Ephemeralization has led to a phone or tablet being equivalent to a novel, textbook, comic book, telephone, game console, TV, academic journal (I do, in fact know an 8 year old who reads academic journals), and more. With parents often being much more hesitant than they were 2-3 decades ago to allow children to go anywhere unsupervised, it's often the primary means by which children interact with each other privately.
Even a subset like social media use can entail a broad range of different behaviors. One person uses social media to talk with a small circle of friends and family. Another puts on some sort of public display to get attention from strangers. A third plays the addictive "engagement" game.
Of course, an observer who just sees a kid holding a tablet has little idea how they're using it. A parent wishing to direct their child's activities has new challenges when a screen can be used for so many different things.
As parents, we want our children have well rounded experiences. To do things in the physical world. And it's getting increasingly difficult to do that. The device is so enticing that nothing else can compare.
There are some categories, like sport, where even if a kind doesn't have any interest for it, as a parent we have to force them to do a healthy minimum.
But otherwise I tend to think it's not that important to be 'well rounded' as long as the kid have tried a bunch of things. I guess if they at least had a throw at it and decided they don't like it, they know how it was and what they're missing.
From there it seems more efficient to grow their strengths and push the subjects they actually like doing.
(and finding out what they like is in itself a process of trying out a variety of things to see what sticks, so both broadening their knowledge of what exists in the world and growing their strengths should go together)
If you have a sample of 1000 8-year olds, then you have at least 995 8-year olds that are doing something other than reading an academic journal.
As far as individual kids, judgement calls do have to be made, but it's very challenging to tell what your kids are doing on a screen, particularly if you have multiple kids.
Certainly, but what the other thing is makes a huge difference. The content matters more than the medium.
The exception is active games - various dancing games on the playstation are exactly how we compromise on such things.
You have a great point about the multi-modal use of screens, but the Nature article isn’t the source of the lumping. Society at large, especially parents and educators and politicians, are the people concerned about screen time in general, regardless of task.
Much to your point, this article is doing the important work of actually demonstrating that general screen time may not be the sky-is-falling concern that many have, and people who are painting screen time in general as something bad might be overstating or exaggerating the problems. Perhaps there are specific uses that are bad; we may need to ask more specific questions, or we may discover that there are both advantages and disadvantages to the global social change in screen time, and it can’t be simplified into calling it a net negative.
It's this aspect that concerns me, that she continually chooses screen stuff over socialization with friends or family that concerns me far more than what she might specifically be doing on that screen. For what it's worth, she mostly watches vlogs on YouTube.
Let's say she enjoys several activities equally, yet access to one of them is restricted while access to the others isn't - she can do them as often as she wants. If her bedtime then is at 10, she is allotted one hour to enjoy the restricted activity, she hasn't used that hour today, and the clock strikes 9, why shouldn't she opt for the restricted activity?
Or is your actual goal that you want her to enjoy screen time less than she currently does?
I think there's a difference between 1) wanting your kid to do other things in addition to something that they already enjoy, and to 2) expect them to enjoy it less just because you don't understand why they find it enjoyable.
I also think this is a mistake parents should be more careful about making.
From what you've written it doesn't seem like a case of true addiction to me, but if it is, I apologize, and your concern is probably justified.
>Or is your actual goal that you want her to enjoy screen time less than she currently does?
The word "enjoy" takes on a twisted meaning once addictive behaviors set in.
Here's a list of "screen" activities that do not currently count against her hour of screen time. Any group screen activity. So if she is playing a video game with friends or family, that does not count against screen time. If she's watching anything educational, including but not limited to videos on how to complete a craft she is performing. Video games played alone but which incorporate physical activity such as "Just Dance" games do not count against screen time. If the family is watching her favorite TV show together, that does not count against "screen time." But she will leave even her favorite TV show to not miss out on her addiction fuel. And she only "willingly" participates in any other activities because her isolated screen time is restricted.
I frankly couldn't care less that she enjoys watching vlogs or videos of kids opening packages. The problem is the social isolation and lack of variety in activities.
To this day, I enjoy milk disproportionately.
I'm not saying screens aren't addictive, but limiting someone's access to something often makes them want it even more than they did to start with.
I just meant that you shouldn't be surprised when irregular/unpredictable access to something makes people eager to take every opportunity, and that it's a factor to consider in your strategy.
I think a big difference with the AA is that usually the people going there have decided they (on some level) want to stop drinking, rather than that being an externally imposed restriction.
Why do people just impulsively presume that every parent lacks the most basic problem solving capabilities when they say they've struggled with an issue with their child? Yes, of course I've done those things.
