"Well, Stan, the truth is marijuana probably isn't gonna make you kill people, and it most likely isn't gonna fund terrorism, but… well, son, pot makes you feel fine with being bored. And it's when you're bored that you should be learning some new skill or discovering some new science or being creative. If you smoke pot you may grow up to find out that you aren't good at anything."
An endless stream of Facebook or Twitch or YouTube probably won't do acute harm, but it fills a void that might have otherwise been filled with something more nurturing.
But... I have a cousin who spent an insane amount of time watching YouTube. She loves all the usual personalities. And one day something clicked in her and she wanted to do it too. She spent an incredible amount of her free time bashing her head against creative tools, learning how to animate and draw and make video.
She's 13 and can use illustrator and a Wacom and publish animations to YouTube. All self taught. I'm jealous. My parents had the best interests in mind but still did the, "get off the X and go play outside." My cousin has parental figures who noticed and nurtured her passion, even though it looked a whole lot like her YouTube addiction. Buying her a tablet and whatnot.
So like all important issues I'm left with "balance" being probably the safest approach.
When I was 11 I was riding a skateboard around until I got into coding and by 13 I had Hello World and an OpenGL triangle and felt so empowered.
Some of these kids though are pumping out small 3D games about whatever interests them with their own custom shaders and models. Part of that is access to information / better tools, but also I feel part of it is being tuned to absorb, find, and filter information through these mediums. If they are into something they will grasp it at astounding rates.
I haven’t come across any education system currently that outright targets exploring the interest space or doing a good job of offering to kids why they should be interested in something that isn’t immediately obviously very cool or fun or feeling attainable. And for a lot of them this is exactly what they need, if not all they need if there’s a lot of easy to absorb information online.
Someone might come out of reading this article with the idea: "so, there's no harmful link between digital screen use and young people’s psychological well-being".
Whereas the full story is:
a) A random 2017 study said that.
b) We aren't shown the criticisms from other studies done later on this one (e.g. for its methodology, etc)
c) We aren't told that scientific papers have a huge reproducibility crisis
d) We aren't told that papers in soft-sciences like psychology have even worse crisis
e) We aren't told that what "well being" is fuzzy and depends on one's definition. The article implies that some PhDs doing a study can determine generally, and across cultures and worldviews, what "well being" is. Which would be very convenient, but hardly realistic -- instead they just take their culture's current biases for wellbeing as a universal default (or measure some trivial aspects of it, e.g. the kids don't end up having worse health stats).
Right. I strongly suspect there's a correlation (and in fact causation) between lots of video watching and lower reading level.
I don't know if there are low-level brain effects, but I think once a child realizes that one can watch a movie or read the same book, the easier and more visual option is going to look more attractive. Reading is fairly hard work at first...
"Learning to Read in Your 30s Profoundly Transforms the Brain"
The real take away is that, even if there is an actual effect on well being, digital screen time's effect on well being is likely less than 1% of variation.
Which is a mostly meaningless effect.
The shared environmental impact on behavioral and psychological traits is next to zero in every instance ever examined.
Who actually worries about children's "well-being" (in the short term) being impaired by too much iDevices?
I'm concerned about interference with learning and development needed to interact with actual people and the physical world.
The kids themselves may not be particularly unhappy about losing those skills as long as mummy and daddy earn the money, serve the meals and drive them to daycare, but long term it's a major blow to their lives as independent individuals and the vitality of society, if the risk proves to realize itself to actual problems.
Weird stance to effectively advocate unfettered full-scale testing at high stakes just because the "has never been conclusive evidence that screens are a direct cause of harm".
"Data from 19,957 telephone interviews with parents of 2‐ to 5‐year‐olds assessed their children's digital screen use and psychological well‐being in terms of caregiver attachment, resilience, curiosity, and positive affect in the past month."
Still plenty to quibble with in the study though.
Correlation is not causation.
You're taking it given that tech is a cause of that, but it may well be that other trends are driving kids to be indoors and separated from their peers (see various "mother gets arrested for letting child walk half a mile to a park" news stories), with tech merely filling the gap of lost activities.
And just like parents need to exercise some level of control over their childrens' diets, they should exercise control over their technology use.
At least in a UK context, "mother arrested for letting child walk to park" stories aren't realistic, but kids here still spend an awful lot of time using technology.
Kids today who spend at least 20x the time with iDevices still end up socially successful. You base the argument on the actual use of devices being comparable to sugar consumption. Are you saying there is evidence supporting that? I thought the lack of that very evidence was the basis of the discussion.
