Jump to content

Menu

Porn is not the worst thing - S/O Young Teens + Social Media


Recommended Posts

Elders have long complained that whatever young people are doing is a bridge too far.

 

And here we all are, alive and kicking.

 

I tend to dismiss “kids these days†type of arguments.

 

Well, except people don't generally dismiss it about things they decide are actually dangerous.  Kids these days, all smoking.  And we know that actually, that was bad.  

 

And you know, some bridges may not have been very good for us, or may have had real trade-offs, and we just don't really recognize it because we are too immersed.

 

There is actually quite a lot of research to support that interactive computer technology has significant effects on kids beyond even television.  And more is coming out all the time.  People in the social media industry in particular are starting to be worried about that.  

  • Like 4
Link to post
Share on other sites
  • Replies 248
  • Created
  • Last Reply

Top Posters In This Topic

Top Posters In This Topic

Popular Posts

This piece has been all over and it baffled me. A parent of a relatively young kid discovers that if she searches and follows up on the darkest tags she can think of, that the internet has lots of sca

And some of us had NO friends, close or otherwise, until we went online.   I won't ever say my kids can't spend time online because I know how important it was for my own development to finally, fin

I'm a little surprised that she thinks that this sort of behavior didn't exist prior to the internet. Kids being depressed and suicidal and bullying each other and being overly sexual at a young age?

snap chat is six yrs old. You tube and Facebook, over a decade. These things can change and show up fast, but they don’t vanish that fast.

 

Six yrs ago, my oldest was 16. She did not have Snapchat 9 yrs ago but when it appeared, she was prime age for problems with it.

 

 

Things have moved fast, it’s true, but they haven’t moved so fast that those of us with young adults are now totally clueless.

Well yes, that was kind of my point.

Link to post
Share on other sites

You changed your post as I was typing. I was responding to you saying that there needs to be an information campaign about these issues. I am saying that this information has been put out there for parents with various updates for new apps for as long as this sort of technology has been available. The really helpful ones are not put out by mommy bloggers of 9 year olds. They are put out by magazines like PC magazine. Online as well as in print.

Parents are not universally reading PC magazine, at least in my world. Perhaps they should be. IMO it would take an information campaign for them to find that necessary. You can take my word for it, or insist your reality is the same as everyone else's.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Parents are not universally reading PC magazine, at least in my world. Perhaps they should be. IMO it would take an information campaign for them to find that necessary. You can take my word for it, or insist your reality is the same as everyone else's.

I don’t understand why you are being so combative. It is a simple fact that there is and has been information out about this for years in everyone’s reality . It’s in parenting magazines. And on our local news during their parent information pieces. It’s on shows like Sixty Minutes (Adam Cook discusses tech and privacy). It’s not just tucked away where only computer geeks will hear about it.

 

Of course it’s not going to necessarily be on everyone’s radar if they are in a different stage of life. It’s like something like the “benefits of breastfeeding “. The information has been out there for years but you might not read that information until you have or are going to have a baby.

  • Like 3
Link to post
Share on other sites

I have an Aspie son that would be seriously depressed without his online friends and interactions.   My dd with anxiety is much better at making friends in real life, but she also has online friends. We monitor closely, check everything, and set time limits by setting up other activities that need to be done first and time ranges (can be on between 4 and 7pm if school is done, not at TKD or other activity, etc).

 

Someone mentioned texting at someone's house to have them come outside.  I do that with oldest dd all the time.  She knows I'm on my way to pick her up so she has her phone close and will look when a text comes in.  Calling wouldn't be any quicker in our situation, but I'm not sure why it would in any situation unless they have the phone set to ring for calls only and not for texts.

 

Saturday we marched in a St. Patrick's Day parade.  I had responsibility for 8 kids not my own.  At the end of the parade, in all the chaos of thousands of people, in all the noise from bagpippers, Irish dancers, spectators, etc. I had to let their parents know where we were waiting for them to come get the kids.  Yes, dh did point out that we should have set something up when we saw the parents at drop-off, but as chaotic as it was anyplace we set-up could have ended up not working out.  It was great to be able to send a quick text coordinating.  Nobody would have been able to hear a phone call.  I actually didn't hear my phone ding for the text but when I took it out, I had a message so it was easy to answer back without playing phone tag.

