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  • #31
    Originally posted by FIREshrink View Post

    It's an idea, the problem you'll quickly learn if you haven't already is that the text threads themselves include links to TikTok and Insta and YouTube videos so now she feels even more left out because she knows everyone is watching something and commenting and making funny messages about it but she can't see it.

    Also a lot of students use productivity apps like Google docs to text.
    Sure it’s not perfect, but it’s the best we’ve found out of lots of not very good options.

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    • #32
      Originally posted by fatlittlepig View Post

      seems convoluted, why not just tell them they can't use facebook, snapchat etc.
      I think most of generation z is on discord.

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      • #33
        16, probably. We'll see. Oldest is 6 right now. They've never been allowed to use our phones (except my daughter sometimes unlocks the camera to take photos) and we don't have tablets. It helps that we also don't use our phones much - in their presence or otherwise.

        I think it is the source of a lot of delays and immaturity in younger kids, and I think the effects are lasting. I also think it greatly ramps up anxiety and depression in adolescents and teenagers, and not just because of social media.

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        • #34
          Originally posted by legobikes View Post
          I think it is the source of a lot of delays and immaturity in younger kids, and I think the effects are lasting. I also think it greatly ramps up anxiety and depression in adolescents and teenagers, and not just because of social media.
          Care to expound? Certainly agree with the social media bit. Generally try to avoid adolescents..

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          • #35
            Originally posted by burritos View Post

            I think most of generation z is on discord.
            Some millennials are on there, too...

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            • #36
              Originally posted by burritos View Post

              I think most of generation z is on discord.
              TikTok actually.

              Discord is mainly for crypto bros/gamers/techies.

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              • #37
                ^ I use discord to request specific guidance, to 'pick the brain' of trade workers and enthusiasts - 'doers' rather than theorizers. For example I've used it to: figure out how to wire 240v to my garage for a bandsaw (electricians discord), to work through complex diagnostic algorithms for motorcycle problems (dirt bike slack), figure out how to revive a dead battery in a portable speaker (electronics discord), talk to kids with rapid onset gender dysphoria (detrans discord), and more.

                Originally posted by childay View Post
                Care to expound? Certainly agree with the social media bit. Generally try to avoid adolescents..
                Alright, I'll start with younger kids - unfortunately that encompasses toddlers and even infants, in my experience. I see parents use electronic devices as baby-sitters/attention-occupiers. The very first question should be - why would you need to occupy the attention of an infant or a toddler? The entire world is novel to them. And by entire world I mean sights, sounds, smells, textures, tastes, facial expressions, moods, tones, proprioception and the feeling of 'embodiedness' for lack of a better word. The entire world is interactive in a way that electronics cannot approximate - directly interactive, immediately interactive, and with infinite granularity. A world that is both comforting in it's objective 'there-ness', a thereness that is corroborated by all other sentient beings, and simultaneously discomfiting in it's relative imperviousness to your preferences or demands. In other words, a reassuring presence and a challenging obstacle, inviting you to make your mark on it, and in doing so, understanding better just what kind of creature you are, what your 'self' is. You do this by an iterative, experimental and experiential process of seeing the effects of your own actions on your environment - by seeing your reflection in the people and objects around you.

                Now, to say that the way the average child is using electronics is fine, is to suggest that infants, toddlers, or children would benefit, or at least not be harmed, by replacing some of the time they spend in this world, at a period in their life that they exhibit an astonishing amont of absorption and maturation - something that will never be paralleled at any other point in their lives - with time spent in this other world. The world that is a disorderly aggregation of the most viral attentional feedback loops known to man.