This is however hugely biased from having played a lot of video games as a kid and I felt it to be much more dynamic experience that may even help developing some mental faculties than passively watching anything.
In spite of all these exceptions what she wants to do most is hole herself off from her friends and family to consume her addiction fuel. If it were as easy as playing a video game with her, that would be wonderful.
I ask because you're primarily contrasting the solitary video watching that appears to be very important to your daughter with activities that involve others. You then emphasize the solitary nature of the activity with phrases like "hole herself off". It sounds like, in part, she might be seeking solitude.
I certainly won't deny that Youtube and others encourage habitual, compulsive, or addictive behaviors in the name of "engagement", but that may not be the only thing going on.
Watching YouTube videos is fine. Seeking solitude is fine. What defines addiction is not what your behavior is, it's whether or not the behavior is disrupting your life. So remarking that it sounds like she just wants to seek some solitude is irrelevant. It doesn't matter if she was "just" seeking some solitude or "just" using some drugs or "just" gambling or "just" shopping. It only matters whether those behaviors are disrupting her life. And I've made it clear that was the case by using language that includes the word addiction.
To explain why the "why" is so important... I know someone that does amphetamine about twice a day. They have real trouble if they go too long without taking any. When their supply starts to get low they will drop anything on their calendar to make sure they don't run out. They also have a prescription for adderall, which their doctor can only fill a month at a time, and when they miss a dose their diagnosis comes roaring back in and their intellectual performance collapses.
Alternatively... I assume you're at least relatively technical. When was the last time you fixed a bug without first trying to find a root cause for it? Even if you didn't find one, fixing a bug by patching over the symptoms, without ever figuring out why it was happening?
Anyway, for all that "she's clearly addicted" and "she has panic attacks if she doesn't watch enough youtube", you haven't posted a single mention of your daughter's thoughts or motives or reasons. You talk about her like she has no agency whatsoever. Mandatory minimum daily family time that just happens to be a nice round number of minutes, "it doesn't matter what the explanation is", comparing a desire for solitude to drugs, etc. I'm going to be completely honest, you haven't done a good job convincing me that her behaviors are even maladaptive.
What videos does she watch, why does she choose those videos, how does she choose them, and why did she decide on that method? Why does she think she chooses those videos? Can she explain her process for choosing those videos? Why does she think she enjoys those videos? How much youtube does she think she needs to be watching, how did she choose that amount, and why did she choose that amount that way? What would happen if she didn't watch enough youtube? Why does she dislike that outcome? Why does she think she dislikes that outcome? Are there any videos that're more important than others? Why does she think they're more important? Why does she value youtube over family time? Why does she think she values youtube over family time?
Our current position (which changes it seems every few weeks) is:
Rubbish stuff - 10 minutes per day
- most youtube videos, especially vloggers in baseball caps doing Minecraft
TV - 20 minutes per day
(exception because....as parents we both used to watch a fair bit of TV after school)
Worthy stuff - up to an hour a day
- Nature documentaries
- TED talks
- youtube to research interesting things (currently Minecraft but only redstone)
I wouldn't wish enforcing this sort of regime on anyone.
It's so all-encompassing, as you suggest, that I think I spend the majority of my time in front of a screen. What bothers me about it, and my work, is lethargy and isolation. So I take up some gym time. Sports would be a winner. Among friends there's always the low-fi boardgame craze. I'm not sure if it's enough.
Even with creative endeavors (say, writing, art, music) this day and age you'll find yourself (usually) reliant on technology for some part of the process.
I see a lot of concern about kids here. We were kids, growing up with screens: ultimately they're just bored and want stimulation.
While the pattern in research may be confusing, I don't know why the usage in the article—which is basically explaining research which suggests that this frequently studied question is almost certainly a nothingburger—is troubling.
On the one hand, you can learn a huge amount of stuff just sitting there at home reading and following links. There are kids who've learned HFT level c++ sitting with a computer. (I worked with one). You can also learn a lot about just about anything else.
On the other hand, the same device can swallow your whole future via gamification. Social media and game designers have figured out how to make things so addictive kids get angry if you take it away from them. And you can't not have any online presence at all as a teenager, it's part of life now.
Hopefully I'll be able to navigate a happy medium.
It's the same with screens: it takes a toll on everybody, no matter the age.
It's very easy to verify: go on a screen diet, but be very active during it. Don't sleep more, don't eat better, don't try to be less stressed. Just remove as much screen as you can. You may first notice a withdraw period, depending on your screen consumption. Passed that, your energy goes up, you eat better, your social life improves, your ability to focus as well, and you are actually more efficient for tasks that can't be shortcuted using screen-based tools.
