I used to use Reddit and Facebook a lot more regularly -- more than daily. But ever since I changed my password to something that I can't recall without a password manager, and added 2-factor auth, I rarely get on just because the lack of ease of use is enough deterrence. Ever since I did a system wipe a few weeks ago, I haven't checked facebook at all because I can't be bothered to get into my password manager.
Though if I were being honest, I now have the meta problem of forcing myself to throw away the keys. I did the same thing with Twitter, even removing it from my phone. Then I reinstalled and logged in because I wanted to stay up to date on a current event one day. Now for a week I've been putting logging out and deleting my cookies.
I personally think on some level that one of the things (if not the only thing) that will make or break my generation is whether or not enough people reach the milestone of recognizing attention as finite resource (both attention in general and individual's own attention).
1) You can't do something about it if you don't know.
2) You can't know if you have no way of becoming aware.
3) You can't become aware if you're always distracted such that you don't receive sufficiently effective exposure.
I think a good solution for this is to make the real world a fun, good place but that requires real friends, a great job, lots of interests and energy after work etc. Everything most people don't have due to the need to get a job for money and go there every day.
If human leaders would be 100 points smarter on the emotional scale, we would put efforts into building great societies where people can enjoy their lives. Put tons of money into using tech to automate really boring jobs at a scale never seen before, and letting people study for free etc.
For example, I never worry about rebooting my iPad for updates. Never. Any time it asks, as long as I'm not actively doing something, I let it. It's 10 minutes, I'll get up and get a cup of coffee no problem. But rebooting my laptop for updates? I have no idea what all is running in the background. I've got five Excel documents, a Powerpoint, and two Word docs I'm working on. Plus a probably an SSH connection to somewhere, plus who knows if Slack is going to come back properly or if it will make me log in again, plus I'll lose my browser sessions and have to log in again to all my work stuff, I need to manually re-establish my VPN connection, and as it all comes back from the reboot, now I have startup crap popping up on boot that I forgot about from last time. Ah shit, and now I find out this update broke some of my software so now I have to find new versions manually for that. And now I've again forgotten what I was supposed to be working on.
I have the same problem you have on a phone, it's too easy to switch between apps and be unproductive. But I've found that (for me) working on an iPad is perfect. I don't have multiple windows open, most apps are expecting to be shut down in the background so they save their state really well, minor OS updates never break app functionality and if something changes, the apps update themselves. And even switching browser tabs is just a tiny bit of a minor inconvenience that I'd rather finish what I'm working on and then get distracted.
Right now on my laptop I have five windows visible, and each one can draw my attention at any moment. That's just not possible on a mobile device, and unlike a phone, an iPad is not designed to fit neatly in your hand with your fingers on the app switcher at all times. For me, it's perfect. If only I could run XCode on it...
We don't let our kids roam the neighborhood anymore even though it's a magnitude safer than it was decades ago. I don't understand how we expect kids to start acting like grown ups between 18-20 when they've been treated like babies until then.
I was working at 14 and driving wherever by 16. By the time I was in college I was completely independent. Maybe 50% of my friends never even had a job and had no idea how to do laundry or take care of themselves.
If my parents said they were limiting my internet I would've laughed in their face
I'm a 90's kid, by the time I was 10 years old I stayed at home by myself and my 18 month younger sister after school and during the summer. We would stop by the store after school, visit friends, take the bus to the pool, etc, we just called our mother at work and left a message so she knew where we were. Hell, I had unfiltered access to the internet - and it's not like online predators were some foreign concept in the early 00's.
I can't say my daughter is going to have completely unmonitored internet access at 10 years old like I did, she's five years old right now and I've got network-wide content filtering deployed to give myself a little safety net in case she stumbles off the beaten path while playing a game or something. I intend to keep this deployed until she's old enough to properly police her own activity, but at a certain point I'll need to trust her to do the right thing and teach instead of restrict. I hope more parents can learn to do the same, and this extends into the physical world as well as the virtual one - we absolutely cannot treat teenagers like children that need to be coddled, they are adults in training and deserve an appropriate level of trust and respect.
I remember riding my bike 10-20 miles when I was 12-14 before cell phones, visiting distant friends and buying random stuff with my $20 allowance. Running errands for my parents too. By 18 my parents were more like mentors than protectors. Just some people I really liked to look up to and help out when things got real gnarly.
Life stuff happened. Flat tires, sketchy situations, talked to the police a few times. Even broke some bones once in a bike accident. Every time I learned how to deal with life situations and make it home alright. Young enough that strangers and the justice system are still ready to give you some slack cuz you're figuring things out, a gift that many kids these days don't get.
