The amazing things they come up with when I come back to the room to let them know it’s over. I’ve never seen them play the same way twice. They get bored at first, and then get creative, which turns into a ton of fun for them as they imagine new ways to use a toy.
It’s common now for them to hang out for another 30-40 minutes to finish their play scenario they built over that two hours.
It’s an investment in creativity, making more with less, there is no technology involved, just wood blocks, a few figures maybe, puzzles, or books, and I’m constantly impressed now with what they are doing with their time.
The constant feeling that parents need to have non stop activity, education, and entertainment for their kids I think is one of the biggest detriments to their development.
Let kids be kids, let them play, let them screw up, and let them figure it out themselves.
We are raising future adults, not just biologically older children.
I don't think that is what the author is promoting.
"Of course, it’s not really the boredom itself that’s important; it’s what we do with it. When you reach your breaking point, boredom teaches you to respond constructively, to make something happen for yourself. But unless we are faced with a steady diet of stultifying boredom, we never learn how."
I think they are arguing for actual boredom. Not an activity book, not an open acre on which to roam. Not a puzzle game. They are saying that being locked in the back seat of a car on a long trip with literally nothing to do, can be good. They are not saying that parents should allow unstructured play. They are saying that letting kids get actually bored, without any sort of play options, is not an evil to be avoided at all costs.
I think the point is addressing the urge to endlessly entertain and busy up children constantly instead of letting them just sit and figure it out on their own.
Can you give any more detail about how this works? At what age did you start doing it, what's in the boxes, and how did you introduce the idea to your kids?
The activity boxes can be whatever you wish honestly. I have 6 I rotate currently.
My two year old is sensory and loves tactile things to play with. My 4 year old is highly imaginative and I can give him sticks and he builds a hockey rink and plays the game out in his mind with sound effects and everything.
I don’t think there is a wrong way to do it, I just avoid technology and putting too much in them.
A nice side effect is I buy them less toys because by the time they get to the last box, it feels brand new to them even if they played with those toys 20 times prior.
That bit of it shocked me, we spoil kids too much with new stuff, just make them use what they have in a way that feels new.
I intend to homeschool my kids, and I’ve never met a more intense group of parents when it comes to their childrens upbringing and development than when I went to the Arizona homeschooling conference the last couple of years.
Even if you have no intent to homeschool your toddlers, the resources and ideas for activities and at home development is pure gold in my opinion.
One box is literally the bottom of a wooden puzzle board, missing the puzzle pieces naturally, because God knows where they went a year ago, about 8 small wood blocks, and a matchbox car.
Currently my 4 year old makes that a hockey rink and the blocks are players. The car is the zamboni. Last month it was a destruction derby with towers.
Use whatever is at hand, many of the boxes don't have much else than some cotton balls, sticks, and rocks, and others are more involved.
The point is to rotate them through every once in awhile and it becomes new again. They invent new things to do with it each time it comes through.
On the occasion I've looked in on the play, you can see them fight it initially, my two year old will shuffle around the room for a while or take a quick nap, my 4 year old will lay on the bed or fuss for a bit, and within 30 minutes they'll gravitate to the box and start working it out.
I do two hours typically, sometimes one hour, there really isn’t a set rule, you simply feel it out with your own children.
Unfortunately that reflects more on the parents than it does on the children.
I don't know if you have kids, and if you do and have the one in a million golden children, congratulations, but in my experience, conflict exists.
"Let Adults Get Bored Again"
Parenting is also about adult self-discipline.
So if you want your kids to be truthful, disciplined and respectful .. try to start with yourself.
I know too many parents, who sneak out to smoke their bad habit cigarette or joint, while preaching their children to never smoke .. and I suspect all their children find out about that at some point.
Admitting to have faults as well, is very important, but especially hard for many, as they think their authority will suffer.
Humans are not perfect. Also not parents. Children can handle that.
I also do martial arts with kids. It teaches them how to fight, but more importantly, not needing to fight, especially not weaker ones, to feel superior. If you know you are strong, you don't have to show off. People with low self esteem does that.
The same for victim or maybe even more importantly. You have to actively teach the kid behaviors that makes it less likely bullied, in situation when the kid is not bullied right now. Even if you are naturally assertive, the kid may not be and you gotta actively work with it.
And didn't I say I do martial arts and it is much more about fighting? If done right, the agressor stops doing so as he don't need it anymore to feel confident and the victim walks upright and does not have written "victim" on their head anymore.