The father had completely disappeared from view before he realized his son was still on the other side of the store. Upon returning he complained to him, "I've been doing all sorts of silly tricks for you, and you aren't even there!" but didn't seem to make the connection with the phone, or take it away.
My best guess is that giving devices to toddlers is so popular for the same reason putting them in front of a TV is popular. It's the same sedative, in a more convenient form factor.
Is the idea that only the kids being studied will be subject to this deficiency? I'm pretty sure it would be widespread, and that society itself would adapt.
I'm not arguing with "tendentious," though. These studies are invariably BS.
Books would cause the same withdrawal from actual people and the physical world, yet I haven't seen anybody warn of too much reading in quite a while.
No. "Also", but not "the same". And certainly not in the same way.
rimliu made a similar point earlier https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=19074971
In my opinion the analogy is basically valid, but it's not clear that they are comparable.
I think that's a problem of all those studies actually. After all, reading books is a subset of things you could do on a tablet device.
No question there are harmful apps and movies, optimized to increase addiction. Few people you should simply hand kids these devices and never check what they are doing.
And presumably, harmful books also do exist. It probably makes a difference what kind of books you read.
But the fact is, we already have a generation of young adults more accustomed to conducting our lives via technology than face-to-face in the physical world. I greatly prefer conducting my business through user interface and electronic communication over use of the phone. Incidentally, my parents' generation preferred the phone to face-to-face interaction.
I don't think we really need to worry about real-world interaction skills being lost. Kids still go to physical school where they have face-to-face interaction. Maybe that will one day not overwhelmingly be the case, but we can cross that bridge when we come to it.
But first off, most people didn't do that sort of reading (if ever) until they were a couple of years into school, because of the reading skill threshold, and second, the books tend to hook you only to the extent that they offer a compelling story, and generally run out pretty soon, with some reservations about re-readability.
Contrast that with things like the parents at a New Year's party I attended recently, giving their two-year-old daughter a touchscreen phone to keep her pacified, and she sits mesmerized poking stupid bright colors and sparkles, not making eye contact, ignoring grown-ups when they did talk to her, except when pressed about being offered ice-cream, which she declined.
Ponder that. Poking brightly colored sparklies is higher priority to that kid than even taking a break a few minutes for ice cream.
I think you did pay with other opportunities for your reading, but I suspect it also gave you a lot that you would be willing to pay that for over again if you were asked to consciously make the choice.
There are real trade-offs involved.
But anecdotally from what I see, the books were introduced at a less sensitive stage, hooked into better motivational systems in more benign way, and gave more back for the time spent. Time on the sparkly poking slabs can also be paid with time that would normally be used to tune the fundamentals of how it works to be a functioning human being, and for a great many uses it's not clear to me that it gives all that much back at all beyond cheap thrills in the moment, whether it's some slot-machine-like like matching game, restyling your selfie with a cartoon dog nose, fall-on-your-ass-videos or Facebook.
The quantitative differences are so big that they are qualitative differences, and some caution is in order.
maybe the physical world is overrated
haha Try looking at language acquisition or physical development and screen time. Many studies linked here:
For babies, I am not sure what to think. Who watches 1 hour of movies with their baby? Were they really able to disentangle that from all other factors (socioeconomic status and so on)?
For the past several generations, each generation has encountered entirely new forms of media and technology that revolutionize social and economic processes. Each preceding generation confronts that change with full-scale freak out. Everything in moderation. It'll all probably be okay.
I came across a fascinating BBC article on treating ADHD with music 
> "The ability to time, to synchronise with others underlies all face to face communication," says Khalil. "People imagine that synchronizing is doing something simultaneously. But synchronizing actually means processing time together - perceiving time together in such a way that we have this common understanding of how time is passing."
The stated issues the article lists ("well being") is not the primary concern that most people I have discussed this with - or at least, does not appear to be on the surface.
The fear is long term effects of sustained screen time for long periods that supplant all other forms of play may essentially stunt some forms of social or physical development and at a later age have significant negative effects on their ability to cope and/or function in terms of social ability, attention span etc.
Well-being is not clearly enough defined for me to take a proper conclusion out of this article, and the studies I clicked through to (albeit, quickly) I could not access.
Also, to make a sweeping conclusion about "Tech's harmful effects on kids" from that measurement seems as foolhardy as thinking that technology is also extremely damaging to children - it's just one measurement, and does not apply to a whole range of other potential issues.
Not a fan of this title. The article itself appears to mostly be arguing that screens are a useful tool for children to utilise and are not damaging as such compared with other methods of play, which is a fair argument, but the title and the common complaints don't marry up.
Any study that says being selfish as a way of life is not "harmful" is flawed in the most fundamental manner.