Now as a computer scientist, I keep using screen hours and hours every day, knowing that. That's the whole problem: knowing the cause is not enough to solve an issue. It's even harder since screens are at the center of a lot of work and fun related activities of our modern lifes. I even had to buy a dumb watch to avoid looking at my phone to get the time.
Of course, if you don't solve the issue for you, kids will see that you give them advices you are not following yourself. And I distinctly remember as a child that as soon as I noticed this about an adult, I lost respect for what they tried to teach me at the moment. Being young != being stupid.
I understand it's a newer phenomenon than those other negative influences, thus hard to know as of yet. Still, before you spout off very long pseudo-scientific opinions: provide data and evidence.
It is not just about whether kid will be 0.5% more aggressive 10 years after. It is that he or she treats others (familly, siblings) badly now. It is also that such person is visibly loosing abilities like communication, patience, dealing with IRL setbacks, willingNess to do homework etc and parents have to intervene.
When these direct issues don't happen, parents care less. Waiting for study that confirms that some other kids are impatient jerks (or are not) after 3 hours of play is meaningless, because you a.) you are raising this one b.) they don't fund large scale studies over details like that.
Maybe his/her family treated him/her badly, and they don't even realize it. Maybe that kid will be happier without his/her family. Nothing wrong with that as far as I know. Maybe the kid doesn't want to do homework, because homework is an aberration of our modern society? Just my opinion.
First, the kid is not and will not be without family. The kid is living inside a family. In the long term, the kid is supposed to be able to have family of their own. That requires both ability to communicate when they treat you bad without knowing it and ability to not treat other people badly. Long term functional relationships are not possible if you solve problems by hiding. That includes both spousal and work relationships.
I don't know why you went toward a kid that is without family. Because I was talking about kid that is impatient, reacts to IRL setbacks with temper tantrums or yelling or accusing people or picking on them or otherwise jerk behavior.
Your examples are like exactly attitudes that parent don't want the kids to get. Including the idea that historical kids rich enough to not have to work significant part of day would not be expected to learn a lot. There were periods like that, when middle class was strong and secure, but not calling it a norm where opposite is aberration is absurd.
Or not. Who said everyone want to have a kid?
> I was talking about kid that is impatient, reacts to IRL setbacks with temper tantrums or yelling or accusing people or picking on them or otherwise jerk behavior.
So? that's not an illegal behavior as far as I know.
Im more open minded than you about what should be a family, I don't see long-term relationships that much important, and I believe in a society where everyone can have the life they want. If they prefer short term relationships, I don't see this as a problem, but a personality trait.
There are anecdotal evidence that links intelligence to physical activity, and screen time becomes excessive when they result in not enough.
In addition, some dental schools are reporting loss of dexterity in students. These activities rely on fine motor movements that requires years to hone.
The article says the opposite!!
Studies from 30 years ago screamed about health and TV, corelating bad eating and sleeping patterns with screen time. Suddenly one article says that it's not true for new techs.
I'm really not convinced. Just because you are less passive in front of a smartphone or a laptop doesn't negate the screen effect.
I'd challenge anyone who thinks they "just can't" sleep on a normal schedule to drop all light-emitting devices and all artificial lighting aside from a couple candles, a bit after sunset in the Winter, or at sunset in the Summer. See if you still can't, or if you just don't want to. Not that I blame individuals for it, as it's really damn hard to stay away from all this hyper-engaging stuff at night. I haven't been able to. But trying that for a couple weeks gave me some serious insight into the why of my lifetime of screwed-up sleep. It's incredibly bright nighttime lighting (try the candle thing and see if you aren't surprised at how obnoxiously and unnecessarily bright even a single 60w bulb is after) and screen-based media (TV on up) to blame, entirely.
Turns out if you light your house up like it's daytime, then put 1,000,000x the top-quality entertainment an emperor of yesteryear could hope to command on a given night right at your fingertips, it's very hard to sleep. Go figure. But that's what's overwhelmingly the norm now for most people's evenings.
Basically, any suggestion to improve sleep by boring myself to death for 6 hours is a non-starter, and the holier-than-thou attitude of people on the internet who do so is starting to annoy me.
Sure, but the flip side is you get a whole lot of "I just can't sleep a normal number of hours at a normal time, I guess I'm just built differently" and... well, no, probably not. I mean maybe. But probably not. You just like Netflix or late-night hacking or video games or whatever, too much to get a healthy amount of sleep. So does everyone else, to varying degrees.
And it's less a trade against end-of-life years as a trade against your ability to remember what you did or learned today tomorrow, and much shorter term mental and physical health issues (harder time with weight and blood pressure, generally lower energy and happiness, and so on). Though yeah, go for it. Most of the rest of us do, too, just not because sleep is some really hard thing that people are bad at and ordinary daytime schedules are unreasonable and demanding like many special Internet snowflakes claim (Nb not accusing you of making any such claim), but because our homes are, 24/7, more entertaining and brighter than a mid-tier amusement park.