Second, no, one intervention is not enough, for neither kid. It takes repeated interventions as behavior goes away and comes back sometimes in different form. It is not just about walking upright either.
These are strong habits in both children when talking about repeated issues. And aggressors motivation are more complicated then just confidence (situation in family that wont go away, parents who encourage aggression etc). In martial club, you need to stop the behavior while in club (not accepted here), in home you deal with it repeatedly and need to change it in situations you don't control at all and know only half of.
Be a good example.
He was enthralled but I think at some point the story becomes more grim. Plus, it'd be hard to resume now because he's old enough to read over my shoulder and there'd be no way of hiding violent bits then.
There IS an exception. If the thing they choose to do with their time has online instructions or they will be learning from a tutorial, etc, then the screen can be used to a degree.
They start off bored. They may get ahead on some homework. The littlest one takes the longest to figure out what to do. Often times I ask if they want to play a board game, or go somewhere with me, walk the dog, etc. But if I'm in the middle of something else, it's up to them.
It takes a few minutes, but, before you know it, they're on the floor in their bedroom drawing, or building something elaborate out of cardboard, the LEGOs come out, or nerf darts start flying through the house.
And for the older kids, they will get out of the house, reach out to a friend, read a book, or study a new topic.
Being bored doesn't last long when you don't have a choice. The hardest part is getting started with that "something new".
If you didn’t grow up with it you can’t understand how stressful it is to maintain friendships when your parents will randomly take away your phone. Its like being randomly grounded over and over for years.
Parents are not encouraged to give children unlimited access to alcohol or tobacco or hard drugs. Sure, they might find ways to break the rules, but are those rules then completely useless? Plenty of teenagers will claim that the rules just caused them to rebel, when in reality the rules were mostly effective and the teenagers are criticising a system from a sample size of 1 with no control.
This "rules are bad" is just silly. Kids aren't perfect and not every flaw is due to the parents making an egregious mistake - often the actions of parents are ones that make children into better people. It's also telling that the archetypal advocate progressive "child-centered" education (where natural consequences are good but authority is bad) was Rousseau, who never raised children himself.
I ruined my college years playing video games 3 hrs a night in my dorm for the entire year. The addiction is real.
Transferring, this wasn't maintainable, and it was honestly my saving grace for entering the workforce. I developed the self discipline necessary to meet the requirements, and 3 hours a day was way more "free time" than I had to actually network, expose myself to new ideas, and handle coursework.
At the easier school, I realize in retrospect that the extra time should've been used building things, making connections, or getting involved in extracurricular work.
Even now, a bit later in life with a family and a career, 3 hours is far more time than I have to waste on a game and still maintain connections with my family, handle household responsibilities, and develop interests that might help me grow as an engineer in the long term.
Maybe you just had fun, gaming?
Then I don't think it was wasted time. I would consider it only wasted, if you did it out of bad habit and no better plans.
Having fun has diminishing returns. At some point, like with any addictive behavior, it becomes a matter of habit. Tons of people are in this rut and don't realize.
There are tons of other fun activities that come with positive side effects like physical fitness or an in-person social group
College was useful (at least for me) for those two aspects, neither of which I would have been able to really do well with 3 hours a night of gaming.
Post-college? Do whatever you’d like. In-college, you’re paying for time you won’t get back. :)
I deeply regret it.
Being a parent is hard, and mistakes are going to be made. Positive intent is important.
In my experience my parents issued blanket bans and the threat of punishment for eating sugary foods, using the internet and watching TV. All this did was cause me to binge on all three whenever I had the opportunity at a friend's house, and that behavior extended into my adulthood until I was able to break free of my parents and seek the advice of reasonable adults to help curb my addictive behaviors.
When I discussed this with my parents they doubled down on their behavior, washed their hands of responsibility and blamed me. They used the same tired "how you behave when you are an adult is up to you" line. I hope you aren't doing the same to your children.
I take the somewhat contrarian view: kids (at some age) need to learn to cope with absolute limits that are strictly enforced. How else will they cope with living in real society? Not paying your rent will get you kicked out. Driving over the speed limit will get you a ticket, or worse. Not showing up to an exam in college means you fail the class.
Not saying you should have draconian rules on everything. But some rules need to be enforced with (reasonable) consequences. Otherwise you are doing your children a disservice, IMHO.
My kid has limited screen time that is strictly enforced, roughly 30 minutes a day. They're well aware of this fact and when it will happen.
We occasionally make exceptions for things like movies or what have you on the weekends.