  • Like 2
Link to post
Share on other sites

As far as  bringing up PC magazine type articles, I was simply saying that the best source for technical information on how to set up controls or on how different apps operate, are from people who actually research this stuff.  Just like finding out things about breastfeeding might be best coming from  groups like La Leche League or a Lactation Consultant, not a mommy blogger.  (I have nothing against mommy bloggers but they aren't necessarily experts on things.) 

  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites

My parents and teachers did tell me I was reading too much, now that I think about it. Before smart phones that's what I did, read. Same arguments in some sense....it was keeping me from socializing with people, from getting enough exercise, and I might come across questionable content. 

 

 

Yeah and you know thinking about this some more, they moan(ed) about this, but they provided no other alternative either.  Is it really so nuts that people want to be busy doing something?  So...stop reading, but by the way you can't go and do anything else.  Stop whining about being bored...but oh by the way there is nothing else you are allowed to do.  Can't walk anywhere alone.  There are no places you can hang out.  You have no money...no transportation...no nothing, but stop reading so much.  Apparently staring at a wall all day is better?!

 

I cut down on my kids' device time by keeping them busy with other things.  I don't tell them to stop doing it, but figure something else out (when there is no something else). 

  • Like 3
Link to post
Share on other sites

As far as  bringing up PC magazine type articles, I was simply saying that the best source for technical information on how to set up controls or on how different apps operate, are from people who actually research this stuff.  Just like finding out things about breastfeeding might be best coming from  groups like La Leche League or a Lactation Consultant, not a mommy blogger.  (I have nothing against mommy bloggers but they aren't necessarily experts on things.) 

 

Or do what I do. Sit down and try to break them yourself.

 

I have yet to find one I could not break.

 

And I'm no genius by any stretch.  My kids figure this stuff out faster than I do. 

 

We tried some stuff years ago and my husband finally said he didn't have a problem with not having them.  So that's what we decided. 

  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites

Yeah and you know thinking about this some more, they moan(ed) about this, but they provided no other alternative either.  Is it really so nuts that people want to be busy doing something?  So...stop reading, but by the way you can't go and do anything else.  Stop whining about being bored...but oh by the way there is nothing else you are allowed to do.  Can't walk anywhere alone.  There are no places you can hang out.  You have no money...no transportation...no nothing, but stop reading so much.  Apparently staring at a wall all day is better?!

 

I cut down on my kids' device time by keeping them busy with other things.  I don't tell them to stop doing it, but figure something else out (when there is no something else). 

 

Well, I was supposed to be outside "playing" whatever that meant. So I took the book with me and climbed a tree and read up there, lol. 

 

And yes, we've found with my son that the best way to limit his gaming was to fill his day with something else, rathe than limiting the gaming directly. It was a symptom, not the true problem. 

  • Like 2
Link to post
Share on other sites

Well, I was supposed to be outside "playing" whatever that meant. So I took the book with me and climbed a tree and read up there, lol. 

 

And yes, we've found with my son that the best way to limit his gaming was to fill his day with something else, rathe than limiting the gaming directly. It was a symptom, not the true problem. 

 

"playing" though...I mean we had a little tiny patch of grass....if that's what you mean.  And in the dead of winter you couldn't hack spending more than an hour out there with cheap Kmart winter gear...

 

I had a bike at one point..that was stolen.  Besides that I had nothing to play with.  Yes I did play various imaginative games...you know when I was like 5. 

Link to post
Share on other sites

I think it’s incumbent on the person buying the technology to learn how it works. Choosing not to have something is fine by me. There are several devices I won’t buy and there’s no way I’m passing out phones to tiny children. By design.

 

Choosing to have something and then say they should be a public information campaign on how to use it seems odd. The AAP has been recommending that parents limit screen time for most kids for, I think, as long as my older son has been old enough for screens. The pediatrician asks about it. The little child development fact sheets that come from the state say it. There’s a wide range of available information about the issues and risks. There’s a wide range of available information about how to set tight parental controls. If someone can post on a message board, I don’t see what is stopping them from finding information in PC magazine or elsewhere.