I'm inclined to believe the data first, but if you find fault with it it should be surfaced.
And so I'll wait for 30 new studies saying screens are fine before starting to ignore them and my personnal experience.
If everytime you have a new study you trust it 100%, you will have to change diet every other week.
Since you're a computer scientist I suppose I don't need to remind you that correlation != causation.
People who already have bad eating habits and sleeping patterns for other reasons, might also be the kind of people who enjoy spending more time in front of 80s/90s TV.
> The authors’ overall calculations did find a statistically significant negative association between technology use and well-being: more screen time is associated with lower well-being in the young people surveyed. But the effects are so small — explaining at most 0.4% of the variation in well-being — as to be of little practical value.
Parents are wasting their time policing screen time. It’s a moral panic, not dissimilar to the moral panic when television came out and everyone thought it would make children stupid.
Hmmm - are you sure we dodged that bullet? We now have a situation in which the major political parties literally cannot agree on FACTS.
I'd say whether TV makes you stupid or not is still up for debate...
2. The person you are addressing is talking about gaming, not screen time.
3. I don't see how you can deny that most games are made to be addictive, that innumerable people - especially teenagers - become addicted, and that this has a detrimental effect on their becoming full, rounded and developed persons.
I don't see, however, how a study would 'debunk' the possibility of gaming having detrimental effects. It might that show that on average the detrimental effects are negligible. But that does not show, in the least, that parents have nothing to worry about: clearly there are a sizable number of people for whom it is detrimental. Even if that is offset by benefits spread across the statistical population, it's still a problem for those particular people. And to be honest, I'm skeptical to concede even this much.
I think you have to possess a highly etiolated idea of what the human 'good' is to believe that playing video games for dozens of hours a week - which millions of people do - is not to its detriment. It might be very fun. In a way, it can even be social. Both those things are important. But it's hardly the best and fullest exercise of human creativity and imagination, intelligence and enlightment, expansion and self-development, love and desire, etc.
No, but it's probably better than watching TV or using social media which are likely the most common substitutes for games.
> I think you have to possess a highly etiolated idea of what the human 'good' is ...
Quite. Well being is contested & value-laden terrain. One would really need to read a paper & the theoretical background it emerges from before affirming the concept of well being its measures purport to operationalise.
Having said that, contemporary wealthy societies specialise in etiolated concepts of the good life, so this would hardly be an exception. A consumer-subject plugged-in more or less permanently to corporate product is the dream.
> And I can deny the detrimental effects of gaming because studies have repeatedly debunked that idea.
Again, you're taking a lot on faith there based on a relatively small amount of research done during only a few years. Exposing young people during significant portions of their waking hours to computers/screens is one of the widest-scale social experiments ever undertaken. It could take generations to fully understand its implications.
I don't have a horse in this particular race and agree that many comments on the topic smack of moral panic. The most rational thing to do at this stage is reserve judgement. We don't know everything, and it's very early days yet. Having said that, if I were a parent, given the gravity of the responsibility, I'd be cautious at least.
I'm curious as to what this entails, because
>Exposing young people during significant portions of their waking hours to computers/screens is one of the widest-scale social experiments ever undertaken.
This is false. A kid in the year 2000 has a radically different childhood from a kid in 1950 (who had the kind of childhood that people opposing screentime seem to want), who in turn has a radically different childhood from a kid in 1850 (who was probably working in a coal mine or sweeping chimneys or something).
There is no way to be cautiously conservative because there is no default to default to. In fact, I find it a remarkable coincidence that out of humanity's 100,000 year history, the perfect childhood just happens to be the one that today's old people had. Rest assured that in 1950, there were just as many old people bemoaning their youth that didn't know the value of hard work and spent all their time watching movies.
I still hold to the claim that the screen use experiment is (1) particularly radical in that it involves substantially reducing children's exposure to the physical environment in which humans have evolved to develop (ie. that of human-scale 3D animate & inanimate things with which they physically interact). Note that 'radical' doesn't necessarily mean more harmful - just that it's hard to predict the developmental outcome as it's such a departure. And that it is (2) notably large scale due to the greater homogeneity of the change. A far larger proportion of kids are made subject to this particular experiment than in the past -- neither indigenous Australians not upper class English kids were chimney sweeps in the 19th C, but I'm sure both groups love their screens now.
