes in Morocco just 10 years ago.
I wouldn't say the war impacted the parental decision(s), historically kids always played outside so they were just continuing what they knew, but we kids did have safety in numbers and that's why I'd say this is a perpetuating issue.
If a parent today told their kid to go outside and play, that kid would be alone and less safe. So parents just don't allow it.
Speaking of rolling, that's what bikes were for. Running around unsupervised in the neighborhood. I'm not sure what kids do with bikes today. Or if they even get bikes.
My parents live in a subdivision with several parks that are completely empty. I took my niece to one and discovered that's apparently suspicious behavior to use a public park in the middle of a weekend afternoon after a local PD officer stopped by to "have a chat."
The police also literally barricade the subdivision for Halloween. Nobody comes in or out between the hours of 7 & 9.
My parents were early adopters of this, about 20 years ago. They wanted me to be 15-16. I don't remember exactly, since by that point I was well practised at lying about why I'd be late home from school, who I'd be with, etc, so it didn't make much difference.
Age 10, my friend's parents let him take the public bus home alone (like most parents, I think). Mine didn't, and I didn't like being in the 2-3 kids waiting at the school for my mum to collect me, especially as she was always late.
So there was "computer club" on Wednesdays, "robot club" on Fridays, and "technology club" erratically. They were (or had been) real after-school clubs, so I'd sometimes show up for a few minutes, in case my parents asked a teacher about it. Mostly I'd spend the hour walking around the weirder streets in the city. (Unusual example: going to the fetish/bondage with my friend so he could buy the net shirt to dress up like the main character in Rocky Horror.)
Weekends were more difficult, it needed good co-operation from friends and their parents.
Essentially, by restricting my independence far beyond the average of my peers, I lost a huge amount of trust and respect for my parents. This has still not recovered.
My father used to range all around Seoul as a grade school aged kid. I used to wander 2 miles out in the woods with my friends and my sister at that age in the middle of winter. A coworker of mine used to range even farther at that age. We had lots of time practicing looking after ourselves and being independent.
I remember facilitating a class with grade school aged kids, where the kids were given stations of a "starship." What would you expect a boy to do if given the weapons station of a starship? Blow something up? At least press some buttons? No, this boy just sat there meekly awaiting instruction.
Something is deeply wrong. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-TnwC29_oyI
And you contrast that against Asian kids being wild and healthy?
"Appropriate behavior includes learning how to be reserved, cooperative, and supportive of the group."
Not at all. My comment is not about being respectful. My comment is about how that kid had no curiosity and initiative. In fact, that kid was commanded to figure out his interface. Nothing. He would do nothing without adult instruction.
In fact, the kid was instructed to figure out the interface on his own. Nothing.
Sounds like a kid who has some sense of self-control, which is a positive and not a negative.
There is having self control, then there is a total lack of independence and initiative.
After the first year of high school ( I was 13 ), we were allowed to travel to the other side of the country by train, sleep in a youth hostel and return at the end of the next day.
This is NL, the other side of the country is only 350km.
When we tell younger friends, they refuse to believe.
Here in America, I had a coworker a few years ago who literally would not let his double-digit-aged children cross the street to school by themselves.
It's a weird fuckin' place.
- walk and bike around the block by myself when I was 7
- walk to the stores 1.5 miles away when I was 9, sometimes with my 3 yr older brother
- explore the irrigation ditches behind my house when I was 10
- skate down to the mall when I was 13
My parents warned me that the guy across the street with a VW van was 'weird' and might molest me, but didn't try to restrict me much.
I also played my share of Sega games and learned to program on an Amiga and C64, so I was even a bit of a homebody compared to many kids. I can only imagine how dull my childhood would have been if I was barely allowed to leave the house. It amazes me how little people trust their children and society these days.
Not knowing how to get to school? Fair enough, maybe it really is implausible for him to get to school on his own - I don't know your local geography. My wife grew up in Plano, TX; there was a big highway between her and her high school, which was also miles away. At the time, Plano didn't really have a public bus system to speak of, and she didn't have a bike - walking five miles isn't a very good option. She would know how to get there, but there was no reason to do it aside from school bus or her parents driving.
The 80's happened which brought a few highly publicized child abductions/murders. Notably the Walsh child. His father scared every parent into becoming a helicopter parent. (Not judging, just saying).
People really haven't loosened up much since. Every stranger is dangerous.