It makes you grow up fast. I was babysitting for multiple days at 14, responsibly as any adult. Starting working real jobs soon after, not disclosing because I don't want to dox myself... But I was doing "real adult" jobs where the consequences for mistakes we're so bad that people could die. My boss got several complaints that it was illegal or irresponsible to let a "child" do such work. It wasn't.
1) People are people and what works for some kids doesn't work for others. While we're way past what I'd call ok as a society, kids still should have to prove they deserve independence at a younger age. If (for example) I were your parent and you didn't have a job at 16 and wouldn't get one but were on your phone all the time I might use something like this to motivate you to get out and get a job. If your sibling had a job and were on their own plan etc. then I wouldn't do it there.
2) It sounds like Sophie was in on the experiment and would have been able to opt out of it. I did not get the impression that she was forced into anything by her parents or the author. Especially factoring in the last comment about adding in Netflix.
3) My parents did not do well teaching me basic life skills in preparation for college. I learned most of it on my own. They taught me a lot and limited my independence as I proved or disproved my ability to be independent.
Any I just wanted to put some thoughts out there. 50% of your friends couldn't do laundry by the time they started college. What % could by the time they were done? What % can now? I would have been in the 50% at the beginning, but now I'm not. I didn't know how to tile a wall, but now I do. My eldest sister on the other hand was 100% like you and we have the exact same parents.
Just some food for thought.
The world is a lot harsher when you turn 17-18. Better to learn your way when you're young and most people are willing to accommodate
WRT unrestricted internet/device usage: porn addiction is a thing. So is gaming addiction. Adolescent girls being pressured to send nude photos to their classmates is also a thing. IMO parents should take reasonable measures to protect their children from the worst that is out there.
2) Availability. Your phone is with you all the time. Because it is portable and it is personal. A TV was usually shared and rarely portable like the phone. Same is true of other major time killers.
3) Variety. Phones have a much greater variety of addicting behaviors. It’s like taking a super charger TV, arcade games, and a whole host of other new addicting features (e.g. social media which in addition to the dopamine hits has built in fun peer pressure aspects necessitating their use amongst kids), throwing them in the same device, making it extremely portable and available, and then throwing in some essential features (messaging/phones) so parents have to make them available to kids, and until recently providing no decent ways of limiting the usage. 4) Data and dopamine hits. Almost every other “time killer” until now has had to target a fairly broad demographic but today’s apps and social media sites, etc have the smartest brains in the world sitting around plotting how to get adults and teenagers hooked onto their service based on their individual usage. I’ve quit FB but noticed that the app spent the next month spamming me with a variety of notifications trying to figure out what would get me to open it (a birthday reminder did the trick) and then spammed me with birthday notifications until that stopped working and went back to a variety of notifications again. TV never had the ability to target individuals to this degree.
- Documentation of mistakes
Further, they are idle consumption far and beyond books. I’d question anyone who sees someone sitting on a phone/TV/game all day and think it’s doing anything good for them.
They aren’t exclusively solitary activities. A lot of usage has a social component (it’s communicating with friends). I don’t think you can seriously suggest that relationships forged across a distance are somehow not real or necessarily worse than social relationships you tend to in person.
You can’t just equivocate phones, games and TV – and with phones it‘s really all about the particular usage.
In particular this important social component (uses which allow for communication with other people are some of the most popular) leads me to always be baffled when people automatically connect phone use to being lonely or alone. It can be, but it not necessarily is.
It works by using a dual mode DNS (learn and play modes). Note the app requires vpn approval, but we only control the DNS. If you want to avoid that you can manually set up the phone after a free signup on our studycity org website.
At 14 my parents were like “you're sick? You know where the Dr. is, don't you?”. It helped me – introvert – tremendously functioning in the world.
I wish. I know people in their late 30's who are on their parent's cell phone plan, and have tried (unsuccessfully) to get on their health insurance.
We also have this health insurance thing where you can be insured with your parents up until 25 I guess, if you're still going to school or university.
Maybe your point is "people should stand on their own feet at some point" and maybe I'm not weighing 20s vs 30s enough.. but to me that simply sounds like saving money. Hell, if I had had my parents living close to me in my late 20s and being able to save money just by having some contracts in common, I would've done it.
FWIW, for me it was: car insured with parents until I was like 23 I think, and those first 4-5 years were cheaper by A LOT. And then I could still claim my "no accident/damages in 5 years" fee reduction, although maybe not as much as I could've gotten. But money was a bit tight, so it wasn't really a question of "will this save me something in 10 years" more like "I prefer to have a car (first own, cheap one)" over "nope, no car".
That said, I mean:
"...If my parents said they were limiting my internet I would've laughed in their face..."
If I had witnessed an exchange between parents and their child where the child "...laughed in their face...", I'm certain I would not have characterize whatever parenting style those parents were using as "good".
