The only thing I am after is some kind of interaction with the physical world where they are making the decisions. I have no idea if that is the right thing to do, but it feels like it is.
Whether you like it or not, technology is part of growing up in the 21st century. It's not just an "outlet" or a place to waste time on YouTube, it's interwoven into everything in their lives. Their ability to gather information depends on it. Their social lives depend on it. Just as yours does. If you restrict access, you're pretending like a very crucial part of living today doesn't exist -- or isn't as important as it actually is.
At the end of the day, I'd imagine your goal is for your child to have a happy and healthy life. As part of that, you probably want them to have a healthy relationship with technology. Restricting access instead of helping them build that healthy relationship just leads to them wanting to do things like go to the houses of friends to watch YouTube. I know this because I lived it and that's exactly what I did.
Restricting "screen time" is the simplest way to reduce access to the harmful things in that list, at the cost of also filtering the nice stuff. A more sophisticated approach is probably to control which apps kids have access to and for how long, but that's a lot harder to pull off effectively.
I'll use myself as an example:
I grew up with parents who restricted my time spent on video games and internet use (I just spent more time playing video games at friends' houses). They did however allow me to have computers in my room that weren't connected to the internet.
I spent a lot of my early teens tinkering with my computers and learning to code. When I was around 15, I finally saved up enough money from my summer jobs to buy an iMac (and a wifi router that I convinced my parents to let me replace theirs with). I then had unlimited internet access and continued to learn IT and programming.
A few months after graduating high school, I moved cities and applied for a dev internship at a local ad agency. I had started at a community college but dropped out to accept a full-time position. Now four years later, I've held 2 lead positions at two companies and am earning a senior-level salary.
Without a doubt, I wouldn't have had that level of opportunity if I wasn't allowed to have computers growing up. I think parents are doing their kids a potential disservice by placing all forms of 'screen time' in the same category. Restricting (leisure) internet use and video games is very understandable, but I think there is real value in allowing kids 'screen time' if they have any level of interest in technology.
I think restricting screen time is part of building the healthy relationship. We're not an all digital society, so kids still need to interact with the outside world - this includes people.
Think about how vile people can be on the Internet when the person they're shouting at is a faceless username. Breaking this immersion to have your kid run up the street to watch YouTube videos with a friend is a bit different than doing it alone. You can explain that your child's friend is also online behind and anonymous username, so if they intend to say something mean to someone, you can say that the child may be hurting their own friend's feelings without even knowing it.
Restricting access doesn't have to be a "back in my day!" spiel. Sometimes it's exploring other avenues of entertainment. Sometimes it's partial restriction like reading for 30 minutes. Sometimes it's just making sure that the child still has a foot grounded in reality. I'm a huge advocate for a connected world, but even as a developer, I still have to talk to my colleagues to my left and to my right.
This isn't just about screen time imho, it's about ensuring balance when kids don't yet know what's best for them. A "healthy relationship" doesn't mean "free to do as much of it as they want to the detriment of other aspects of being a healthy human being."
Anecdote: My best friend growing up was super into soccer. So much so that other parts of his life were suffering and he had little life outside of it. So his parents set a weekly limit on the number of hours he could practice and play. He hated it at the time. But during his down time he found programming and now he's a programmer and soccer isn't nearly that important to him anymore.
I think that's the center of the problem. In the current times online media and mobile apps are designed to maximize the participant's screen time by being as addictive as possible.
Even grown-ups face problems self-regulating with regards to an "adversary" that invests huge resources in getting our eye-balls (and data and ad views).
Restricting screen-time becomes more and more difficult the more kids grow up, I do not think that this is a very scalable solution.
I think it's more important that kids are made aware and learn how to deal with this "adversary". Make them aware how the TV (or smartphone) "catches" them when they actually had planned to do other things. Make it a game to find out, together with your kid, how a device can have this kind of control over a person. Kids are curious, they will want to know about mechanisms and incentitives of the system and I think this can be explained even with the vocabulary of a 6 year-old.
Humans are very adaptable, maybe kids growing up in our current environment will just acquire skills that the older generation does not have and has difficulties to imagine.
- For parents it is hard to implement N hours/day on long term basis ( parents may be able to do for a week or month)
- The parental control tools are too narrow in scope, good ones cost $10/month
- on top of all this, you do not know what they are doing in those N hours/day , using 50% time for FB/Snap etc..
- It is ironic in this day and age of ML/Deeplearning software and open source github thousands of projects, we do not have a open source Parental control that really works.
- The solution is to build an Open source Parental control on Iphone/Android/Mac/PC in an integrated way to enforce N hours/week screen time and smart enough to account all non-school work related screen time across devices.
- To have a small regulation( to force device manufacturers ) stating above mentioned kind of "high quality" open source Integrated Parental control software pre-installed on all devices .