Of course it was fiction, but still.
If I let my elementary age children do that today the police would be called. My sister has had neighbors call because her kids were playing in their front yard.
It's a 100% sad and ridiculous situation. We're raising an imprisoned generation who can't handle anything. How is staring at a glowing screen all day a childhood?
EDIT: I suppose I should tone down my rhetoric but this really worries me.
 Except the alien thing.
My understanding of Russia is that serial murderers Did Not Exist by decree; certainly not serial child murderers like Andrei Chikatilo. The city never felt unsafe to me; I think I really felt that ethos of "we're all in this together", especially based on a childhood incident where I got lost at a public event, and a stranger brought me home. (Of course I knew where I lived; I was a child, not an idiot.)
 https://goo.gl/maps/jx3Y76UuXN62 - moderately rural most of the way.
Adults are part to blame as socially, parents are frowned upon for even letting their kid take the bus instead of being their private chauffeur. (Granted I live in an area where private schools are more popular than public. But I've seen this same thing play out in the exurbs with mostly public schools.)
I live in USA, and my child started walking to the school bus stop alone at age 7. There's value-add in giving kids more freedom and responsibility. I see it every day that my child treats her freedom as a privilege, and gains more self confidence.
I hope this helicopter/snow plow parenting trend begins to fade in America.
And I walked to and from school in the village (in the 60s) from age 5
But I think parents were ok with it mostly because it was considered normal at the time and noone spent time pondering what could happen.
I thought about cutting off the video games, but it was his only form of socialization, so I was really hesitant to try that experiment.
I have had dozens of conversations with him, over the years, about the possible negative side effects of not meeting people in person (for later in life, when patterns solidify).
Now, he does go to parties with his online friends a few times a year. There are usually 8-10 of them there and they have pizza and watch movies. Usually is a bday party (but he never wants to do this for his bday).
I've given up trying to influence him (given his age). He is very mature in most ways. I'm just worried about the future.
Not quite. There are a million opportunities in between to have genuine, in-person connections with friends that don't necessarily fall into those two categories. Just to prove it, here's a thought exercise. Take your top 5 friends, local people you'd be most inclined to hang with on any given day. Now ask yourself, what are they doing tonight on this random Wednesday? If you had trouble answering this question, you're not alone. We're all so busy nowadays, it's become harder to line up those fleeting moments of availability that we do have. Now think about how many intersecting pockets of free time amongst your friends that were probably missed in the past month. Some of these opportunities could've been a quick cup of coffee together, swinging by to watch Isaiah's debut with the Cavs, or last minute studying for mid terms.
Coordination has to become easier, because everything else competing for your free time has become easier. This is one of the primary reasons why I left Yahoo and founded a new startup called Blink. We're creating an app that bridges the gap between your phone and your real life.
We are eventually planning to do a "Show HN" to give folks a preview of what we're building, but I couldn't help but notice quite a few here (westmeal, ktta, joaomacp, julianh95 and others) who are both young in age and have quite a sophisticated understanding of how our social trends are evolving. If you're under 25, we'd really love to get your feedback on where we are going with Blink! You can check it out here (iOS only):
We're also looking for a junior iOS engineer who's as passionate about this stuff as we are, but that's also an entirely different HN post altogether!
I understand why parents don't want their kids out in environments like that. If I have kids it's going to be a struggle to let them out into that scary world...but growing up in the ghetto doesn't come without life lessons.
I do think that it is was worth it for me, but then again, I would say that. Also I now do not believe everything has to have ‘worth’ anymore (I did then and I wanted to become a pro musician,but found it monotonous and annoying even as an amateur; every day the same songs...). Or maybe doing nothing or frivolous things has it’s own worth.
I think it's time to stop thinking of online as something less real than meatspace, and online friends as somehow inferior to face-to-face friends.
(Cue copious evidence of amazing friendships and happy marriages started online.)
Perhaps in years to come VR will overcome that deficit, though.
This gave me a few brilliant real-life friends who I first had met back in the day e.g. on LiveJournal when it was still alive.
Heck, I met my wife online, and proposed online, back in 20th century. We're still happily together.
...wait, that sounds like I mean that I think I'm really super smart. That isn't the case, I just don't meet many people, and those that I do meet I don't think are clearly brighter than me. The ones that are, usually don't really seem interested in being friends, so whatever.
Turns out these things aren't so simple as random people on the internet claim.