Their trust made me far more responsible than I would have been if they tried to treat me like a child when I was in my mid-late teens. I knew if I screwed up it was on me and would've felt bad that they misplaced their trust. Kids loooovvveee being treated like adults, I wish more people would use that as leverage.
I think many parents these days make the transition from guardian to mentor years too late
Secondly, lowest common denominator often creates difficult scenarios.
What I was capable of, at say age 14, was not the norm.
Fortunately, I lived in a time and place where that was accepted and there were few issues.
I once spent a few months writing assembly language. I heard get outside a few times, but that was it.
Later, spent another one fixing an old car, to be my first.
Then, out alone in the deep woods with a friend for a few days.
It was like that growing up. A wide range of experiences. Some easy, others not so easy. Danger was present. One paid attention, or faced it.
So pay attention. Rough, but valuable.
When I parented, I faced similar. Ran it about the same way. Some of my kids could handle it. Others could not, or did later.
The one who really could, a lor like me in that, currently travels the world.
I found out I did the exact same thing when I deleted my Reddit account and set limits here on HN. I used to find myself unlocking my phone, looking at it, opening Google News to the same old articles, then locking it and doing something else. I have gotten much more stuff done now that I don't stare at Reddit/HN/other all day.
I feel like society should try to back away from being slaves to our technology, and maybe the popping of the social media bubble, via people realizing how much data they collect, may be the trick to do this.
I wouldn't describe myself as "being a slave to technology"—I just wanted something to entertain me when I had nothing to do. Social media was a bad way to fill that hole, in terms of the emotional costs. Books are a better way to fill that hole. Even if both just look like "staring at your phone screen" from the outside.
I tried that, and it didn't work for me because it's just too easy to switch to another time-absorbing app if the phone is already in my hand.
But I did something similar: I started reading actual books.
The key was to buy used paperbacks for $1 from low-end bookstores. That way I can carry it around and not worry about it, and if it gets lost or damaged, no big deal.
When I'm done with it, I leave it on the bus or train for someone else to find.
Heck, why don’t I just delete it right now…
As long as technological progress continues improving, we will unintentionally (and intentionally) make things more addictive than before. The same process that drives good technological progress also drives bad technological progress.
Paul Graham's essay on this (http://www.paulgraham.com/addiction.html).
1. The limits, creating a hard limit, obviously screen time is going to reduce, you can also make my battery a 10th of the size and achieve the same result, it doesn't mean I'm better off or happier.
2. The surveillance. The writer, as a complete stranger to the teenager (for the most part) tracking her daily usage AND commenting on it whilst sharing it with her mother, is enough to change her behaviour dramatically.
I'd like to see how well self imposed limits work, and if there's any beneficial change people notice.
“Just one problem: I don’t have a child, so I needed to borrow one. Fortunately, my editor gleefully volunteered her 14-year-old, Sophie, to be a test subject.”
What I do now instead: Before picking up the phone/going online, I force myself to give myself a short reason what I want to do and why. This loop helps me to avoid 50% of pick-ups, which is not perfect, but not bad either.
That being said, I think screen time is only an approximate message. I spend tons of time on the computer every day but a lot of it is very productive learning online courses, work, and hobby programming projects. I wouldn't count that time towards something I want to avoid.
This may actually be the best way to teach technical literacy at a young age. When I was young, I thought computers were black boxes that ran on magic. Then I had parental controls set on my user account. I learned really quick about Windows privilege escalation, how to install Linux, WEP cracking, how to load homebrew on the Nintendo DS, etc. I don't think I would have ever gone into Computer Science otherwise.
1) The impact of such tools is heavily affected by the individual. Sophie's personal awareness and will power seem incredibly strong. As she is the child of a NYT editor, this doesn't seem surprising.
2) If people are demanding tools to help them limit their screen consumption time, brands will need to rely more heavily on 'IRL' ways to get in front of consumers (e.g. experiences, events, etc.)
Now, the most anoying thing about this approach is when apps don't want you to disable notifications and constantly complain about it. Facebook Messenger for instance. You have a banner always visible in the list of chats that says "notifications are off, tap here to enable.". I KNOW they are off, I did it on purpose, and there's no way of getting rid of it.
HN Discussion: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=16476727
1) Delete all my time waster apps except Kindle
2) Keep at least 3 books and 2 audiobooks in progress at once
3) any time I want to kill time, read the books
The social networks are what may be drawing most teens, but if they are bored and just wasnt to waste time, I guess anything will do (even old videogames)
Soo.. is there something equivalent for Android? If not, is something coming for Android P?
If you're a parent of teenagers with iPhones this is a pretty big story and the headline at least answers the implied "did it work?" question instead of trying to bait you with it.
For Limiting Teenagers' Screentime, Apple Provides New Controls