                There is no empiricism more radical than the daily experience of a child. It makes philosophical empiricism look like a solipsistic joke. This real world includes an entire range of stimulatory amplitudes (quiet time drifting off to sleep in your crib in a darkened room with a parent snoozing softly by your side, say, to the hurly burly of a schoolyard or a busy big-city intersection or the strong emotions in an intense conflict or argument). This other world is a single mode of experience that requires artifice to call up emotional reactions disconnected from their current state and sustain a degree of hyperstimulation human beings have never known. What happens when you spend increasingly more time in this world? Everything else becomes backdrop. Several modes of experience and the vast majority of your perceptual (not just sensory) bandwidth becomes narrowed to passive consumption of bright sights and raucous sounds coming from a planar object directly in front of your face. Intensely ugly computer generated animation with cartoon characters possessing enormous eyes and hyperbolic facial expressions, spastic editing with rapid jump cuts for maximum sustained arousal of your attention, and portrayal of narrative scenarios that are not so much fantastic supports for your imagination as they are simply improbable dead ends in someone else's attempt at spectacle, and simulated mechanisms that appear to mimic natural and physical processes but lack any sort of internal logic. This is in contrast to old timey cartoons like Tom & Jerry. It is astounding to me just how shitty the media directed at children is. If it's not a barrage of color and sound and superlative imagery and 'epic' soundtracks, then it's generally narcotizing. In all forms, it is stupid and it is making kids stupid. I am inserting a great passage from a book by Matthew Crawford, which illustrates just how antihuman children's programming has become.

                THE MOUSEKE-DOER

                In the old Mickey Mouse cartoons from the early and middle decades of the twentieth century, by far the most prominent source of hilarity is the capacity of material stuff to generate frustration, or rather demonic violence. Fold-down beds, ironing boards, waves at the beach, trailers (especially when Goofy is at the wheel of the towing vehicle, on a twisty mountain road), anything electric, anything elastic, anything that can become a projectile. Anything that can suffer termite damage that remains hidden until the crucial moment. Springs are especially treacherous, as are retractable blinds. Snowballs can be counted on to grow by a couple of orders of magnitude on their way down the slope toward your head. At any given moment, the odds of being seized by the collar by a severely overwound grandfather clock are nontrivial. Icicles: don’t stand anywhere near them. Bicycles tend to become unicycles, unpredictably, and rubber cement is easily mistaken for baking powder. Why do they have nearly identical labels?

                These early cartoons present a rich phenomenology of what it is like to be an embodied agent in a world of artifacts and inexorable physical laws. The tendency of these things to thwart the human will is exaggerated, and through exaggeration a certain truth gets brought forward. As the stand-up comics say, only the truth is funny. In depicting the heteronomy that the world of objects inflicts on us, the slapstick sufferings of Donald Duck acknowledge, and thereby seem to affirm, the human condition as it is, beneath the various idealisms that would transport us out of that condition.

                The Disney cartoon franchise now has many departments. One of them, Mickey Mouse Clubhouse, on the Disney Junior network, retains the same characters. But the difference in how material reality is presented could not be more stark, and in this difference a shift in the relation between self and world becomes evident as well.

                Each episode begins with Mickey looking into the camera and speaking directly to the viewer in tones of solicitous hypercongeniality, pausing every so often to elicit a response as he cups his hand to his ear. Once he has performed this ritual of seeking consent, he speaks some magic words (“Miska, Mooska…”) and the Clubhouse rises up out of the ground in a psychedelically abstract, parklike landscape. There, the characters present themselves for review, each auditioning for the viewer’s consideration with his or her own brand of delightfulness.

                The Clubhouse is filled with amazing technology that always works perfectly. In the episode “Minnie’s Mouseke-Calendar,” a strong wind is blowing. You might think this is the setup for some slapstick. But when Goofy starts to get blown away, a retractable hand rises up out of a trapdoor (disguised as a paving stone) and gently pulls him back down to the earth.

                The current episodes are all oriented not around frustration but around solving a problem. One does this by saying, “Oh Tootles!” This makes the Handy Dandy machine appear, a computerlike thing that condenses out of the Cloud and presents a menu of four “Mouseke-tools” on a screen, by the use of which the viewer is encouraged to be a “Mouseke-doer.”

                In the episode “Little Parade” some wind-up toy marching band figures have been overwound and scattered, and must be retrieved. One of them ended up on the other side of a river that runs beneath the cliff Goofy is standing on. Goofy says the magic words. The Handy Dandy machine boots up and presents its menu of options; one of them is a giant slide. Perfect! The slide is conjured out of the ether and settles gently into place to run from the cliff to the far bank, where Goofy retrieves the errant toy.