 

I always hear about “kids can get around the controls†because they are so clever. Not without my secure password they can’t. Most parents aren’t very careful about their passwords and pin. I know someone who uses her kids birthdays. They’ll never guess that, gosh golly. 🤣

 

I’m not a computer person (I’m at best a moderately savvy power-user). I don’t have any special tricks up my sleeve. My son has been programming since he was 7 and is one of the most intellectually gifted people I’ve ever met. The only time he’s gotten around certain controls is if I have shared the password with him in a pinch for some reason and then not changed it promptly.

  • Like 2
Link to post
Share on other sites

I think it’s incumbent on the person buying the technology to learn how it works. Choosing not to have something is fine by me. There are several devices I won’t buy and there’s no way I’m passing out phones to tiny children. By design.

 

Choosing to have something and then say they should be a public information campaign on how to use it seems odd. The AAP has been recommending that parents limit screen time for most kids for, I think, as long as my older son has been old enough for screens. The pediatrician asks about it. The little child development fact sheets that come from the state say it. There’s a wide range of available information about the issues and risks. There’s a wide range of available information about how to set tight parental controls. If someone can post on a message board, I don’t see what is stopping them from finding information in PC magazine or elsewhere.

 

I always hear about “kids can get around the controls†because they are so clever. Not without my secure password they can’t. Most parents aren’t very careful about their passwords and pin. I know someone who uses her kids birthdays. They’ll never guess that, gosh golly. 🤣

 

I’m not a computer person (I’m at best a moderately savvy power-user). I don’t have any special tricks up my sleeve. My son has been programming since he was 7 and is one of the most intellectually gifted people I’ve ever met. The only time he’s gotten around certain controls is if I have shared the password with him in a pinch for some reason and then not changed it promptly.

 

It can be as simple as downloading another web browser. 

 

At one point we had it set up so the router would not allow access after a certain time at night.  But basically that just did a shut down at that time of night.  All it took to circumvent that was to shut down, and then turn everything back on.  The only other option was to physically unplug the device and hide it, but DH didn't want to do that because he runs a server. 

 

Then there are these services you can buy that monitor every single thing you do, but that bugged DH because he didn't want every single thing we do being monitored with that information held somewhere else to be done whatever with. 

 

I think there could be better options out there, but the options are not great. 

 

  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites

But it’s not new. I am not criticizing anyone but I have been hearing about this since my 20 year old was a tween. I find it very surprising that anyone would think that it is new.

10 years may not seem new, but it’s generationally new. Anyone with a 20 year old child did not grow up with a smart phone, and we are having to figure out how to parent this new world of devices/social media because we have no precedent. Additionally, 10 years ago there may have been MySpace, Second Life, web forums - hardly the same as what and how kids access media now - and I’m sure there were dark corners of the web then too, but again the content has evolved and the access has evolved, and the EASE at which we are all exposed to things that lack empathy, lack humanity, and the rate at which these points of exposure change is so ever changing - this is new.
  • Like 3
Link to post
Share on other sites

I think it’s incumbent on the person buying the technology to learn how it works. Choosing not to have something is fine by me. There are several devices I won’t buy and there’s no way I’m passing out phones to tiny children. By design.

 

Choosing to have something and then say they should be a public information campaign on how to use it seems odd. The AAP has been recommending that parents limit screen time for most kids for, I think, as long as my older son has been old enough for screens. The pediatrician asks about it. The little child development fact sheets that come from the state say it. There’s a wide range of available information about the issues and risks. There’s a wide range of available information about how to set tight parental controls. If someone can post on a message board, I don’t see what is stopping them from finding information in PC magazine or elsewhere.

 

I always hear about “kids can get around the controls†because they are so clever. Not without my secure password they can’t. Most parents aren’t very careful about their passwords and pin. I know someone who uses her kids birthdays. They’ll never guess that, gosh golly. 🤣

 

I’m not a computer person (I’m at best a moderately savvy power-user). I don’t have any special tricks up my sleeve. My son has been programming since he was 7 and is one of the most intellectually gifted people I’ve ever met. The only time he’s gotten around certain controls is if I have shared the password with him in a pinch for some reason and then not changed it promptly.

Wasn't it you who posted that devices were being handed out in schools?