Caution needn't mean adhering rigidly to an outdated template - that would be more like extreme conservatism or fundamentalism. It could just mean, er, caution! If I had kids, I'd consider how much screen time of different types they would be allowed, and how it might be balanced or blended with other activities. Like other parents, I would have no way of being certain about the answer most likely to lead to flourishing, I'd just have to make my best guess. I'm pretty sure for me that guess wouldn't be 'pass the child-training buck to Facebook & Google'. They take 'training' far too literally for comfort.
[Edit: My 'caution' would particularly extend to alarms &/or reassurances coming from studies such as this. For a number of reasons, it's a field I don't find very convincing ]
If parent had to spend a lot of time arguing with kid and removing device etc after seeing kid behaving in worst ways, the parent will talk about bad effects of gaming without there being actual long term impact on kid. Because it took additional effort to counteract it.
Also, studies are about whether kids become more aggressive in long term. Parental annoyance of often about kids becoming harder to deal with, less capable to communicate or more jerk right now.
I don't think that's a great analogy. Today I think most parents worry about screen time quantity and not necessarily quality. Using a phone or tablet is often replacing other activities like sports, music, and just general physical play.
It just so happens that what she wants to do all the time is play computer games, so that is the thing I have to keep steering her away from. I'm not convinced it is the screen itself that is harmful, but it is definitely the thing that stops her from wanting to do anything else.
As a bit of a sidebar:
It's the parent's job to teach a child how to live a healthy lifestyle as an adult.
It's impossible to live a healthy lifestyle while doing only one activity, because there are many things that need doing around your house, or in your life, as an adult that most people won't have someone doing for them.
A parent's goals will conflict with a child's goals - the child lacks the wisdom the adult has gained over their lifetime, and as a result doesn't understand what they need to work on to become a functioning adult.
At the same time, the child should challenge the adult's authority frequently - in order to discover the boundaries of their behavior. This has the additional benefit of giving the adult a lens through which to evaluate their own behavior.
I've learned more about myself and tempering my behavior from interacting with my daughter in the last 2 years than I had in the ten years before she was born.
I hope that as a result, I'm a better parent now than I would have been ten or even two years ago.
I agree with the GP - too much of any one activity is no good. Everyone needs to learn that there's a time and a place for each activity, and that there are many things important to keep us happy and healthy.
Parenting can be real tough when your goals conflict. It's a real help to bear in mind that that is a normal part of the process.
Do you have any citations? Because it genuinely seems like more kids wear glasses than they used to.
Not all teenagers feel like this. My fourteen-year-old's "online presence" mostly consists of using google docs to write stories with her friends. I know, it's anecdotal at best, but at least in my house the kids don't feel a need to be on social media.
If a kid is deeply engaged with an activity, suddenly terminating it for arbitrary reason is a huge sign of disrespect from parents. Kids get as angry about this as adults, it's just that adults are trained to repress the anger. Consider: if you, as an adult, were immersed in a book or in a team sport, and I came up and ordered you to stop what you're doing right now and go do something else - wouldn't you feel at least a bit angry?
Really I think a lot of the “my kid got mad because X” comes down to setting proper expectations. Whenever we set expectations with her, and especially when she gets to participate in the setting, things go so much more smoothly. Not to say we’re perfect, far from it, but the contrast is striking.
My wife is inclined to give "bonus minutes". I'm inclined to give warnings, as I've found the effect the same. My wife will come out and say "It's been ten minutes, we're moving on to X" and toddler will struggle so she'll say "two bonus minutes". I'll remind him after eight minutes that "he's got two minutes left". He'll ask for bonus minutes, but when I say no there isn't much of a struggle.
Although I know I’m going to need to teach him how to live in our screen-filled world, I’m not sure when I’m going to feel like he’s mature enough to face the intensely addictive properties of the thing. Frankly, my personal experience is that I’m not ready to appropriately handle their addictive properties for myself even now, so...
Our working theory is that by not making screen time precious, we’ve made screens just another toy/tool/way to accomplish something, rather than something to be sought out for their own sake.
I believe all of the source studies are multi-year at least.
My plan for my kids when they're old enough is they'll get Linux laptops to play with, and the option to use Windows if they can figure out how to install it for games.
Because what I want to encourage is understanding how the machine works, that it is a machine and that it can be manipulated, since my most important formative memories when I was young was that my dad was writing his own software to run his business and that core message was something me and my brothers spent a lot of time emulating as play.
Plus changes are immediately visible, kids patience being what it is.
You could also probably stick them in DOSBOX.
You'll be doing just fine if you lay down some boundaries for them limiting the time they spend on any one activity. Bonus points if you take part in those activities with them. :)
Maybe another kid will sit down and learn to fluently speak Latin, but how will it help him/her to live in the modern world where Latin isn't used anymore?