                There are four problems per episode, and each can be solved using one of the four tools. This assurance is baked into the initial setup of the episode; no moment of helplessness is allowed to arise. There is never an insoluble problem, that is, a deep conflict between the will and the world. I suspect that is one reason these episodes are not just unfunny, but somehow the opposite of funny. Like most children’s television these days, Mickey Mouse Clubhouse is doggedly devoted not to capturing experience, that is, to psychological truth, but to psychological adjustment. It is not a depiction so much as an intervention—on behalf of parents, teachers, and others who must manage children.2 The well-adjusted child doesn’t give in to frustration; he asks for help (“Oh Tootles!”) and avails himself of the ready-made solutions that are presented to him.

                To be a Mouseke-doer is to abstract from material reality as depicted in those early Disney cartoons, where we see the flip side of affordances. Perhaps we should call unwanted projectiles, demonic springs, and all such hazards “negative affordances.” The thing is, you can’t have the positive without the negative; they are two sides of the same coin. The world in which we acquire skill as embodied agents is precisely that world in which we are subject to the heteronomy of things; the hazards of material reality. To pursue the fantasy of escaping heteronomy through abstraction is to give up on skill, and therefore to substitute technology-as-magic for the possibility of real agency.

                This cartoon magic may be fanciful, but one would be hard-pressed to find any meaningful distinction between it and the utopian vision by which Silicon Valley is actively reshaping our world. As we “build a smarter planet” (as the IBM advertisements say), the world will become as frictionless as thought itself; “smartness” will subdue dumb nature. But perhaps even thinking will become unnecessary: a fully smart technology should be able to leap in and anticipate our will, using algorithms that discover the person revealed by our previous behavior. The hope seems to be that we will incorporate a Handy Dandy machine into our psyches at a basic level, perhaps through some kind of wearable or implantable device, so that the world will adjust itself to our needs automatically and the discomfiting awareness of objects as being independent of the self will never be allowed to arise in the first place.

                The appeal of magic is that it promises to render objects plastic to the will without one’s getting too entangled with them. Treated from arm’s length, the object can issue no challenge to the self. According to Freud, this is precisely the condition of the narcissist: he treats objects as props for his fragile ego and has an uncertain grasp of them as having a reality of their own. The clearest contrast to the narcissist that I can think of is the repairman, who must subordinate himself to the broken washing machine, listen to it with patience, notice its symptoms, and then act accordingly. He cannot treat it abstractly; the kind of agency he exhibits is not at all magical.

                The creeping substitution of virtual reality for reality is a prominent feature of contemporary life, but it also has deep antecedents in Western thought. It is a cultural project that is unfolding along lines that Immanuel Kant sketched for us: trying to establish the autonomy of the will by filtering material reality through abstractions.
                To move on to adolescents and teens, or maybe just all kids who have achieved abstract reasoning, there's far more to be said about what you're losing when you spend time on your phone. Kids, and adults, allow their attention to be hijacked at all times and in all situations. Girls are on social media. Boys are watching porn or playing video games (and note that this last is NOT the same as gaining skills in the real world). I see so many people coasting to a stoplight or driving down the road on their phones. Kids are being fed in front of the phone, they drift off to TV shows, they scroll instagram on the toilet. This isn't just a question of where your attention is, but where it isn't. Eating, crapping, falling asleep, are essentially intimate bodily experiences. You are intimate with your self. What is the opposite of mindful eating and mindful defecation? Can you recognize when you're eating too fast or a particular food doesn't agree with you? What happens when you leave absolutely no down time, no time for reflection? Can you plan your day? Can any original thought surface when your mind's a maelstrom of indiscriminate media consumption? Do you think about that look your friend gave you that indicated that maybe you said something mean-spirited? Do you remember how you felt in gym class when someone made fun of a girl and no one said anything? Maybe you wanted to but couldn't muster up the courage. Will you speak up next time, if you've left yourself no time to think about what happened, how it made you feel, what you believe is right or fair or kind? Can you calibrate your moral judgement, you sense of yourself as a social actor? Can you even be said to have any agency when the only choices you make are based on unexamined preferences?