Try to frame it as an engineering task of a graph traversal optimization. Also, you have to be open; no people are going to check all boxes. Limit the filter to really important stuff.
The sad thing is, your story seems to be the rule and not the exception these days. I fear for a future run by people who grew up being constantly sheltered and hidden away from the world around them, while being "raised" by Facebook/Google/etc.
I hope these parents are prepared to keep taking care of their "kids" well into their 30s, because no kid who was kept locked up until age 18 is going to be anywhere near prepared to venture out on their own before then.
I went to Copenhagen recently and on a Friday night came across a big coffee/beer+wine place with lots of tables/sofas that was packed with people drinking beer and playing board games. It seems like such an obvious concept/nightlife alternative for people who don't want to stay home but don't want to go to a loud bar. Doesn't seem to exist in the U.S. as far as I know.
1. Board game venues. They're becoming more popular, and yes, they exist in the US. I would be surprised if there wasn't one in any major US city.
2. Escape rooms. I think there are at least 50 in my city. They're literally everywhere if I search on Google Maps.
3. Cafes. If you're looking for something low key, you should be able to find some cafes with some hot wine, snacks, and couches for relaxing with friends.
4. Pubs. You can search for one with pool or darts if you feel like doing an activity while having casual drinks.
5. Meetups/Couchsurfing events. If you want to get together with a few dozen random people, there are usually events on both of these sites.
6. Rooftop or outdoor movie venues. They're a nice change from the usual movie theater if you want something a bit different.
7. VR experiences. These are starting to pop up as well. They have a bunch of rooms with headsets, and TVs showing what the person with the headset is seeing. So, you rent a room with friends, one person is playing, others are watching on the TV. Or, there are VR experiences where everyone puts on a headset, and you run around a VR warehouse playing together.
8. Lots of random activities that have existed for ages, like bowling, ice skating, go-karting, etc.
9. If you want very low key just go to a big book store, get a coffee, and read some books.
In short, I don't think the "young adult nightlife experience" is stagnant, and I think it's probably more interesting than ever before, with lots of alternatives to clubs or loud pubs.
I think there's plenty of opportunity to reinvent the nightlife experience in a way that hasn't been done yet. Hopefully in a few years you can decide between a bar, club, or ____ at 12am on a Friday night.
The idea of being sandwiched in the middle of loud drunk sweaty people in a place where I can barely hear what someone else is saying and waiting 20m to get the attention of a bartender to pay $15 for a well drink makes me cringe.
How late are you talking about? I'm looking at the weekend hours now in my city.
Board game venues: 2AM.
Escape rooms: Midnight - 1AM.
Meetup/Couchsurfing: I've been out to 5AM.
Rooftop/outdoor movies obviously don't start until after dark, and then they usually serve alcohol, so people hang out and have drinks after.
But as was mentioned, the board game café in Copenhagen is open until 2 on Friday and Saturday nights: https://bastardcafe.dk/opening-hours-and-events/
I think just as we're seeing the rise of niche co-working spaces for women/LGBT some enterprising introvert will create a new category of nightlife that is fun, open, not crazy loud, and not necessarily centered around alcohol. We've reinvented work but we've regressed when it comes to socializing IMO.
Tip: Look for places that serve espresso and/or tea.
(What a great idea!)
I found once people get to their 3rd and 4th years of university they can see "Real life" on the horizon and the awful 3am kebab shop behavior largely stops.
Like you've described pub culture is quite popular for the 25-40 bracket. Somewhere you can meet and socialise which is like being at home without pounding music and £8 drinks
I'm wondering if financial pressures play into this, student loans, saving for a downpayment in a property market that's accelerating away from you, ballooning rents, health insurance, saving for retirement etc
Come on now. There's literally FUCKTONS of stuff to do on your own. I had this existential crisis when I realized how shitty Vancouver nightlife is and that it was never going to get better.
Here's a list of stuff that I'm working on alone, even in the most boring city in the world. It's a combination of high adrenaline activities with quiet solitude mixed in.
- Ride a motorcycle
- Ride a seaplane
- Ride a regular plane
- Ride a boat and do stuff on it
- Snowboard & Ski
- Play jazz piano at a bar/cafe (bore other people to death!)
- Buy a cheap island, attempt PrimitiveTechnology or Proenneke. Bring kindle
(there's probably cooler places/things going on and i just haven't discovered them. maybe?)