This is not binary. As they grow older, kids should be able to take control of their lives more and more. Probably much more than the average parent thinks they should.
Edit: To clarify, I don't mean kids should become more skillful in controlling themselves according to their parents wishes. I mean the parents should gradually micromanage their kids less and less as they get older.
Indeed. It's strange to me that people try to do things any other way. At the start, you have a tiny person who has no idea how to function in the world and is entirely dependent on others. Somewhere around two decades later, you have someone who needs to be ready to go out into the world on their own and operate independently. How else could you possibly get them from one to the other effectively if not by introducing more freedom and more responsibility over time as they become mature enough to handle them?
Probably the biggest complaint when I've spoken about childhoods with friends of my own generation, and the thing we pretty much all agree we want to avoid with our own generation of children, is strict and arbitrary-seeming rules that remain in place for far too long. Obviously no five-year-old is ready to make their own fully informed decisions about everything. But a fifteen-year-old? Hopefully by then they'll be making most decisions for themselves and relying on their parents more as advisers and a safety net than as figures of authority.
I've read stories of folks successfully getting their kids to manage their own screen time.
There are ways to get interested in things other than hobbies that give you a surface level exposure to hardware and software.
It was actually fun and felt like an achievement.
In the end, totalitarian views are what got us into the current political climate. Being able to negotiate, and sometimes push boundaries and break rules are important life skills.
But don't tell them that.
In this situation the rule had been fulfilled, the meal was finished, and so finding a way to get back online was perfectly "lawful".
I'm pretty legalistic in a rational way with domestic rules for my kids - they can't flout the rules but they can provide a logical challenge and change the rules.
This situation was poor time management on my child's behalf.
Serious question. I'm 40 and couldn't do that without a screen. I go off and play board games with some folks and we usually (but not always) use facebook to plan. A couple of folks don't have social media (by choice), but those folks aren't exactly taking phone calls nor does anyone really appreciate unexpected visitors. (I personally won't answer the door if I don't expect a visitor).
The idea that "nor does anyone really appreciate unexpected visitors." is a recent concept. When I was growing up, that is just how it worked - you knocked on a door. If they were busy or could not play, you respected that and left. If they really didn't have time for you, they just wouldn't answer the door. Obviously, you'd make plans if you didn't live near each other, but kids running around the local neighborhood pulling each other out of homes to play outside was literally an every day experience.
It is truly a difference in generations at this point. I find it disturbing and annoying to get texts and phone calls, but friendly and welcome for friends to stop by and say hello.
While there sometimes is some parental organisation by phone or text, for the most part, local kids just have to go out to see who's available, then be home by whatever time we decide to be the latest.
I realise this will not work across all locations, but out here in the boonies it works a charm.
If some kid comes by asking for my kids and they are not in, (s)he just walks to the next house or playground trying their luck. If I expect my kids back soon, I just invite the kid at the door in to wait for them.
For some reason, when this happens, they usually don't end up just doing screen stuff with their friends. No idea why. Maybe exercising to bike/walk to their friends' houses gets them in a play-outside mood?
I admit it would be trickier for more remote kids, but in that situation asking a parent to set up a play-date (or making a no-screen exception for calling friends on the phone to schedule) would likely work well.
Not impossible, but likely it'd be a purpose-bought feature phone.
Most have access to one, in the developed world.
So there's the option, but it's a service change for many. Which is an argument against your comment.
If you're taking the broader view -- outside developed countries, or to a time when POTS / PSTN are deprecated or abandoned, and I could see that happening within the next five years given recent trends, possibly not. Which is an argument for your comment.
My experience is that both landline and mobile have their own extreme annoyance and distraction factors. So be it.
Outright dismissal may be not fully appropriate and premature though.
Though again, that's households without landline service. The households still have landline access, in the sense that they're wired to the network.
The actual penetration is closer to 20% now in many regions. Staggeringly low. And again, I think PSDN as a whole -- that's mobile dialed and VOIP SIP calls, as well as POTS -- may not be long for this world. The spam / robocall issue is the tip of the iceberg. Personal and business fraud is another major element.
For median household income it would cost 1.5% of after tax income for just the landline
In ancient times, the frequently-called numbers list was pinned next to the phone.
They are learning to manage this kind of situation, for sure: that is, random disruption.
I see them learning peculiar time management strategies that they will have to unlearn as adults.
I see them learning that their efforts on medium-difficulty tasks are often going to be randomly wasted and are therefore not worth bothering with.