> Most kids don't know how to self-regulate screen time. Saying "no screen time" for an arbitrarily large amount of time seems anathema to growing up today, but saying "no more than N hours a day" (where N depends on age and kid and what the kid does for the time) seems quite reasonable.
Our current rule is that you can have an hour of screen time for every hour of reading, music practice, etc, and after certain chores are done. Plus the screen time has to be at an appropriate time - for instance first thing in the morning and last thing at night are no-gos. They're currently on a ban until the end of the week because they went significantly over, but that's only happened twice in the year we've been doing this.
I'm thinking through what our approach to phones will be... at this stage I'm going with them getting phones for the start of high school and pondering what guidelines we'll use.
I think your thinking is right, but I'd instead focus on goals and rewards that are tied to discrete actions in the activity rather than just time. E.g. master the piece => one WoW raid or something. That worked marvelously on me as a kid and is actually something I still do for myself (although not with WoW thankfully).
I'm not a parent, so I'm sure this is quite hard to do in practice. But I'm sure your kids themselves may have good ideas! (I loved making my own rewards as a kid lol.) Food for thought.
But I may add some tech to see if the rules are being followed. I think that problem may be more tractable tech-wise. And (at least if I were the kid) it would be a lot less insufferable since it would give the kid the freedom to "break" the rule when he/she legitimately wanted/needed to and enables a conversation rather than serving as a dictator of policy.
I'm not a parent so I can't really comment on how easy it is, but I think if you're automating it you may be losing out on a key parenting moment and that's enforcement and inviting conversation about the rule and why it matters.
(Personally I remember many of the occasions where I broke a rule and then got "the talk" about why the rule was important - quite valuable in retrospect. If there had just been a software-enforcer I likely would have rebelled and/or tried to find a workaround.)
You don't need high quality expensive software either. There are sufficient free ones.
In my view there are four main categories, of screentime.
* Passive entertainment (watching videos, playing "pointless" games)
* Active entertainment (playing "real" games where you need to make decisions and other skills)
* Socializing (Messengers, Facebook, ...)
Point 2 is probably the most toxic for people. Since you waste lots of time, lose other hobbies and probably get deeply influenced by the things you watch.
Point 3 might be the next on the list, since you might get stressed from constantly socializing... All that matters is raising your "social" status, and you start neglecting other things in your life.
I am a parent now and I get restricting screen time for the sake of planning/scheduling, but not out of some utopian ideal. That never existed. Not when we were young and not when anyone else was, either. They just restricted reading the newspaper and books back then.
A healthy relationship with technology is not that of a consumer in my view, but that exact relation is most profitable to technology producers in this age. Tablets, chromecasts, smartphones and gaming consoles are consumption devices designed to elicit ever more desire to consume. Being a good consumer is not an important part of life imo and that is a message I want to thoroughly imprint on my kids. While they are to young to self regulate I'm right on top of it.
Personal anecdote: my kids are really getting in to mountain biking. Their screen time is more likely to be looking up tips for how to ride better, and then every once in a while we all sit together and watch MTB fail videos (100x the content of the old 'funniest home videos' shows, and more relevant, and I hope it's making caution sink in). Then they go outside and have been building jumps out of logs and dirt...
 https://www.nytimes.com/2014/09/11/fashion/steve-jobs-apple-... - Steve Jobs, Chris Anderson, and Evan WIlliams limit/limited kids' screen time
 https://www.cnbc.com/2018/01/23/apple-ceo-tim-cook-dont-let-... (Speaking at Harlow College in the U.K., Apple CEO Tim Cook warned against “overuse” of technology, and said he didn’t want young members of his own family to use social media.)
I avoid/restrict almost all screen time for my almost 6 year old. Why? There is unlimited content and you can essentially never get bored, which means you don't need to think about what you want to do.
In my experience kids are the happiest in self-directed play.
Once they've learned self-control/having balance (which not even most adults can handle), then I have no problems introducing technology.
Technology is fine if used as a tool, but for me, has no part in entertainment for my kids (up to a certain age)
I also have a young child who is absolutely absorbed in computers, youtube, etc. I understand how much their collective social lives revolves around it. But even all the time I spend on computers, I still find the experiences vaguely disturbing. The effects on mental health are immediately obvious -- a few hours of "screen time" has very obvious negative implications. There is also a quality of addiction to it all. The computer/smartphone is all.
Can you elaborate more specifically?
At the end of the day, the job of the parent is to protect. As a part of that, if i read and believe that technology is rewiring their brains for reason X, Y, Z then that's what i fix. Not if it makes them happy or not; I'm not their friend first.
I disagree. At the end of the day the job of the parent is to prepare. That involves a mix of protection, education, and other things, including refraining from protection, at times.
