Don't blame technology for ruining kids, says danah boyd (she spells it that way -- lower case). boyd spent a decade traveling across America studying kids and their devices to write, "It's Complicated: The Social Lives of Networked Teens."
Her New York Times oped from a few years back, "Blame Society, Not the Screen Time," is a classic. It makes a convincing case that kids just desperately long to be together. It's in their -- in our -- DNA. When denied the opportunity to see each other in person, young people see each other from the "safety" of their homes, by screen. boyd writes:
This is the Catch-22 that we’ve trapped today’s youth in. We’ve locked them indoors because we see the physical world as more dangerous than ever before, even though by almost every measure, we live in the safest society to date. We put unprecedented demands on our kids, maxing them out with structured activities, homework and heavy expectations. And then we’re surprised when they’re frazzled and strung out.
What is the alternative to the lure of screens? The lure of fun. Of friends. Of nature and the mall. (Which sounds like the title of a bad book.)
If Americans truly want to reduce the amount young people use technology, we should free up more of their time. For one thing, we could radically reduce the amount of homework and tests American youth take.... We should also let children roam.
Maybe today is the day to start! If you haven't already, teach your kids how to safely cross a street: Put away any devices. Look left, look right, look left again. Make eye contact a driver when you enter the crosswalk if someone is turning.
And then -- let them walk to a neighbor, a store, a park, a friend. Voila, there they are, having fun IRL. (Even if they get together to play Minecraft.) Tell us how it goes. - LS