                We assimilate experiences when we sleep. We wake up in the morning and anticipate the day. How much of that is short-circuited when you dozed off to a show or a movie, when you wake up and immediately reach for your phone and scroll through several different apps? What kind of attentional hamsterwheel do you jump on as soon as your mind gets into the rote habit of flitting from echochamber feeds to algorithmically curated streams?

                I don't need some study to tell me the internet is making us stupid. But it's not only making us stupid, indiscriminate media consumption is a prime exacerbator of human dysfunction. It makes everything worse. Not only does it contribute massively to the leveling down of humanity in general, it specifically makes anxious kids more anxious by not allowing them to be present in the real world, making them liable to feel more alienated and less embodied, it makes depressed kids more depressed by not allowing them to achieve enough small things to gain momentum and achieve a big thing, keeping them in a cycle of personal ineffectiveness and consequent self-loathing, it makes kids who might not have met the criteria of ADHD more likely to do so, since gaming virtually trains that sort of narrow spectrum attention, and heck, I think it makes autistic kids more autistic: both because it encourages a mode of existence where the inconvenience and unpredictability of communication with other human beings is avoided as easily as the inconvenience and unpredictability of the world at large, AND because everyone else around you is also dumber socially, making the world a less tolerant and hence less interactive place for those who are not, as they say, 'neurotypical'. Everyone is lonelier because there is always a ready outlet that satiates the human need for connection - except it does so in the same way eating candy assuages hunger. We are not improving in any of these matters, we are getting worse, even as we pay lip service by affirming, theoretically, plastic words like inclusivity, equality, emotional intelligence/EQ, etc. Just as with the word 'community', the more we find need to use these words, the more it proves that they don't exist.

                And you're worried that your kids will feel left out? It's ironic, because the global south and the world at large is hurrying to harm its own populations by following the technocratic West precisely due to the same kind of civilizationist / keeping-up-with-the-Joneses progressivism as the young parents who believe that giving their two-year-old a phone and protecting them from boredom with CGI is going to give them a leg up in the new informational economy. I mean, it might, but at what cost?
                Last edited by legobikes; 04-29-2022, 03:21 AM.

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                • #38
                  In addition to all the psychological issues, there is an epidemic of pathological myopia, especially in East Asian boys, but throughout the rest of the world as well. Pathologic myopia can lead to retinal detachment, glaucoma, and many other causes of vision loss. We don’t know for sure why it’s happening but it is correlated with lack of sunlight, less time outdoors and possibly increased screentime, although unfortunately it’s hard to separate these variables from each other in a study.

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                  • #39
                    Originally posted by Brains428 View Post
                    If it were up to me, 18. I'll probably get outvoted by my wife.

                    If kids only understood how much better it was to be 16 with a car and no tracking device.
                    Exactly. I think we'll cave in around 13-14, and we will be sure to use a no-tracking, no GPS device (personally, I use CalyxOS).

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                    • #40
                      One of the best things about being one of the older posters here is that they weren’t a thing until my kids were mature enough to handle them. Which, I think, is about the time they can afford to pay the bills on their own. Love the above list of rules. Smart phone with internet access + social media is a dangerous combo for a kid in puberty, especially learning to drive a 3-ton killing machine. When I think of the risks my friends and I took driving without a the added distraction of a cell phone, it just chills me.
                      Our passion is protecting clients and others from predatory and ignorant advisors. Fox & Co CPAs, Fox & Co Wealth Mgmt. 270-247-6087

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                      • #41
                        We're way on the right side of this curve. We tried middle school with the oldest. That was a mistake. We actually took it away and gave her a dumb phone for a few more years. Now they get their first dumb phone in 8th grade and a smart phone at 15 or 16.

                        Yes, they are looked down on for it and they sometimes miss out on stuff because of it. My favorite part is people just think their family is poor.
                        Helping those who wear the white coat get a fair shake on Wall Street since 2011

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                        • #42
                          Originally posted by The White Coat Investor View Post
                          We're way on the right side of this curve. We tried middle school with the oldest. That was a mistake. We actually took it away and gave her a dumb phone for a few more years. Now they get their first dumb phone in 8th grade and a smart phone at 15 or 16.

                          Yes, they are looked down on for it and they sometimes miss out on stuff because of it. My favorite part is people just think their family is poor.
                          this was an actual LOL for me in my office.

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