Be careful of using yourself as the sample of why or why not people should do something.
I was also given hard time limits of video games, hard times on television and my brother and I balanced it with playing basketball outside, biking around the neighborhood, going to a friends house (social interaction), and finding other things to do.
Never felt restrictive, just the rules.
It definitely isn't true that my social life depends on this sort of technology, and I suspect it isn't true for most adults. I suppose you may be using a broader definition of "technology" than me, but my social life would be unaffected if I had a text-enabled phone and a computer sitting at home all day while I'm at work or out doing stuff on the weekends. I don't do that, but not because of my social life.
Having said all that, insofar as it comes to kids, I think your point about the may be a good one! But the fact that this isn't the world many or must adults live in may give you insight on why they don't view this in the same way you do. I think it is hard to come to terms with the fact that your kids live in a different world with different requirements than yours.
I am not saying there isn't value in outdoor activities and climbing, but I find it interesting that we set the level of technology that we had as a kid as the 'baseline' for a normal experience. All those things you said about self-driving flying vehicles could be said about cars in general, but you don't think of that because cars are just 'normal' to you.
Being in a beautiful landscape isn't any more 'natural' than being somewhere boring and bland. Visiting different areas and seeing natural wonders is certainly enjoyable, and can improve your health and well being.
But that would be true even if you lived a primitive hunter gatherer lifestyle; most people aren't going to be living on a mountaintop, or living in a forest.
A big part of what makes visiting the pristine nature such a cathartic experience is that it is different from your day to day life. Novelty is a strong desire in humans. If you lived on an isolated mountaintop, you might feel that same good feeling visiting the city that you get visiting the mountaintop.
I take this as limit rather than ban. Which I think is a good thing. Screen time is addictive, especially for kids. We all know it. Try and pull your 4 year old away from the TV to get them ready and come back with your results.
It is like restricting (but not banning) sugar, and for older kids (depending on your country etc.), caffeine and alcohol.
When you limit screen time to x minutes per day, that should include screen time outside the house.
Anyway, "restricting" is not a synonym of "banning."
My kids get very limited screen time, and are expected to fill their life with art and activity that does not involve, at least not directly, cheap electrons. Expected, because its what we, their parents do by way of example.
And I'm damn proud of my kids now. They're the ones pointing out how their high-school is taken over by mobile-phone-zombies, utterly un-interesting and useless peers.
So, yeah. Its an epidemic. Kids don't need technology. It has been so for thousands of years, and I truly believe in an event horizon where there are limits to how involved in 'the next great thing' kids should be allowed be, and to engage.
I'm all for using computers productively. I'm not cool with 20 kids standing at the train station not talking to each other, not standing on the right side of the yellow line, not paying attention to the train that is about to push them off the platform, just so they can push a few pixels around. This is junkie dystopia, people.
When I was in high school I thought my peers ware un-interesting and useless too. :D
I've been struggling, lately, to figure out a way to be able to tell "different" from "worse."
Shit we did, because we had nothing better to do:
* drive around racing off stop lights. If this is reduced these days, that's probably good, since cars are way more powerful.
* drive around aimlessly listening to music
* toilet paper houses and other random vandalism
* go to movies
* watch tv
* play video games
* try to get laid
* light random things on fire
* screw around with computers (not in a particularly productive "learn to program" way - just learning a ton about soon-to-be-obsolete windows 9x maintenance and customization)
* chained three-way phone calls to get a big group conversation going
* watching music videos was pretty big
How much of that is really any better than dicking around on Snapchat, iMesssage, GroupMe, or whatever?
Note that I was both unproductive myself and disdainful of other teens. :)
Remember kids, the values I'm teaching you are the only right ones, and people who think otherwise are wrong and need to be avoided. Anyone who doesn't like what you like is uninteresting.
Neither is anyone else.
But then again, the objectionable part of that has nothing to do with the use of technology, or even the not talking. If kids were standing at the train station, talking to each other, and even physically interacting, and also not staying on the right side of the yellow line and not paying attention to the train about to push them off the platform -- behavior with kids in similar circumstances without technological toys have shown themselves just as likely to engage in as the scenario you describe -- I think it is equally problematic.
That’s an awfully cynical observation for a kid to make.
To arrive in high school, and nobody wants to talk about anything other than their Candy Crush score, or whether or not "Peer Y" has an "iPhone X", and so on .. this was a bit of a disappointment to my kids, raised as they were to have human interaction be a priority over technology and material possession.
How will they get interested in technology then. I suspect a lot of HH readers got into tech by actually using it first, either websites or games or whatever.