I don't like it when someone tells me what to do, but I'll be damned if I let my kids run wild and do whatever they want.
> nerf darts
Sometimes I wonder if people don't realize prep - actually having something to interact with - is needed for this to work.
Sad but true. I'm super self-conscious of dancing because when I was little my mom would always chaperone these events and watch me. Now I always feel like there's somebody standing around with nothing better to do but analyze my every move, judging who I'm talking to, saying, etc. When my friends come over I hate even talking to them in the house because I know she's listening. Same thing with phone calls in the house. I always need to go for a walk for that.
Yes - they turn almost anything into a toy. They have access to all sorts of stuff to build things - lego, clay (and clay sculpting tools), scissors and paper, plenty of board games, and outdoors even when cold and/or rainy.
I doubt Socrates would've developed into such an intellectual powerhouse without his iPad as a young lad.
Wouldn't it just feel like a chore or homework at that point and not something you enjoy ?
People don't realize that a lot of people with large tech exposure severely restrict access to things like phones/laptops. Gates and Jobs come to mind iirc.
There's tons of research showing that exposure to toys decreases creativity and the ability to play on your own with improvised toys. Learning how to use an operating system is trivial with the help of google. All of the arguments for letting your kids have unfettered access to electronics rest on the faulty assumption that familiarity is the important part of learning how to solve technical problems or to gain interest in technical subjects when there's just no consistent evidence to show this.
My point: in every generation the parents complain that kids are spending too much time with the new form media. What they really want is for their kids to do what they did at the same age. Time moves forwards.
Rather than pretend it is still the 1980s, parents should be more worried about their kids not being able to keep up with modern media. Can't bounce between multiple windows, researching this and that while answering emails and composing a policy document on the fly? Can't create a policy document from scratch, along with all necessary citations and formatting, in under an hour? Then you won't be doing my job. "Screen time" can be wasteful, but it is increasingly a necessary skill.
Except the problem these days is that algorithms are preying on human weaknesses and taking advantage of addictive characteristics. Things like video games and youtube videos are purposefully making themselves so addictive that it's different from before. I'm not one to say "this time it's different" but this time it really is.
Basically apply the best practices that you had 25 years ago for TV (not too much, make sure it's not too much for their age, etc) and you'll probably be fine too.
In literature, such tricks can include a short episodic narrative that negates any need for long-term retention of information (short chapters). Reward centers of the brain are triggered by predictable plots. The reader feels smart when they are able to predict what it coming. Banal subject matter also helps get the product into the hands of kids (a book about a wizard school, or a game about farming rather than a casino). Then you wrap a community around the product. You give people the opportunity to advertise their participation and success with the product. You sell the knickknacks to display to their friends. Then you ensure the product has no end. You spread everything out over years so that, no matter how much they pay today, there will always be another purchase to make in the future.
Star Trek has been described as addictive, I think that can be extended to Harry Potter. I'd bet good money that Disney has people working to keep Star Wars as addictive as possible.
Board-games are just substandard video games.
So much of the world is fixated on our addictive devices and trying to find ways to live without them are difficult, even damaging in some ways.
I really do miss those days I could leave the house with just keys and wallet, and had the world around me to provide my entertainment. Today, I am constantly pulling out my phone at the first inkling of boredom.
Finding balance is crucial for all aspects in life, our devices are the same, and developing enough discipline to shed our serotonin inducing toys for a few hours a day is a challenge we will all have to face. Otherwise we will be hollow and hunched over glowing screens for the rest of our lives.
This is such an idyllic revisionist take.
I remember having to take wallet, keys, extra cash and coins for things you couldn't pay with card or with the phone, street guide (cause there's no way I'm remembering the dozens of bus lines that run in my city), pocket calendar, pencil, random paper scribbles, and a book or two.
For the things you needs keys and wallet things are exactly the same. For everything else, the amount of crap I need to lug around has dropped dramatically. Hell nowadays I can travel to foreign countries and not even go through the hassle of going to an exchange rate, getting maps, asking for directions and getting lost going the wrong way, etc.
Back in the ‘90s, you had to prepare to hang out in the city centre with a few friends. Nowadays you can literally improvise your life by the hour and everything will be alright. It’s incredibly liberating.
Cities can be great places for kids - you get tons of social skills very early, build knowledge, and make connections that can help you tremendously later in life. There is a reason “country boy” is typically used as a slur. If I could go back in time, I’d force my parents to live even closer to the city centre as possible.