Hanging around dance places and being proactively social (or a dance maniac) is a good start (Public Works, 1015 Folsom, Nocturnal Codes, etc). Eventually you’ll be invited to the most exclusive beach fires, kikis, kickbacks, etc.
Whatever you do don’t just stand in the corner expecting things to happen.
There’s Lyft/Uber, but they’re a bit pricey, and you’re just contributing to a slimy system and not doing anything to help public transit.
Uber/Lyft is not a luxury in SF, you can get most places for under $15, not to mention you can split the cost with others when you travel.
Transit is horrible but if you live by BART, it’s 1,000,000% better. Train to where you’re going and Uber back home for $10.
I live right next to BART in the mission, and that doesn't help me when I want to hang out with my friends in the sunset. Even if I'm just going to go to a nearby neighborhood, say the Castro or Hayes Valley, it's just faster to walk than think about taking public transit. I love walking so I don't really mind all that much, but for a major world city, that's kind of ridiculous.
At least in my city (Phoenix), there are plenty of arts-focused, small parties happening in warehouses, art galleries, etc.
Human contacts have been so highly valued in the past only because reading was not a common accomplishment and because books were scarce and difficult to reproduce. The world, you must remember, is only just becoming literate. As reading becomes more and more habitual and widespread, an ever-increasing number of people will discover that books will give them all the pleasures of social life and none of its intolerable tedium. At present people in search of pleasure naturally tend to congregate in large herds and to make a noise; in future their natural tendency will be to seek solitude and quiet.
- Aldous Huxley, Chrome Yellow
spoken like a true hermit....material objects cannot replace human connection...the author of that quote is escaping that harsh truth which I'm sure he realized towards the end like so many others that came before him.
This isn't true, not even in his lifetime. In 1870, the illiteracy rate among whites was 11%. It dropped even lower after that. 89% seems pretty "common" to me.
Blacks were much higher, but slavery had only just ended. That group hit 11% about 1947.
I really feel like they’re missing out on a developmental milestone.
I almost feel like these kids are brainwashed but that’s probably just me looking in as an outsider. I am just getting old (31) and struggling with the fact that I no longer understand the youth.
Are they though? Those milestones can take many different forms, as evidenced by the fact that "giant parties" are a relatively recent phenomenon, historically speaking.
That is nowhere near true.
It did happened occasionally, but it was seen as something bad and stigma (especially toward such girls) could be quite high.
I was assuming you were suggesting large parties regardless of age is a new historical phenomenon.
Although, fraternities and sororities have been around for hundreds of years and they're 17-21 or so. I'm sure they've had parties most of that time. It's probably how they started. Not sure if that counts with teen-only criteria. The concept of adult age has changed over time as well.
Humans party. Always have, always will. They of course were called "feasts" in historical times. Lack of partying is probably more of an anomaly (assuming the article is true). Of course, I would venture that even having a large online gaming or chat session would constitute a party. I mean its a group of people socializing, and I'm sure some of them are having beverages or botany of their choice, plus some hot pockets.
When I read old times, I tend to imagine either rural living or middle classes in cities or something else more common. Of course they had fun and socialized, but it was not the same as 80ties or something.
I agree with you on the sheltered thing.
In 1969, at the age of 9, I could be left to play with my friends and wander several miles from home without any sense of danger. Days were occupied with spports or just hanging out then reading and TV in the evening. There was balance because we had less technology. The ageing mill towns of East Lancashire, UK, still enjoyed a culture of trust and respect for your neighbours such that you could leave your front door open without fear of theft. Parents stressd "playing out" and being "out of the house" but it didn't stop kids from achieving academically.
The thought of hiding in my room and hardly ever seeing my friends face-to-face would have been soul-destroying. Chess, games, cricket and football was life itself in my teens up to about 15 when the music scene and girls became the main fascination. These were all social activities and I can't imagine those glorious teenage years spent hidden in my room staring at a phone screen as a substitute for real human contact. It's unthinkable.
Technology is never to blame for anything, because technology is not a moral actor; people may be to blame for the manner in which they use technology.
OTOH, people have been falsely conflating “the youth of today seem to have a different lifestyle than I preferred in my youth” with “society is sick” for at least as long as we have historical evidence of what people thought.
I guess you could argue that technology isn't to blame, but technology changes people. And it's hard not to use technology when it's so pervasive. At work I have a hard time not eating donuts when someone brings them in. Technology is similar. If everyone around you is on their phone or facebook or whatever it takes a lot of willpower/willingness to be different to not do the same.