Link to post
Share on other sites

I don’t understand why you are being so combative. It is a simple fact that there is and has been information out about this for years in everyone’s reality . It’s in parenting magazines. And on our local news during their parent information pieces. It’s on shows like Sixty Minutes (Adam Cook discusses tech and privacy). It’s not just tucked away where only computer geeks will hear about it.

 

Of course it’s not going to necessarily be on everyone’s radar if they are in a different stage of life. It’s like something like the “benefits of breastfeeding “. The information has been out there for years but you might not read that information until you have or are going to have a baby.

Hahaha, I was going to ask you why *you* were being so combative. Unfortunately, by the time kids are approaching their tweens, no one is handing out the equivalent of breastfeeding information to parents. Parents have returned to work, they might be researching colleges or something, but really,  this information it too important to hope they will run across it on Sixty Minutes or something.

Link to post
Share on other sites

My one regret is I didn't pay enough attention to his IPod. I should have treated it just like a computer or smart phone.

Yup, if they have wifi, the iPod does everything except phone. And I think there are apps for that, although all the kids I know who tried them had no success - the apps were too glitchy.

Edited by KathyBC
  • Like 2
Link to post
Share on other sites

I think it’s incumbent on the person buying the technology to learn how it works. Choosing not to have something is fine by me. There are several devices I won’t buy and there’s no way I’m passing out phones to tiny children. By design.

 

 

Except that's not what's happening. Well-meaning cousins/grandparents/whomever are gifting their old phones to kids, the parents either don't have a smart phone or use it strictly in a grown-up fashion. The kids access so much information from other kids at p.s. Which, now that I think about it, is perhaps why this primarily homeschooling forum is having trouble seeing the issue.

  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites

10 years may not seem new, but it’s generationally new. Anyone with a 20 year old child did not grow up with a smart phone, and we are having to figure out how to parent this new world of devices/social media because we have no precedent. Additionally, 10 years ago there may have been MySpace, Second Life, web forums - hardly the same as what and how kids access media now - and I’m sure there were dark corners of the web then too, but again the content has evolved and the access has evolved, and the EASE at which we are all exposed to things that lack empathy, lack humanity, and the rate at which these points of exposure change is so ever changing - this is new.

Really appreciate how well you said that.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Except that's not what's happening. Well-meaning cousins/grandparents/whomever are gifting their old phones to kids, the parents either don't have a smart phone or use it strictly in a grown-up fashion. The kids access so much information from other kids at p.s. Which, now that I think about it, is perhaps why this primarily homeschooling forum is having trouble seeing the issue.

If someone gives my sons something I don’t want them to have or they can’t handle, that something goes away. It’s really that simple.

 

I’ve got 1 son in public school and 1 at home. I also have 2 nieces who live with me in public school and a niece and a nephew I take care of quite a bit in public school. I’m not clueless about the influences of kids at public school.

 

I still think that if my kids have something, it’s on me to know how to use it and set the right limits. The right limit could be “thanks for the phone Grandma but we aren’t letting 7 year old Susie have a personal mobile device yet. Would you like this back since we aren’t using it?â€

Edited by LucyStoner
  • Like 3
Link to post
Share on other sites

If someone gives my sons something I don’t want to have or they can’t handle, that something goes away. It’s really that simple.

 

I’ve got 1 son in public school and 1 at home. I also have 2 nieces who live with me in public school and a niece and a nephew I take care of quite a bit in public school. I’m not clueless about the influences of kids at public school.

 

I still think that if my kids have something, it’s on me to know how to use it and set the right limits. The right limit could be “thanks for the phone Grandma but we aren’t letting 7 year old Susie have a personal mobile device yet. Would you like this back since we aren’t using it?â€

Absolutely yes.

Link to post
Share on other sites

A friend is a police detective and he was sharing with me, in a five minute conversation, so just skimming the surface, some of the apps and things criminals use (not special criminal ones, just ones people use to hide from someone.). He works in some sort of tech where he gets info from criminals phones. He says his daughter is getting a jitterbug phone when she gets old enough. Says they still make them! So it's not just paranoid parents making this decision. He also worked in crimes against children before his current job.