I live in suburbia now and I fear my kids are not going to pick up enough street-smarts.
I don't understand how you built social skills quicker than me? how did you build more connections than me and how did they help you later in life?
I lived in a medium sized village near a large town. I went to school like you, I was socialised like you, I left to work in London when I was 19 and now at 36 run the pre-sales practice for one of the worlds largest software vendors.
I can't imagine having to live in the city, can't ride anywhere, have to deal with too many people, no space of my own to grow up, no massive garden with a pool, nowhere near the beach. How can you ride your bike to the lakes with your friends and fishing rods if all you have access to is the underground and trams? How could bike anywhere? How could you just play ball in the street?
I take my 4 year old boy surfing every morning, he plays on my 1 acre property and loves the animals, we swim in our pool most days. I know people from London that didn't even learn to swim and have never seen an animal that wasn't a pet. My 7 year old girl goes to one of the best private schools in the state and is a straight A student, she has many friends and is part of many societies. Some of these things you can recreate in the city, most you cannot.
We moved to Australia and we live in the hinterland / country. I can't imagine a better for for my kids to grow up. What 'street smarts' are they not getting? What street smarts can they not get when I send them to a university in a city?
I see kids heading to the beach to surf with each other all the time, you don't get that in the city. Imagine subjecting your kids to city pollution so they can make some imaginary Connections .
My kids have a cinema room built for computer games, they have a music room where they can make as much noise as they want. They have learnt responsibility due to being in charge of the chickens that live in my garden. You learnt to ride the bus... my kids learnt to ride the bus too..
Maybe things are different in America? Maybe your country boys are not like our. Maybe your countryside is different?
Hint: there are places in the world where cities are (shocking!) not like London. They have beaches, they have amenities, and the upper classes live there rather than in little villages like the depressing London belt. Chances are you go there on holiday, because the weather in your corner of the world is significantly worse. (Well, maybe not now you’re in Oz, which is almost entirely countryside. I’m sure you know the stereotypes for Oz people too - or rather you’ll never learn them, like with country boy, because they’ll just whisper them to your back).
I am sorry you associate cities with misery because London sucks. You might want to splash some of your massive moolah on seeing the world. I hope your kids won’t grow up to be insecure pricks, god knows we have enough of those.
You've made a lot of assumptions about me that simply are not true - hope you enjoy giving your kids asthma and cancer. Hope Trump let's teachers carry guns, might stop one of your brethren from blasting your kids away during morning classes.
Maybe piss off with your ignorance on Australia too. You know fuck all.
If this is the effect of growing up around here (I live in Cheadle, btw, since you're familiar with the area), I'll ship out my kids to the Beautiful Country as soon as I can, fuck me.
Implying that the only reason people with kids live in a city is because they're stupid? What in the world are you on about? I've read the below thread, and this is one of the most bizarre takes I've seen in a long time.
Everyone has a different every-day-carry. I didn't take the bus or carry books daily, so I was less burdened than you.
The conveniences and benefits our devices provide are apparent. But the pervasiveness of our devices have conditioned us to rely on them for much more than these daily conveniences.
These days, it feels pretty liberating that I could pack a few changes of clothes, jump in a lyft, head to the airport booking a flight along the way to a city I've never been and being able to explore with little effort or preparation.
Hell, when I was in India last, I was surprised at how easily I was able to make my way around Bangalore.
Things have changed for certain, some for the better, others for the worse. As a society, I'm sure we'll adapt.
Despite navigation being very good, I still will invest a couple hours just driving around a new city. Worth it. Having done that, the map is gold.
Over time, I've gotten good by doing that too. I can drop into a city, roam around a bit and get a good feel for the place.
My phone is important enough to my vocation that if it malfunctioned, I'd replace it immediately. I also use an ipad mini as a navigation tool. One makes a great backup for the other.
Today you take your extra cash and coins and throw it away because nobody accepts it anymore. Digital payments only. That’s how it works in Sweden.
I never stopped carrying and using cash. I'm even a bit perplexed that carrying cash is seen as a a hassle... it goes into my wallet, which I carry around anyway for my ID,etc. It's just a bit of paper, it takes up virtually no space and weighs virtually nothing.
I would detaste living in a digicash only world
It also fits a single folded high value banknote. Never to be used but is there in case of emergency.
He said in the interview that anytime he drives in his car, he would not talk on his phone or listen to the radio. It was complete silence for the duration of the drive. And most of his best work and ideas came from these "silent drives" because he was forced to be creative and use his imagination to keep himself entertained.