Edit : as I see a downvote, I may further explain what I meant. We should not stop kids to learn what they want, but we should make sure that we don't endanger their futures by letting them learn only what they want. Learning "HFT level c++" is maybe interesting, but it would be a crime to let a kid only learn that for 10 years, and then let him/her figure out that their will be no job for him/her because ML and AI replaced all old programming models, when it is too late and he/she needs an income to actually survive (I'm assuming here people will still have to work to survive in the future)
We just try to limit duration and also use it as a reward system. Our oldest will get himself out of bed and 100% ready for school ( shoes/socks, brush teeth the whole 9 yards) in order to get 20min screen-time before school. I wish he didn't get any before school but I agreed to the preconditions and i always tell him "a deal's a deal".
Our younger son will self-regulate to a point, like he gets bored and will play in his room or throw me a lightsaber and fight. However, he's really really into watching youtube videos of other people playing games with the commentary. He can't get enough of roblox for example so after an hour or so we make him go do something else and take a break.
Both kids are very social and physically active so it doesn't bother me very much. Plus, there are days when, as a parent, you just have nothing left and kids in front of a screen give you a few min. to lick your wounds and recover.
I agree as a parent we have a big role to play in being very aware of practicing what we preach. Obviously that goes with more than just screen time. I've caught myself many times saying that my child cannot go on tablets right now, meanwhile I grab my phone to check emails or read the news...
I don't know what the perfect answer is but I think moderation is needed much more. Especially considering the active effort to make games/apps as addictive to us as possible. I wish the school would adapt a screen-free learning day system where, maybe a couple days each week, all work is done without the need for iPads.
Screen times are in the chunks of 20 mins, max 3 times a day. Alexa/Google have been helpful in setting up timers so no argument at the end whether it was full 20 min or not :-)
After returning from school.
Evening, after completing school/activity work.
Any day, not more than 60 mins(baring occasional movie time holidays/some weekends).
But due to this, I am not able to introduce them to "programming" because you tube and video games are taking up all the quotas and I am sure once programming is introduced 20 min window will not work.
Source - https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2019/01/190109114811.h...
^^ Story of being a parent, right there.
I worry far more about the cyclic "must find new sin and moral panics" trend continuing. I am frankly wondering if it is a biological derangement of life stage akin to impulsiveness of teenagers or reactionary nostalgia of elders.
What is considered functional is shaped by the environment and successes - including norms. Greek Heroes have a different name now in most cases - psychopaths. Oedipus has a funny case of major values dissonance.
Now people would consider him guiltless for marrying his mother because he didn't know and may have been enslaved by destiny but consider him guilty for killing his father over road rage essentially but not because he was his father. No shit one's actions of killing random people for petty reasons will come back to bite them! It is Shakespeare in the bush of interpretations essentially.
That's certainly a good excuse to start some low-effort dopamine releasing habit, but an issue is that we're driven to them even when the reality around us is interesting, and it prevents us from engaging in that reality or developing an interest in it which works against us.
I like to bring up a sense of longterm/after-the-fact fulfillment in these discussions as a gauge of how to spend your time now. I think it's a more or less uncontroversial way to go about life. It's easy to say "well, any time spent having fun is not time wasted" but that fails when it comes to maximizing fulfillment and minimizing regret.
Playing Fortnite on my phone might give me the biggest dopamine release right now and be instantly fulfilling compared to meeting the person next to me sitting at the beach or going for a swim in the crystal clear water. To link it back to something you said, it's a habit I would've developed under more boring scenarios.
But in weeks, months, or years, I know that seizing the opportunity of the beach or meeting someone would be vastly more fulfilling than spending that time on the screen.
My fellow ex-gamer friends have similar lamentations: "I wish I'd spent that time doing anything else than playing all those games." I'd guarantee almost everyone here looks at their time refreshing Instagram/FB/Reddit and maybe even HN in a similar light.
In these comments people always like to point out the good things about screens, like how they learned to program that way. But I think "screen time" in these discussions is a stand-in for the easy way out, and things with screens are the most effective instant escape that humans have ever had. To point out that someone can spend 100% of their screen time doing something they won't regret is like pointing out a couch can actually be used to do tricep dips.
But consider, when I was teaching my friend's little brother Python (on a screen), he kept constantly pulling his smartphone out do something more interesting (in the short term) and was slapping his own wrist for having that habit and genuinely interested in learning to program. Something that is surely more fulfilling in a year than knowing what's going on in social media.
Oedipus seems like he was the prototype for the modern sitcom - nothing but bad luck and misunderstandings.
No one would come out and say “limit your kids’ book time to max 20minutes”.