From the outside, people like to say "screen time" as if it's all one thing and all of it's bad. But we've seen studies showing that video games help people develop real-life skills. Talking to people online is just social interaction. Cyber bullying, on the other hand, isn't all that different from the real thing. What I'm getting at is that using a computer or cell phone isn't so different from doing stuff outside with your friends. There's a whole world of things online and not everyone uses it the same way. Lumping it all into some big box of evil and taking it away from your kid is really just the same as locking your kid inside and only giving them the internet.
if they keep giving you shit, you could always try showing them entry level software engineer salaries on glassdoor.
My kids do have access to technology - they have laptops, and a small collection of video games. But they're not allowed to just zone out for hours on end, consuming pixels.
I gave them laptops so they'd learn what real computers are. And, they have! The (10 and 7 year old) kids are coding!
But there is a huge difference between this level of engagement, and that of the decadent-consumer-of-mobile-content that we've produced in the last 5 years. There's a huge difference between the endless hours I spent, typing in programs from magazines on my 8-bit systems in the 80's, and just downloading the latest pixel-blah on the No-friend-o.
Kids should have technology - but they should be given the opportunity to become masters of it, not slaves. That's the decision that has to be made, in my opinion, by the modern parent. Tech has evolved to enslave us - it also can serve. Kids who know how to make technology serve them and not the other way around, are the only hope for the future ..
I don't think that there is. Only a few years ago, I learned by typing in programs from YouTube videos and online forums. This doesn't mean YouTube and forums have eroded our culture; I think they are the new media and serve the same purpose as magazines. My success was because of my access to video games and the internet, not in spite of it, and in a different era it would've been through computer magazines and access to "toys" like the C64.
You probably don't want to take a vacation in Sweden then.
[...] their high-school is taken over by mobile-phone-zombies, utterly un-interesting and useless peers.
So, yeah. Its an epidemic. Kids don't need technology
An example: my six year old loves Algodoo (a physics simulator) and builds all kinds of crazy stuff in it. I have no problem with him building and creating things (not all day of course) - It's the passive viewing of content without thought ir interaction that bothers me.
Seems like the initial list of complaints he's responding to are chosen to be the most superficial (and easily argued against) ones.
And things like this:
"these self-assured statements are being made by Americans who spend an AVERAGE of 5 hours per day watching television,"
In articles like this, I'd prefer to see the author present the strongest possible case for the other side of the debate, and then argue against _that_. It doesn't make me want to examine his counterpoints very deeply if he's manipulating the argument by positioning the other side as foolish or easily disproven.
Yet these arguments are very common. Once you get people to see that the superficial objections are wrong, only then can you start to discuss nuance... how much is beneficial? what kind of screen time? what games are okay and which are only dopamine triggers?
I find just picking different projects and giving broad exposure to a number of different fields a better framework. Even if you are assisting them in a project, the exposure they gain builds confidence that they can carry on in that field if they so choose.
That sounds like a wonderful way to get killed by either the law or your neighbors if you're the wrong social status.
So yeah, no social media, no wasting away in front of a screen. They might disobey, but at least it is clear in their minds what the house rules are. Rationalizing permissiveness at home because ostensibly it lets you monitor them is precisely the wrong idea. It legitimizes the activity in their minds through your parental authority and is just another example of parental hovering.
The more widely we recognize the proper duties of parents, the more successful it will be since communities can reinforce the effectiveness of parenting. If all of my kid's parents ban the use of social media, it will be difficult for my child to make use of it at a friend's house.
P.S. Nice nick.
I have no screen times in my house. I'm not opposed to the idea, but to call "quiet time", or "dinner time", or "bedtime" "radical digital downtime" is bullshit. If it is radical it's out of touch with modern life and if it's what most of us do anyway, it's just a marketing term to sell a book.
And I can't control other kids parents, I can't make them ban screen time or social media, I can only try to stay on top of what my kid is doing and try to teach. I do that by giving her the space to explore those things like I would give her the space to explore anything she might be interested in.
The details change but the basic patterns are eternally the same.
My parents seemed to worry more about preventing kids from getting into trouble or making the wrong friends. My wife and I worry more about how to get them out of the house and make friends, period... and I hear this sentiment echoed every so often on HN (this being one of them).
How do you get teenagers to go outside and interact with other teenagers? That would not even be a question 30 years ago. The question would be how to stop them from doing so.
The advice I hear from the older generation so often just comes down to, "let kids be kids," but what about when you have to actually teach (and in some cases, force) kids to be kids? For my kids to have a healthy childhood, I almost have to create that childhood for them.
My experience as a parent is that I have gone down the path towards intentionally deciding what philosophy I wish my children raised by. Random advice based on what others did is usually inapplicable. It is like receiving advice on discipline from someone who spanked their children. There is no point in even trying to explain to them why you think that what they did is wrong.