Driving is the classic 'zone' activity. As such I question if it's even a good idea to attempt to think and be creative when driving or if that's (if what Spielberg is saying is true even 'best worked because forced to'). Not that having a phone call isn't distracting from driving either. It is. But when you drive I just am not sure it's when you want to go back and forth in your head with some heavy thoughts which might make you less alert (and by less alert I mean even less than with a phone call).
The reason for taking phone calls in the car is because it's typically very time effective and a great (and effortless) way to pass the time.
There could also be other reasons why he didn't take phone calls. For example I don't like to take business calls because I can't take notes or note things I need to do. Talking to a relative that's another story. In that case it's great a way to pass the time and let's say fulfill an obligation. Or he might have almost gotten into an accident once and swore off any future calls. Or the main reason is 'I want down time but I need a way to explain to others why I don't talk in the car and this sounds better'. After all Spielberg is a creative person so why not a creative spin to something he does.
The story and the reason people say what they do often differs from the real reason (which would sound less impressive). Possible this is just a spin he put on it.
Really quiet or electronic music can work too though. It's people talking or singing lyrics that makes thinking difficult for me.
Pretty similar to coding, actually, except you're mostly stuck in front of a computer for that.
Glancing passively toward someone reading a book, versus watching a movie, versus chatting with someone else, all give quite different impressions. Glancing passively toward someone reading with the Kindle app, versus watching Netflix, versus chatting on WhatsApp, all on the same handset—you don't get nearly the same level of cues. And those cues help shape the social interactions around them.
None of this requires a screen. It's a choice you've made.
Realistically, children aren't the only ones with an aversion to boredom problem. Adults - especially those dependent on creativity to solve problems - would benefit for generous doses to boredom as well.
though I didn't know it at the time, I grew up with adhd and depression. an interesting facet of that is that people with adhd get to skip on some of the most important effects of the frontal lobe development that happens between the ages of 18 and 22 as a human matures. this gets interpreted as being 'lazy' 'energetic', 'childish' and -- easily bored.
This kind of parent has a conviction that the reverse hallmarks of adulthood -- being quiet, controlled and focused are not something as neurological as we know it to be, but something that has to be instilled by force, and as someone who feels the same boredom every day a kid does, that lack of knowledge and empathy makes me deeply, deeply sad on a personal level.
It's absolutely correct that kids not given something to do will find themselves something to do. Kids are natural explorers and learners. But is that boredom and thirst for new things something that has to be learned out of a child? I'd like to think that at least some of us embrace that stage of a child's neurology and help them find things that they find exciting, new and interesting instead of trying to teach them to stop complaining and sate themselves with busywork.
Today with my nephew: hey lets fight with larp swords ... "yeah!!"
The famed Andrea Camilleri , one of the most prolific and well-known Italian contemporary writer (also author of "Commissario Montalbano", known worldwide in both print and TV form), in a TV interview recounted how "boredom" was so important in his youth.
He specifically remembered how he and his teenager friends would sit in a field or on the beach, take a metal coin, spit on it, and just wait, in circle, until a fly would get entangled by the spit. Whomever owned that coin would be the winner, and this "game" would usually take several hours, during which they would chat, sit in silence, fall asleep, etc. - "bored", you might say.
I found this story fascinating.
I can't point you to the actual documentary describing this, as it's in Italian and it's also not freely available online. Please believe me, there would be no reason for me to have invented this.
You look at where you are, what you got, and you play. Those memories are some of my very best.
Ok, we got this can. Who can kick it the farthest! Awesome.
I don't like the idea of setting time limits—I feel like I spent too much of my childhood waiting for the next opportunity to use a computer. Tools are not inherently good or bad, and my child should have the opportunity to explore them as he or she sees fit. However, I very much want to keep my child away from exploitative media, and I don't know how to control that other than just cutting off the internet.
If they play games, I want them to be games that teach something. Zelda teaches you problem solving skills, and Celeste at least teaches something about humanity. Neither attempts to suck you in for infinite lengths of time.
You are very significantly underestimating peer pressure for them to be relevant to their peers.
Left unchecked? Very serious rebellion will be breeding.
No joke. Went through it. Won't again.
Like Mike Tyson said, "Everyone has a plan until they get punched in the mouth." After having childre, you realize how sometimes you have to do things just to survive.
My little brother learned to both speak and write English all by himself. We live in Sweden so it doesn’t come naturally.