To your last point, you can get eyestrain from reading for too long(ask any reader!)
That isn't reliable - statistical literacy and especially /native/ staristical literacy is shockingly rare and this is exploited constantly by people with agendas. People think crime is on the rise when it is at historic lows and 1st World Pollution in the toxin sense is getting worse when it has gotten better in many ways.
(The Environment is always a multifaceted thing. Is it better or worse for a vast desert to turn into a monoculture forest? Nonbiodegradability is a bad thing but it technically does sequester some carbon. Still air without lead in it is far better.)
When I became unhappy at work, I realized that also corresponded to a spike in screen time, generally in playing little free games. That's a problem, but increased screen time is only a symptom.
It gives it the context you say is missing, you should give it a shot!
It's 12:30 and I've unlocked my phone 40 times, opened chrome 21 times, and reddit 29 times...
It also shows total pickups, pickups per hour, busy times, etc. and the same for notifications.
It's part of Android 9, I believe. (I have a Nokia 7 Plus)
I've noticed with our young one, that he switches from one video to the next very quickly and seems to have hard time sticking to one video for too long.. as a lesser of two evils, tried putting on the TV and then turning it off after certain time (beaming the content via Chrome and controlling the timing that way)
Are their time rationing apps/systems for iOS devices? Setup timer for 30 minutes and then the device shuts off or locks? I see some paid options when searching online but don't know how well they work and if anyone here has experience with them?
That’s something I’ve considered too. Before- it was incompatible connectors, things that probably didn’t work without drivers, disk fail, keyboard clack....
Now most things always works, it’s smooth glass everywhere you never have to even slightly stomp on something. It’s all about getting them to inject content now.
It’s like we had to grow our own poppies and mash it up to get a little high, and kids get straight purified drip SuperHerion drip now. At least we learned some farming skills.
People have been complaining about screen time since there have been screens. Screens are where all of modern society happens. Keep them away from your kids at your/their own risk.
I'd rather my kid watching useless bouncing balls with me on the couch next to him talking to him about it than watching something "educational" (ha) with me in the next room.
Our 2.5yo gets twenty minutes of Netflix a day (because he likes animals and I can't take him to the zoo every day). But either my wife or I (or usually both) sit on the couch with him and talk to him about what he's seeing.
Don't be scared of screen time. Be scared of screen time as a babysitter.
Anyways, I find the best thing is to pre-screen the content. For a week or so at Christmas my oldest daughter got really into "toy unboxing videos" on youtube. They are mindless, pile of crap videos with millions/billions of views. We set out to find better content and directed her to those. We settled on a character called "Blippi". It's still silly enough for her to stay engaged, but he does videos on garbage trucks and helicopters etc so we feel like there is some learning going on. As she ages, the content we'll direct her to will change. The moral here I guess is you have the power to control the time and content, so do it.
Books and the like aren't really designed this way.
But that is the big difference. What this community should probably be doing, rather than lumping all "screen time" together, is working on ways to curate and present content in ways that doesn't have this problem.
I believe it is an extreme case of throwing out the baby with the bathwater to severely limit the use of anything with a screen, when what you really want to do is break the addictive cycle of the "bad stuff."
99% of the kids I know will ALWAYS opt to veg out and play games or watch Youtube. This was not the case when I was growing up in NYC with all the game-sets and cable TV.
So what are we doing about it?
1 - he is only limited to Netflix. 30min max per day
2 - Every other day, he can play 15-20 min of only a handful of games like Chess, Cut-the-rope, and Lego Adventures on the tablet.
3 - We've decided to move to Patagonia next month so that he will be able to run wild in nature whenever he gets 'bored'.
4 - We quickly realized that the best way to lead is by example, therefore mom and dad put away and don't use the phones at home while he is around. This too has help my severe addiction.
My instincts tell me that the LONGER he stay off devices, the better off he will be. It's like Crack to them. S.Jobs knew that himself, that's why he didn't allow his daughter to touch the stuff.
A medium is the vehicle for content, and content is dictated by the medium. However, the content you the parent or your tiny adult ingest is entirely of your own control. A parent should ensure their tiny adult is receiving that which will help them develop into healthy adults. Most people simply mimic the things they see and practices they observe, which has broad implications for the kind of content a tiny adult should ingest.
Consider this situation: there are only two shows left on the Earth: "Mister Rogers' Neighborhoood" and "Reno 911." Which show should your tiny adult watch to grow them into a healthy adult? The answer, obviously, is the former. The latter can be viewed later in life once the tiny adult has a more complete understanding of right and wrong.