If there is less stigma in admitting it, people are going to come forward more. Thus more cases are recorded. Which is good, as then they can get help. I remember people saying you need to see a shrink as an insult. Imagine people making fun of you for seeing a doctor about your broken leg!
Postman argues that omitting (excluding) technology from discussion of the human condition is exactly the problem. All changes lead to winners and losers. It's both denial and hubris to not even update the ledger.
Technopoly: The Surrender of Culture to Technology http://a.co/3WNmkU3
Further, Donald Norman argues every thing (technology, tool) has its own affordances, for better or worse. Which is opposite to the myopia captured in the cliche "Guns don't kill people, people kill people."
For a very narrow and incomplete definition of technology, sure. Technology literally means the science of craft. Technology isn't just the product, its something you practice when you're engineering and inventing a means to an end. In practicing technology, you make choices in identifying what problems to solve, how, and whether they are problems in the first place. Such choices are subject to morality. In that sense you can indeed blame technology.
I don't think there's ever been a discussion about the ethics of technology here without someone trying to pull the brakes by pointing out that inanimate things themselves are not moral actors, but let's face it, if someone participates in discussion on this site their IQ is probably higher than 70, and understand that already. Assume for a minute, at least for the sake of discussion, that this isn't the point GP is trying to make.
I think society is still sick and it's because we are more alienated from our roles in it than we ever have been. This is somewhat connected with our use of modern technology but has more to do with our economic relations with each other and with the material world.
There is an element of truth to those anxieties. New forms of media create new spatial relationships that are often destructive to previous forms.
So in a sense, new media can be highly destructive of the way people have perceived reality their whole lives:
>As I read and contemplated the subject, behold! that very discontentment which Master Hugh had predicted would follow my learning to read had already come, to torment and sting my soul to unutterable anguish. As I writhed under it, I would at times feel that learning to read had been a curse rather than a blessing. It had given me a view of my wretched condition, without the remedy. It opened my eyes to the horrible pit, but to no ladder upon which to get out. In moments of agony, I envied my fellow-slaves for their stupidity. I have often wished myself a beast. I preferred the condition of the meanest reptile to my own. Any thing, no matter what, to get rid of thinking! It was this everlasting thinking of my condition that tormented me. There was no getting rid of it. It was pressed upon me by every object within sight or hearing, animate or inanimate. The silver trump of freedom had roused my soul to eternal wakefulness. Freedom now appeared, to disappear no more forever. It was heard in every sound, and seen in every thing. It was ever present to torment me with a sense of my wretched condition. I saw nothing without seeing it, I heard nothing without hearing it, and felt nothing without feeling it. It looked from every star, it smiled in every calm, breathed in every wind, and moved in every storm.
-Frederick Douglass on learning how to read as a slave (which was illegal)
[ ... ]
> In 1969, at the age of 9, I could be left to play with my friends and wander several miles from home without any sense of danger.
How's technology to blame for helicopter parenting, fear of terrorism and crime in general, the notion there seemingly is a nonce behind every street corner and similarly irrational ideas and behaviours rampant today?
While social media does its share to exacerbate these fears and overly cautious behaviour so does TV and other more traditional media.
The underlying cause isn't technology but what we allow others to do to us with it.
It seems obvious that this is the result of fear mongering-profiteering in the news media.
Instead of superficially blaming technology for our failings we had better find out what the actual causes of these failings are and remedy those.
That is a strange line to include there, as I am not sure how people staying inside and having very little social life would erode public trust in the idea that your house won't be robbed while you're away. There are hundreds of factors that play into the changing landscape of trust, but I know my small town parents still have no real concern leaving the door unlocked in their small town of ~1000 or so people.
Personally, I'd say the trust issue has to do with the fact that the world population has almost perfectly doubled since 1969, and humanity's short history has not prepared us for the population explosion that has occurred over the last 150 years. We live closer together than ever before -- but cities have never really been safe, and serial killing predates electricity (oddly) without even getting near to modern technology or us collectively being "blinded by everything shiny".
The issue with our population now is that our cities are larger, there are fewer small towns and rural areas, hence the erosion of trust.
I think Dunbar's Number (colloquially the Monkeysphere) kind of covers why we aren't handling the explosion of social circles well. But that can't be blamed completely on technology.