He used to watch a lot of educational videos on YouTube about animals, the universe and everything. But sadly, today he chooses to watch more of the 5 second attention span decreasing "entertaining" videos.
Notice that for an activity such as looking at your friends' photos online, allocating your last 15 minutes before hitting the pillow and allocating what's seemingly every hour of every day won't have the same effect.
Maybe respect others privacy before using the ‘democracy and freedom is at stake’ rhetoric.
I have found that when I first sit down, I dread starting the work. Whether I'm working through an algorithm, a project proposal, a hiring process, reading a paper reviewing a grant application, whatever. But I just sit there, because my knee has made all other options even worse. Give it about 30 seconds, maybe a couple minutes, and I've gotten over the dread and just start doing. That's the only thing left to do.
This is the same experience I had as a child, on that long road trip, in the back seat, that far back, rear-facing seat in the Buick station wagon, with the red vinyl seats. On I70, on the way from Omaha to Denver. You're just stuck there. You have to do so something. You start staring out the window, imagining what must be happening in the corn fields, the streams that must be in the veins of trees that occasionally interrupt the fields. The fish in the stream. The dirt at the bottom of the stream. How come that dirt hasn't all been washed away? How does that work? what's this little bit of dirt right here on the floor? It looks like the dirt in my shoe. I wonder if I play with this dirt maybe I'll understand dirt.
Dirt. Miles of dirt out here. How much of life is dirt? Ow. There's a rock in this dirt. Is the rock part of the dirt? How much of dirt is just rocks? How small is a rock before it's dirt? What else is in dirt?
Nothing, not even boredom, can suppress the mind. Not as long as there is dirt.
But, if one does that, it requires also being empowering and participatory to a large degree.
The latter is a LOT OF FUN. If you do it, for a time, that old spark of childhood comes back, and you just play. Playing with them, leaving a little of the adult behind, is worth it for everyone.
I get to do it again as I am raising a granddaughter now, due to a son getting involved with the wrong people, hard fall. It's ugly, but she's great.
Know what? I have a much harder time returning there. I can, and each time it's easier, but damn! We do get old when we are not playing as much. Don't do it.
Participation was the best medicine. Yes, it takes your time, but only for a while. Soon, they will be acting on their own, and will invite you (best accept some of those to remain relevant), and will learn to play, explore, build, do more on their own, not just placating themselves in front of a screen.
The idea seems to be if it's not non-stop yelling kids will tune out. Lso the voice actors were mostly pitching their voices much higher than actual childrens' voices.
I really miss good nonfiction channels. The History Channel, Discovery, National Geographic. TLC (it wasn't always house shows!). All gone to hell. It's a shame. I picked up a ton from those as a kid, even though I rarely got to watch them (we didn't have cable except for a couple years) but now they're all reality shows and ancient aliens and other sensationalized junk.
Incidentally, I'm kinda worried about what all the auto-tune's gonna do to kids' sense of what good singing is. Check out Daniel Tiger for what I'm talking about, but it's everywhere in kids' programming (among other places, obviously). I suppose it saves money, but it sucks.
We should get used to get bored again, indeed, but I'd call it something else: not "getting bored", but "escaping our own lives at any chance we have".
My daughter attended a Waldorf school (in Europe called a Steiner school), K-12. There are some great things about it and some drawbacks too, and I'm sure the experience depends widely on which particular Waldorf school you attend.
When we signed up our daughter we had to sign a pledge: no TV, no radio, no movies, and no computer (until high school). We were strongly encouraged to eschew typical toys for a certain kind of toy: one with heft and texture, and one that left room for creativity.
The rational behind it was multi-fold. Most media is tailored for and fosters a very short attention span and conditions children to expect constant stimulation. When you grow up hearing polished songs where the top 0.01% of singers take dozens of takes, then are autotuned, then spliced into perfection by highly skilled producers, when a child raises their voice to sing they think their own singing is terrible instead of joyful. By having a set of wooden blocks, a bored child will use them to create dozens of things, whereas if you give them a plastic fire truck with flashing lights it can only be a firetruck.
By and large I think their goals work in that regard, but it also ends up isolating the families to interact with only other Waldorf families. If your child plays with non-Waldorf kids, they get dazzled by the neighbors x-box and resent that they can't have one.
The biggest downside, though, is the type of parent drawn to Waldorf also tends towards homeopathic hoo-hah and anti-vax tendencies. In our case we kept our rationality and politely accepted but ignored other parents' referrals to "energy workers" and offers of homeopathic tinctures.