If I happen to get advice that fits, then great. I'll take ideas from anywhere. But I strongly doubt that I'll regret my choice to teach children what it looks like for them to be treated with respect, or to decide that it would have been wise to do all of the standard things that the previous generation did that left children without that.
The basic pattern is that anybody who lives their life carelessly peddling slogans is an idiot.
"Ok, what did she say?"
"I don't know, I never listened..."
Sure, any jerk on the street can offer advice on parenting.
But humans are physical, deterministic meat machines. They work in a certain way, and that way does not change over a decade or two. The technology surrounding us does, but not the human. And there are people who study how humans work. It's worth listening to them on that subject.
Every parent I have to talked to, says that Youtube and smartphones are the best thing for kids. Whatever we do, their kids are on the phones; restaurants, homes, car rides. And these are really young kids, some as young as 1 year old.
If their phone dies or there is network issue, these kids start to cry if it takes too long to fix the issue. I assumed this is normal for kids to demand constant entertainment or distraction. Now makes me wonder if this is other way around, and we are spoiling the kids by letting them watch TV/Youtube when they are too young.
Or if these parents give their kids phones only when with other adults.
As a new dad, all these things worry me. On one hand, I don't know if I can manage raising a child without smartphone. Why restrict something if there is no strong evidence against it (is there?). On other hand, why set a child for ADHD and other social issues just so that I can be lazy.
There is so much conflicting advice everywhere. I am reading "The New Father: A Dad's Guide to the First Year". EDIT: It does have a section on screen time and why AAP doesn't recommend any screen time for babies under 2 years old. Basically, same reasons as parent mentioned: cognitive control, but also motor skills are not developing as babies don't play with physical objects as much.
Now, I have never ever placed a phone in front of her during dinner. Occasionally I have had to employ "here comes the airplane" which is what my parents did, following their parents' "here comes the choo choo train", which I assume followed something like "here comes the horse and buggy" or the like.
I also have a friend with a daughter one year older. He tells me that he puts the phone in front of his kid during every dinner time because "it's the only way she will eat", and furthermore he has to pause the show so that she will chew, and then unpause the show as a reward for chewing and who knows what else.
I can tell you, my kid can eat her own food with no assistance and no complaints about half the time, and I think that's pretty good for age two.
In short, I think our parents had a decent idea of how to raise kids and we throw that out in exchange for new technology at our peril.
In much video, a cut happens every three seconds (I don't know if this is true for specifically children's video). This tunes their sense of time - if you don't like what you're looking at, in three seconds it will be completely different. That's not what life was like when I grew up; it's not what life was like for any generation before mine. It seems to me that there has to be some effects from this...
 A "cut" in video is an instantaneous change of viewpoint (so called because, back in the film days, the only way you could get it was by physically cutting and splicing the film).
Sure it was. I am in my mid-30s and that describes every single anime or cartoon I watched.
Not relevant unless your parents were showing you that before age 2.
I grew up with nothing but a fuzzy PBS affiliate in very rural America in the 80s. Spent my time reading, building circuits and outdoors exploring. Get diagnosed with ADHD because I didn't want to do homework.
Both my kids got quite of bit of baby einstein and super simple songs in before they were two, and both are now a few years older, doing basic arithmetic, drawing shapes, and would build with LEGO or train tracks all day if we didn't have them go outside.
ADHD is one of those "We have no quantitative/causative insight as to what the deal is, so let's call a bunch of stuff ADHD, and fling theories at the wall to keep funding coming in."
Perhaps there are a lot of kids where the on-rails cultural approach we have is beneath their skills. I found public school to be a huge joke and waste of time. Dropped out high school as soon as I could, and am 40, near having enough saved to retire on $150k/yr (the only upside to the startup world; easy money).
I think the reality is we have no idea, but need to be convinced we do, and so we just case. It explains all the other historical delusions we built societies around in the past, but have since realized to be nonsense.
Eventually, future humanity will look back on today and laugh at the notions kicked about on HN and elsewhere as naive. But we sure believe.
The problem with this is that I desperately needed direction. I didn't really know what was possible for me to do, and so I tended to stick with what I already knew, especially because I was without an internet-connected computer as a young kid. I was never pushed to go beyond my comfort zone. If I didn't want to enroll in sports-- no problem. If I didn't want to do homework-- no problem!
From my perspective now, I think I would have greatly benefited from some decent structure and discipline. I have that now (er, it comes and goes) but I would have liked to have been taught how to swim before I was pushed into the freezing depths of adulthood without a lifejacket.
...just like a lot of cartoons were back when we were growing up, Transformers and He-Man and even Star Wars were all advertisements for toys (although in Star Wars' case the toys came after the movie. Still made them several times what the movies made them though).
No such thing as free content.