Ironically, you just disregarded other opinions to focus purely on your own interests
The trick is to find the things that are right for both/multiple parties, not _only_ yourself. There's possibly no such things a pure selflessness. Even an act of giving provides a benefit to the giver, even if it's only an emotional one.
And, I am allowed to disregard everyone else's opinions, it's a fundamental right of every living being.
More importantly, if we only rely (or somehow over value) science instead of common sense, then all it takes is another counter argument from "science" to change our minds. This is being blown around by the wind instead of thinking for yourself.
Good luck making your decision giving too much weight to recent studies, which will probably be validated 20 years from now; if.
Children growing up without screen time have stood the test of time (think robustness); I’m not so certain the ones growing up with iPads will.
"Why do I need to learn this when photomath does it for me?" was often heard, or they'd just Google the answers because they're there. They work a lot less hard to try to get stuff, and it hurts their discipline and focus, for sure. And I'm going to stop my rant there, because I could continue on with it forever.
By no means am I simply saying that this means that there can't be an issue with screen-time - Simply that older generations have a long and ignoble history of "this type of stuff".
In my day, if it was cold, and it was always cold, you just beat something warm to death with your bare hands and ate your way inside. Built character.
I've yet to see anything that is used in excess that is harmless. The use of tech these days reminds me of television watching in the past. It has been impossible to determine TV's impact on society but it has had an impact but we can't tell if it's been good or bad.
I also think that one study can't possibly test the whole impact of tech on kids' development.
A generation from now there will be an impact but we won't know whether it's been good or bad. What I do know is that there is an opportunity cost by tech on a whole generation. Time that could have been used on other activities but yet it would have been used on apps.
I think it's up to parents to make sure their kids use their time effectively and it's not lost in front of a useless app.
Why must there be a problem with screen use? Why can't you live in a world where screen use is neutral?
No one has a scientific approach to allowing new inventions anywhere. So many chemicals being used everywhere until sometime in the future the damage is known and visible.
They then proceed to massage the data in a bunch of different ways, in no small part because they acknowledge that their variables ended up providing no decent mapping of reliability - in the study's words, "these variables were not combined into a composite well‐being measure because the reliability of these items was relatively low." And after this massaging and subjective "normalizing" they conclude that TV and video games are just awesome for 2-5 year olds.
Ultimately on complex topics that cannot be objectively and meaningfully tested you can generally prove whatever you want to prove. To actually have something vaguely resembling meaning here you'd need to take a random sampling of children and then require that one group provide no access to digitech, another provide 1-2 hours of digitech, and the final group 5+ hours or whatever. Do this for years and then compare the children using objective measurements determined by a blind third party or examination. The random factor there is also required. If you just survey households that chose to allow their children e.g. 0 or 5+ hours of digitech per day, then you're going to get some severe environmental and perhaps genetic confounding variables in your results. In any case no study like this is ever going to happen in modern times.
And granted even that sort of study would have a million possible flaws, but studies such as the one this article are just jokes. And they are very much the rule rather than the exception. We tend to attribute quality to something with a doctorate or two behind it, but publish or perish alongside let's say 'motivated' research is increasingly distorting science.
 - https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1111/cdev.13007
Just to be clear, I'm not talking about doing science but communicating it. Even just cataloging the various studies and assigning some sort of label for reliability like you just did would be valuable.
As you acknowledge, there is an awful lot of noise, but as a layman I have no way of separating the signal from the noise.
But qualifying exactly which studies you should, or should not, give weight to is a task that's ultimately going to also involve substantial bias. If I want to argue that digitech is good for kids, I'm going to be able to create very reasonable sounding criteria that would include studies such as this. If I want to argue that digitech is bad for kids, I'm still going to be able to create very reasonable sounding criteria yet one that would exclude studies such as this. The same problem inherent in the individual studies also ends up emerging in the meta-analyses as well.
Aggregating data in some ways takes you even further away from the truth. Here you can reasonably show that this study is not so great, yet imagine this was part of hundreds of different studies all packed together with a sample size aggregate of hundreds of thousands. It may very well be that that meta-analysis was also loaded with dubious work, such as this, yet it becomes vastly more tedious to illustrate such. And as the rate of publication continues to exponentially increase, then going forward into the future we will eventually be faced with things such as meta-analyses of meta-analyses. Meta-meta-analysis I suppose?
The point is always simplified for some broad guidance rule while ignoring the required complexity to properly understand and advice on a 'problem.'
That and people lie/embellish when interviewed on the phone, so that would have a huge margin of error.
Advertising, influencing, addiction, social breakdowns, attachments, medications, wealth, etc, all play a role in what creates a negative environment for young people on the internet.