I always felt it was unfortunate because these schools were on the forefront in other areas such as lesson scheduling, teaching methodology and a curriculum that contained a good mix of art, language and science.
Growing up I had access to cable TV and because of that I was always light-years ahead of my class in English.
Or do they mean we should force our kids to do mundane work?
You can give them a few limited options to work with if they choose, but it will surprise you to see the level of play they come up with a bit of time to think on it and limited resources to do it with.
I mean is their a validated study that new age learning tablets/apps are detrimental versus letting someone get bored ?
Would a daily session of yoga+breathing exercises for an hour achieve the same thing as in this article...but without eliminating the value that modern tech might bring ?
I've spent a lot of my childhood isolated with not much to do, and the best periods where when there was something that I could do that didn't involve spacing out or reading the same books over and over again. Like when there was a guitar or a piano available and I was able to start learning on my own.
Learning helps creativity. So does doing low-attention sorts of things. For example, going on a quiet walk or cleaning house. And seriously, going on a walk is a good habit for kids to have. Anything that might make a kid curious is also something that helps with creativity.
Additionally, an adult simply asking curiosity-invoking questions aloud helps develop those sorts of thoughts. Same thing for explaining why you do whatever hobby you do. If you don't have an offline hobby, start one just to be the good example.
Tl;dr parents can encourage/punish their kids and let them think for themselves. This is healthy and good.
Also, to loop back to the larger discussion, using screens definitely doesn't discourage bullying behavior. For evidence I present . . . the internet, give or take.
> Of course, it’s not really the boredom itself that’s important; it’s what we do with it. When you reach your breaking point, boredom teaches you to respond constructively, to make something happen for yourself. But unless we are faced with a steady diet of stultifying boredom, we never learn how.
Doing the wrong thing can be corrected. Worry about actions, not thoughts.
(Speaking from experience -- it was scary, but he recovered.)
Being 10 and moving in with said sociopath coincided with my family being poor. This was 91, so off-hand I don't know what 12K a year would be in today money, but it was below the 13.1K poverty line I last remember seeing for 91.
The result? Well, said sociopath threw away 75% of the toys my sister and I accumulated over our brief lifetimes ("children don't need that many toys"), so we learned to make our own fun.
I retained one of those Lego-brand briefcases of, well, Legos. Buying my sister and I a set of that clay (I don't remember the name, so I appreciate any help on this) that came in different colors and you could bake to hardness in the oven was a staple of our Christmases; prior to us being poor, we'd make one or two things and ignore the rest of the set. Post the family debacle, we made anything we could.
Without the promise of eternal external stimuli, I designed scores of video games, and for my favorite series I made action figures out of the aforementioned clay along with entire Lego worlds for them to do things in. I measured the difference between the volume of some of my figures before being baked versus the volume after, and used the average to make their magically-powered hats or suits or whatnot, so that such could be put on or removed as the story I (and occasionally my sister) were creating demanded.
I don't at all miss the rampant abuse from that period. There were constant room searches. "Popular music" was utterly verboten; my sister bought a Mariah Carey album at 11 and the amount of horrifying verbal abuse leveled at my mother was legendary. Trying to avoid that, I wound up storing Pretty Hate Machine in a cabinet within a box within a Dungeons and Dragons box, as the latter was in a moral grey area as per said sociopath. Buying that tape (which, yes, dates me...) was a 16-mile bike ride.
All that said... sometimes even today I try to impose arbitrary constraints on myself to recreate the creativity and just overall fun of that period. There was abject misery then. There was also a lot of fun.
Children should be allowed to be bored, but as others have said, so should adults. "If you're bored, you're boring!!!!" is commonly leveled at adults, but.. perhaps not? Perhaps it's simply a result of our "if you're not producing anything RIGHT NOW you are an abject failure of a human" culture.
It's not good to make your life revolve around anything, really. That seems obvious in terms of drugs or alcohol or video games or internet addiction in general. But I worry about people who make even supposedly-benign things like exercise or veganism or activism or even the much-vaunted "family" thing their sole reason for being. Sometimes we need to not be 100% fulfilled.
Also, I downvoted you because you complained about downvotes, FYI.
Rose-tinted glasses. Watching videos is as passive as it ever was, even if social media is a very new phenomenon.
If endless-scrollathons and click bait are specifically the problem, they can be culled away from kids without doing away with screens entirely no?
> Also, I downvoted you because you complained about downvotes, FYI.
Then I wasn't talking about you.