However, seeing my own kids' behavior even when I heavily restrict their screen time makes me question that. When their time is up they wail and moan and yell in a way that goes well beyond the usual kind of complaining kids do. I tightly control the apps that my kids are allowed to use and limit their time (thanks to iOS screen time). In the times when I've taken away iPads as punishment for extended periods, my kids' moods have improved. The amount of arguing has gone down. Their behavior is better. It's inescapable that these things alter them in some way. This is without social media even!
I genuinely don't know what the right answer is. On one hand, they have this amazing machine that is a gateway to all sorts of learning. It's almost like we've stepped into the world of "Diamond Age". On the other hand, it makes them turn into borderline sociopaths, even when they use it for short periods of time. The addictive effect is real too, and that is also frightening. If given the choice between anything and iPad time, iPad time wins hands-down 100% of the time. The human race has entered a whole new unexplored territory.
Even older millennials here remember life before the internet.
If the internet existed at all for people here it was ICQ or MSN, some home town ISP, and grainy playboy pics someone uploaded to a fan site. Not what the internet resembles today.
I agree with you, my screen time strongly influenced me as a programmer and the try-it-see-what-happens logic I find many people lack.
I just don’t think it’s comparable to zoning out on Yahoo Kids for hours.
As kids, learning to use a computer meant working rather closer to the OS, and intrinsically learning diagnosis patterns and tooling.
A smartphone or tablet is not at all the same kind of beast, with most of the mechanics and internals being abstracted - a triumph of a more humanized design, to be sure, but also constraining the direct utility of 'knowing how to use electronic devices' in the same way as it used to.
Furthermore, the intentionally gamified and design-for-addiction principles many apps use is significantly more direct than most apps or games from that older period as well.
The idea is to use a Fitbit to track a kids steps and sleep, and reward them with screen time for every step and every minute of sleep.
Parents decide the rules of exchange for steps and sleep to screen time.
Now the sad part is you can still access them on your browser and because of gamification, it is so easy to lose the track of time on those sites. I used to keep reading articles for hours even though I haven't finished a single task for the day.
What screentime offers me is a check which actually what I needed. It is like a teacher/friend who reminds me you are spending more time than supposed to in categories which is not important for you. At the moment, social media seems waste of time for me and so I set it up for a 5-minute limit. If I am reading important stuff on social media and it binges me the limit time. I think that check helps in reminding what is urgent and what is important and don't mind it as a problem as other people commented.
But I read 90 books a year on an ereader, so perhaps I'm biased.
The "social media loop" that haunts many adults is not really different from whatever cravings kids are going through, and in both cases it can be combated with scheduled activity breaks that involve getting up and doing a bit of housework or going outside for few minutes. It promotes better sleep habits while not really limiting the core activity.
I would definitely not recommend encouraging anyone to go from one sedentary activity(games, Youtube) to another(homework, coding etc.) directly - that's something that makes "screen time" a nebulous timesink.
I catch myself getting anxious about my posture even though my back/neck doesn't hurt in the evening. And I think about my eyes a lot and how I don't want to 'damage' them even more.
Little things like this you know... it's the best self-concluded research out there.
And she's a researcher committed to good scientific practice.
Her tl;dr is that yeah, there are negative effects, but they're small and the data is messy. And screen time is a bad concept, because it lumps together very different things.
> Well-being was more strongly associated, either positively or negatively, with most of these other variables than with digital-technology use. In fact, regularly eating potatoes was almost as negatively associated with well-being as was technology use, and the negative association between wearing glasses and well-being was greater.
How severe are the winters where you live? I've never been anywhere where you couldn't go out with proper clothing.
And I don't see much difference between books/ board games and screen time (except allowing them to browse youtube etc)
It’s as if all of the movies are using special effects drenched in CGI all of the time.
You can't alt+tab on real life activities very easily (generally).
There are plenty of other non-screen indoor activities. Games, books, being involved cooking dinner and doing chores, homework, etc.
At my house, we have a ton of craft supplies and my kids love doing crafts. It doesn't have to be expensive either. Old toilet paper rolls, cardboard boxes, pipe cleaners, coloured paper, glue. All very cheap and very fun for a kid.
But if you think about it, the device screen time has really replaced the television of our youth. It is used more as a way to babysit our children so we do not have to engage with them.
"The authors’ overall calculations did find a statistically significant negative association between technology use and well-being: more screen time is associated with lower well-being in the young people surveyed. But the effects are so small — explaining at most 0.4% of the variation in well-being — as to be of little practical value."
The association between digital technology use and adolescent well-being is negative but small, explaining at most 0.4% of the variation in well-being. These effects are too small to warrant policy change.
I do NOT consider it a problem that my kids spend a lot of time playing with computers (smartphone, tablet, laptop) too.