A parent making decisions based on what they have seen of the worst dregs of human behavior is acting paranoid.

  • Like 4
Link to post
Share on other sites

I'm wondering how on earth to balance budding independence and this unmoderated arena, because I agree, just saying your kids can never go online is not really a solution.

For us, it has been the same way we balance independence in other areas of life. When DD was first online, I closely monitored all her activity. As she got older, consistently followed the rules we set (such as not connecting on social media with people she doesn't know IRL), and showed that she had the sense to come to us when something problematic happened, we gave her more independence and privacy, just as we have with her ability to take public transit, stay at friend's houses, etc.

  • Like 4
Link to post
Share on other sites

If someone gives my sons something I don’t want them to have or they can’t handle, that something goes away. It’s really that simple.

 

I’ve got 1 son in public school and 1 at home. I also have 2 nieces who live with me in public school and a niece and a nephew I take care of quite a bit in public school. I’m not clueless about the influences of kids at public school.

 

I still think that if my kids have something, it’s on me to know how to use it and set the right limits. The right limit could be “thanks for the phone Grandma but we aren’t letting 7 year old Susie have a personal mobile device yet. Would you like this back since we aren’t using it?â€

 

As far as gifting, I agree with you in principle, but I don't find it as easy in practice.  My dd13 uses an old phone that belonged to my sister and I let her have, so far so good.  It has no phone plan, so she uses it like a tablet, more or less.

 

Her grandmother, in total good faith, offered to by her minutes for it for her birthday.  I can of course say no, but - it makes for another area where I am supposedly not letting her do what other kids do.  

 

I hadn't intended to let her take it to school, either.  But - they use them in class a lot, especially for looking up French words - it's an immersion class.  She has a small paper dictionary, but it's easier for the teacher if they have a better online one, and the class dictionary is not that much better and there are only a few.  And they use them for other classes too.

 

I could still not allow it, but then it seems still to be making more trouble, singling her out, making things more difficult for the teacher.

 

I would actually love it if they just made the schools free of the darn things.  Because I know that's what the kids spend their lunch hour doing a lot of the time.  And even if she doesn't have her phone, she is with her friends using theirs.  It's not just the content either, but the cumulative time wracked up.

  • Like 2
Link to post
Share on other sites

Definitely NOT easy in practice.  My kids go to my dad's every summer for a couple of weeks (sometimes longer).  Even when little it was a free for all on everything including giving them stuff I don't allow.  It upset me of course, but I decided to let it go for the few weeks.  Mostly because it was just a few weeks. 

 

I do have hills to die on for sure though.  I never allowed toy guns and a gift of a toy gun would have gone in the trash.  I don't care who it comes from.

 

 

  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites

Definitely NOT easy in practice.  My kids go to my dad's every summer for a couple of weeks (sometimes longer).  Even when little it was a free for all on everything including giving them stuff I don't allow.  It upset me of course, but I decided to let it go for the few weeks.  Mostly because it was just a few weeks. 

 

I do have hills to die on for sure though.  I never allowed toy guns and a gift of a toy gun would have gone in the trash.  I don't care who it comes from.

 

Oh yeah, dd13 has been at my dad's this week.  His wife posted a pic of her with the other granddaughter - a baby - in her la on FB.  She's looking at her phone while holding the baby.

 

But - it's not my house.  I should probably have told her to leave it home but then she'd be asking my dad to use his tablet.  I don't expect him to fight with her about it on their holiday.

  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites

A parent making decisions based on what they have seen of the worst dregs of human behavior is acting paranoid.

There was a time when I would have agreed. But not anymore. Turns out that’s not the worse dregs of humans. It’s just humans being human and those select few got caught.

 

There’s a crazy amount of iffed up crap the average normal seeming human is up to these days.

  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites

This article discusses the insidious effect technology has on our brains in the terms of flow psychology. I don’t have time to discuss it since I’m meeting my teens in the backyard in thirty minutes to clean it up, but the ideas laid out here ring true for me. I’m embarrassed to admit I called into work sick more than once in my 20s because I’d played Sid Meyer’s Revolution all night and now I was going to be late. I broke myself of that but then spent a good part of 1999 on veg source hunting down the best deals on used currciculum while letting my kids pretty much take care of themselves. It wasn’t an addiction per se—I was dreaming, solving problems, and in a heightened state of mental stimulation I couldn’t get from my real life. If I’m honest, that’s why I find myself drawn here again and again against my will at times. It’s noy a bad thing until you realize it’s consuming ever larger chunks of your life.