Maybe birthrate is more reasonable. Anecdotally, my nephew is an only child and he doesn't get to run around a lot (nor does he have a lot of desire to). When I was growing up in the 80's, it seemed like families were bigger, so it was less of a big deal if one kid drowns while swimming in the river or blows up playing with gasoline. If you only have one kid, you're probably less likely to attribute cliff jumping or playing with gasoline to "just kids being kids".
It's not too late. We can go back.
The Roman Empire was fantastically multicultural at its high points and its low. The United States has never been homogeneous, no matter where in its history you find yourself -- the low or the high points.
In fact, I (and many others) would argue that a lot of the meteoric rise of the United States occurred on the backs of labor that did not match the current ideals of those far enough right to want a homogeneous United States -- whether it was black slavery, cheap Chinese labor, late 19th century immigration towards the American Dream...
There is more to the equation than homogeneity is what I am saying here.
My 80s/90s childhood was one of "high-trust" ethnic diversity in just such a place, since my family didn't run in the elite, isolated-private-school/gated-suburbs circles. I had friends of every background, and so did most everyone else I knew, it was just how things were, not some liberal hollywood propaganda job. Somewhere like inside-the-perimeter Atlanta isn't perfect by any means, but it's actual diversity seems to make it way less sneakily unintentionally racist than NYC or SF. Or, worse, someone in random-white-person-ville small midwestern town who hears about Chicago gangs in the news.
And now I see a bunch of people online scared of / angry about diversity or its portrayals who seem completely confused by the concept of a boba joint with local latinos, blacks, whites, and asians all as customers in the same shop - cause if a movie portrayed a group like that, you know it would get called out for "SJW brainwashing" - so it seems like the argument is completely backward. The more you actually encounter and interact with people who don't share your ethnicity, the more trust you build. While the more you segregate minorities into clusters of poverty and desperation, the more you'll fear crime and so on.
>Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness, and many of our people need it sorely on these accounts. Broad, wholesome, charitable views of men and things cannot be acquired by vegetating in one little corner of the earth all one's lifetime. -Mark Twain
The strange irony is that you no longer have to travel very far to meet a broad range of people, but still so many avoid leaving their gated communities.
You mention Chinese labor, for example, but the Asian presence in the US was below 1% until 1980. There were only three demographics that really existed in any numbers in US history up until the past few decades: Native Americans (mostly genocided or blended with other categories, and not counted as part of the population until this happened), whites (80-90% until 1980s), and the black people who were mostly either slaves or descended from slaves (fluctuated between 10 and 20%). Since the 1980s, the Hispanic population has seen a massive upsurge, with Asians also increased as a proportion of the population by almost 5x, and "Other" going from basically 0% to 6%.
This is not exactly a diverse picture, even if it isn't 100% homogeneous.
Citation needed. As far as I am aware from my understanding of history, Roman Empire was very large geographically but there were homogeneous cultures / tribes living in separate areas of the vast empire. You had Germanic tribes living together in proximity, same with Gauls, Eastern tribes like Vandals or Visigoths, local cultures also inhabited parts of Roman Empire outside of European continent such as Northern Africa or Israel.
This should be evident as Europe was very homogeneous until early 20th century still with societies being mainly composed of similar peoples in their respective areas and this was obviously a continuation of Roman Empire’s former tribes.
Trying to make a comparison with current world where you have melting pots in places like London or New York might be inaccurate. But I’d like to be educated on this issue more.
Says who? You are falling into the trap every old person does. Thinking their youth was great and that society is going to crumble since you are on your way out and the kids today didn't live like you did.
The more things change, the more things stay the same. When you were 9, your grandparents and other old people were saying the same thing. Society is falling apart. Kids are sat in front of "idiot boxes", turntables, etc. Or wasting time playing silly games or rotting their brains listening to rock and roll.
When I was growing up in the 90s, old people were blaming MTV, gangsta rap and 3 way phone conservations for the end of society.
> There was balance because we had less technology
Not compared to your grandparents.
> It's unthinkable.
It's unthinkable because you are old and out of touch. Kids today do all the things you did. Maybe not as much. They go to school. Interact with their classmates. Hang out with their neighborhood friends. Play stickball, football, etc.
So don't worry. Society will be fine without you and life will go on. Who knows, when I get to be your age, I'll be saying how VR tech is ruining kids. I hope not.