>Basic developmental research on egocentrism and perspective taking, along with a great deal of evidence specifically examining developmental differences in the comprehension of persuasive intent within advertisements, establishes clearly that most children younger than 7–8 years of age do not recognize the persuasive intent of commercial appeals. However, there is far less research examining whether and at what ages children begin to appreciate that advertising messages are inherently biased or on when children begin to develop strategies to counteract the bias within these messages. It is clear that both of these abilities are dependent upon the child’s development of the ability to understand the persuasive intent of advertising, meaning that mature comprehension of advertising occurs no earlier than age 7–8 years on average.
Like the Flash animations I used to watch on albinoblacksheep and newgrounds in middle school, and early YouTube.
Since my daughter turned 3, I allowed her to watch 1 hour/day (2 hours during weekend), and have been very consistent to this rule. After a few weeks, she voluntarily turns off her iPad after the quota ends and plays with her toys, lego,... And she shows no desire to sneakily watch like other kids that being restricted, and never throws tantrum over it. I don't know if this is considered "self driven" but I'm very happy with the way she behaves.
Technology is part of our life, don't understand why parents chose to exclude it from their kids.
If watching is what your kids truly prefer in life, then my view is that you're not going to change that.
The goal is to get them to foster an internal sense of agency and imagination, etc.
TV is just the mind absorbing others creative endeavors.
Think like Bezos wife was recently quoted regarding their kids using knives: rather have a kid missing a finger than one who is incurious
As I think about how to parent, where you're supplying steady inputs into the system with many other inputs, I'm beginning to think we undervalue positive parenting contributions but overvalue its detrimental effects when the end result is unsatisfactory. We have vague ideas about what helps and what hurts, but every person is quite different, an any number of inputs, from genetics and inbuilt predispositions, to one random event or encounter or interaction can perturb one's mind and personality in complex ways. And all of these feed into the outcome: some judgmental, haphazard aggregate of metrics by which we -- and society -- judges new young adult's success.
This book seems to strike a tone of unobtrusive enablement much like what I received and avoids descending into the nihilistic spiral that I ponder a lot, but understandable most commercial works avoid.
In the 60's and 70's when I grew up, free-range kids were the norm. I turned out good, but some of my peers did not. I've felt for some time that for those that do well with free-range parenting, they turn out real well, but for those that don't they turn out really bad. The swings from good to bad with that method are really big.
With the current style of helicopter/over-scheduling parents, I feel the range of good-bad is much smaller. That is, the bad parts are more hidden and maybe even pushed off until sometime in adulthood; the good parts aren't very good, but because the bad parts seem minimized, it seen as an overall win.
As for the bad parts I'm talking about from my childhood, they included death much more frequently from random things. I knew kids that died from accidents ranging from getting hit by cars, to drowning at the reservoir that no one was supposed to swim at, etc. My son is 17 now, and I have never heard of anyone from his school dying. As for other bad parts, I didn't even mention some darker stuff, having to do with sex and drugs. Most of what I experienced, I should really say survived, just doesn't happen anymore. And I'm not talking about kids getting drunk or high at parties. Yes, that still happens in high schools in the US.
I think this works because of the unobtrusive part. Obtrusive enablement, or the protection from natural consequences, can stunt growth just as much as over-parenting.
You definitely want to protect your kids from mistakes that can end with them in jail or dead, but letting them skin their knees or suffer the consequences of being rude to peers allows them to feel the weight of their autonomy.
Part of the reason is as a population, we talk about parenting advice in a universal, context-independent way but the sheer amount of distinct situations in parenting makes it easy to poke holes in universal advice.
Another reason is that we each have our own experience of being parented (often not positive), and may subconsciously judge advice based on its potential to lead to a child experiencing the same bad experiences we had, rather than the overall objective merits of said parenting direction.
A third reason is that we underestimate the amount of negotiating, manipulating, and psychological back and forth that managing kids adds to parenting decisions. Even if the parenting direction is good, executing it properly is an entirely different matter.
Having said that - I agree with most of this article. Control or the illusion of it is a very strong ingredient for mental stability and confidence, especially in undesirable environments. Lack of control in a undesirable situation leads to a feeling of helplessness, which can have cascading effects on mental health.
That said, like most parenting advice, I don't think this qualifies as universal advice. It fits a large body of contexts, but there are several parenting situations I can imagine this having largely little to no effect in.
For the past 20 years, the media has been pushing this narrative that your children are going to get kidnapped, raped, and/or murdered if you leave them out of your sight. Fear sells newspapers.
Personally, I want to raise our son in a suburb and my wife doesn't. I do because my childhood was great in suburbia but there are major family and career trade-offs to do so.
This is essentially the same problem parents face with extended commute times and workloads. Money can lessen these to an extent, huge money a lot more...
It is funny that you maker your kid get "downtime" while you cannot take any for yourself.
Only a chosen few are free and in control, that is the sad fact of modern life.
"this problem has been increasing since the 1960’s because our culture has increasingly valued extrinsic and self-centered goals such as money, status, and physical attractiveness, and devalued community, affiliation, and the pursuit of meaning in life"
A great deal about the 60s was culturally disastrous.
Psychologists (and related specialists) could use more humbleness given the sad state of the science of psychology. Parenting advice, especially one argued in such biased way, is inevitably crude. Parenting is more nuanced, kind of like a conversation, always taking different path, shaped by family circumstances and objectives of everyone involved and frequently taking unexpected turns.
The question is, how best to do all that?
You're right that parenting is difficult and nuanced. You're wrong to use that as an excuse to tune out experts who study child development for a living.
The difficulty and complexity of being a good parent is a reason to seek information and input, not reject it.
There is no way to resolve these ambiguities upfront. You have to listen and observe. That's why parenting resembles conversation that is unique for every parent-child relationship and that evolves over time.
Following advice in this book or any of the many similar books is going to result in crude, clumsy parenting. Particularly so when authors argue for a side in order to stand out or to keep the book focused. That's why these books feel so artificial and kind of extremist.
The article is about parents creating space for kids to actually have more control, which will over time improve their sense of control.
It's not about fooling or manipulating kids. That's a pretty crazy interpretation that makes me wonder if you read it the whole way through.
Relevant bit here: give kids choices, yes, but you (the parent) limit the selection set to things you can live with them choosing.
But at least now I can also now see scams a mile away.
For instance, every company doesn't know the exact amount of money they will make this year, but every employee has a good idea. It's the same system only a little better implementation.
Forcing all the kids into assembly lines and scalping their autonomy is breaking people. It's taking away their ability to think. Which is nice for politics and propaganda, but it's bad if we want a free market with innovation.
Well so was I (Turbo Pascal on DOS ftw), and thanks god responsible adults didn't let me sit in front of the PC all day, and made me learn languages, history, literature, philosophy, mathematics, science, etc.
I'm also straining to see how the adjective "Marxist" found its way on your rant. I fail to see the applicability.
I've met plenty of one-dimensional people who have gone through a liberal arts education. More importantly, I rarely meet a "well-rounded" person who honestly attributes their entire base of knowledge to their education. At most, they'll say that they were first exposed to the idea through a course, but any sort of depth in any topic comes from intrinsically-motivated learning. That type of learning is undoubtedly held back when you make kids do stupid mind-numbing busy work at the pace of the lowest common denominator for 7 hours a day, 5 days a week, 9 months out of the year, 12 years straight.
Did you go to private or public schooling?
Sounds like the kind of soul crushing job school is preparing most children for.
The Western paradigm of education has nothing to do with Marxism and everything to do with Industrialization. Education is an industrial process that mass produces a literate workforce.
In the US, our Industrial Education takes raw materials (uneducated kids), refines them on an assembly line (K-12) by a workforce (teachers), bound to various Quality Assurance processes (SATs, ACTs, etc) that affect their pay, supervised by a central management bureaucracy (the school board) that results in a yearly harvest (Graduation) of brand new workers. This supply of undifferentiated but educated laborers met the demands of manufacturing.
inb4 Education is failing blah, blah, blah...
Previously the large amount of manufacturing demanded a large homogenized manual workforce. As manufacturing moved elsewhere, the market demand for this labor diminished. Like any other large corporation, Industrialized Education is going through a slow decline as demand continues to drop off for it's primary product.
As this general market declines, the market for specialized and refined labor increased. Higher Education is the industrialized refinement for specialization. The end result is a specialized worker commodity. The Industrialization metaphor is even stronger as many of these universities are actual corporations competing to deliver a product for their markets.
> I was programming at 8 but apparently to be "well rounded" I had to do all this other stuff that non-coders deemed important.
That's because you were a raw commodity being transformed into a finished product. You don't ask a car whether it wants to be red. Management didn't ask if you wanted to be well-rounded.
To put it more generally, this is the experience of a sapient being in the process of commodification.
> Forcing all the kids into assembly lines and scalping their autonomy is breaking people. It's taking away their ability to think.
That's the whole point. It's refining a raw product into a finished good.
If all you have is a hammer -, etc.
Truth be told, Education is at once a deeply Enlightenment established good, a nationalistic and civic program, a method of reducing child labor, enculturation, an international competition (both pride and output), a pragmatic way of getting ahead for most of the population, as well as a medium of training a future workforce.
As such any program would be at the mercy of the prevailing cultural and political zeitgeist.
My critique comes from the more recent move of aggressive privatization of education (for-profit colleges, charter schools), combined with increases in standardization (No Child Left Behind, ACTs, and tying teacher pay to those outcomes) which both are relatively new phenomenon. I have a ~glorified opinion~ (hypothesis) that business leaders and politicians made sensible policy decisions based on observed improved output in businesses and factories, such that they both resemble each other after many reforms.
Additionally, we often hear about schools failing to educate kids. But this recent study brings together and asks; How many are performing above their grade? They drew this conclusion:
> Currently, the evidence suggests that between 15% and 45% of students enter the late-elementary classroom each fall already performing at least one year ahead of expectations. Our initial question – How many students are learning above grade level? – needs to be extended. The more important questions may be:
> 1. How should we reorganize our schools, now that we know that large numbers of these students exist?
> 2. How can we best meet these students’ learning needs, if they already have mastered much of the year’s content before the year has even started? And lastly,
> 3. How can schools balance the potential for excellence against the need to achieve basic
proficiency, when the variation in student achievement within classrooms and schools is so vast?
Lastly, I must admit I wrote that as a counter-polemic of OP's original post.
Wait, what? How the heck does Marx come into this?
Do you have any idea what the history of education is? Assembly-line education is a product of the Prussian military, Marx has nothing to do with that.
Better to recognize that subjection to evil and suffering are universal, and the best way to combat them is through individual growth and responsibility - something modern education is severely lacking.
Identity politics is basically a
distraction (sometimes intentional, sometimes not) from development of proletarian class identity, a prerequisite for Marxist (neo- or otherwise) class warfare.
Now, it is clearly, when engaged in by the pro-capitalist neoliberal wing of the Democratic Party (and, also, in the White/Christian identity politics form frequently practiced by the Republican Party, though the people practicing that often rail against identity politics and would never acknowledge engaging in it), an element of class warfare, but by the bourgeoisie against the proletariat; that's more anti-Marxist than neo-Marxist, though, so it still doesn't jibe with your description.
Also - knowing stuff that you don't like is still knowing stuff.
Some people are natural autodidacts, but the school system does not start from the root constraint that everyone can learn by themselves.
I think restricting education from the age of 8 onwards based on what a given 8-year-old likes at that point is just asking for trouble.
I'm very glad my parents and teachers worked hard to make me learn things I had no intention of learning, like math.
You don’t really need teachers.
I have also worked with people who came from the modern "sans-teachers" schools. They were terrible. My impression is that such education reinforces pre-concieved notions of the students, and if they are bad they will just turn worse.
...and also the fact that school is very inefficient. Like out of each 45 minute block, I would say that only like maybe 20 minutes is spent productively. Like I think that during one school day, you waste over 50% of the time.
> I have also worked with people who came from the modern "sans-teachers" schools. They were terrible.
The same can be said about people who came from with-teachers school.
And suddenly 95% of 5th graders are doing math curriculums with a specific focus on game development. Games and gaming are tremendously appealing to young kids over nearly everything else.
But kids don't know much about the world. Their interests will change. They need to be introduced to many (basic) subjects even if they fail to see the long-term benefits of the tools they learn.
Do I understand you correctly that you consider this to be Marxism? It's not. It's the free market re-allocating risk and reward. Maybe you should consider the possibility that there are worthwhile things to be learned in disciplines other than programming. You should maybe ask yourself: if your scam detector is producing false positives, how would you know?
This bodes ill for the future when a good chunk of the remaining jobs will be automated away for good to be replaced with unstructured free time.
It reminds me of a recent article I read about a girl that suffered from anxiety unless she is creating cosplay costumes. It struck me that the particular activity probably had less to do with the solution than the fact that she had something to do.
This is a flimsy setup for your conclusions, which you seem confident about. Do you have data from an actual survey?
Lots of things happened in the 60s. One of them was the first generation being raised by parents who may have spent a significant portion of their childhood living under the Cold War threat of an imminent nuclear holocaust, who then went on to raise their own children.
In 1960, half of the population had a limited number of roles easily available to them: housewife, secretary, nurse (both until marriage), servant. Most of the non-white population was diverted to specific cul-de-sacs in terms of place in society.
Do you think these folks were overflowing with joy and purpose? They did not. Google "female hysteria", a condition that was treated with prescriptions for vibrators, narcotics or institutionalization.
The "top school" thing seems pretty key to me, tbh.
Source: I'm 32 and if I could I'd spend all my time playing video games. This hasn't changed much from back when I was a kid. Doesn't help that games are so much better nowadays either.
FACTORIO IS CRACK COCAINE. Just cheaper and with less withdrawal effects.
I don't walk away with anything other than the experience. The experience needs to be pretty excellent throughout, and in particular grinding and filler needs to be kept to a minimum.
Gotta go, my dwarfen outpost needs me for some more FUN.