 

One of my kid spent ten days in a psychiatric hospital after attempting suicide for the fourth time. She began self harming in her tween years due to the influence of the internet. Technically i didn’t let me kids have “social media†but fan fiction sites and deviant art opened a whole ugly world to her. I thought she was just expressing her creativity.

 

There is more but I just deleted a bunch because I can’t use her personal story to bolster my arguement. It’s not an arguement, it’s a plea. Take this stuff seriously. You may not have a problem; this or that kid may self-regulate. Some of my kids have no issues self regulating. But for others it’s a dark, constant struggle. Don’t discount the desperation as paranoia until you’ve seen the very real and ugly consequences. This daughter has asked me to please cut off her siblings from as much of it as I can, particularly in the tween and early teen years when their grasp on reality is still forming.

 

Anyway, here is the article:

 

https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2018/mar/15/meet-the-tech-evangelist-who-now-fears-for-our-mental-health?utm_source=esp&utm_medium=Email&utm_campaign=GU+Today+USA+-+Collections+2017&utm_term=267584&subid=21688839&CMP=GT_US_collection

  • Like 12
Link to post
Share on other sites

This article discusses the insidious effect technology has on our brains in the terms of flow psychology. I don’t have time to discuss it since I’m meeting my teens in the backyard in thirty minutes to clean it up, but the ideas laid out here ring true for me. I’m embarrassed to admit I called into work sick more than once in my 20s because I’d played Sid Meyer’s Revolution all night and now I was going to be late. I broke myself of that but then spent a good part of 1999 on veg source hunting down the best deals on used currciculum while letting my kids pretty much take care of themselves. It wasn’t an addiction per se—I was dreaming, solving problems, and in a heightened state of mental stimulation I couldn’t get from my real life. If I’m honest, that’s why I find myself drawn here again and again against my will at times. It’s noy a bad thing until you realize it’s consuming ever larger chunks of your life.

 

One of my kid spent ten days in a psychiatric hospital after attempting suicide for the fourth time. She began self harming in her tween years due to the influence of the internet. Technically i didn’t let me kids have “social media†but fan fiction sites and deviant art opened a whole ugly world to her. I thought she was just expressing her creativity.

 

There is more but I just deleted a bunch because I can’t use her personal story to bolster my arguement. It’s not an arguement, it’s a plea. Take this stuff seriously. You may not have a problem; this or that kid may self-regulate. Some of my kids have no issues self regulating. But for others it’s a dark, constant struggle. Don’t discount the desperation as paranoia until you’ve seen the very real and ugly consequences. This daughter has asked me to please cut off her siblings from as much of it as I can, particularly in the tween and early teen years when their grasp on reality is still forming.

 

Anyway, here is the article:

 

https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2018/mar/15/meet-the-tech-evangelist-who-now-fears-for-our-mental-health?utm_source=esp&utm_medium=Email&utm_campaign=GU+Today+USA+-+Collections+2017&utm_term=267584&subid=21688839&CMP=GT_US_collection

Your first paragraph . . .yes. You described it so well. Saving link to read later.

  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites

Also I’d like to add that my second oldest holds dual degrees in neuroscience and computer science and as a result of what she knows, she purposefully stays off of social media and counsels her friends who are having kids to keep tablets away from their babies and toddlers. She believes they often create short attention spans since kids learn to hop from game to game to game to video and back to a game without ever feeling satisfied with what they are doing in the moment. It all comes down to dopamine.

  • Like 2
Link to post
Share on other sites

This article discusses the insidious effect technology has on our brains in the terms of flow psychology. I don’t have time to discuss it since I’m meeting my teens in the backyard in thirty minutes to clean it up, but the ideas laid out here ring true for me. I’m embarrassed to admit I called into work sick more than once in my 20s because I’d played Sid Meyer’s Revolution all night and now I was going to be late. I broke myself of that but then spent a good part of 1999 on veg source hunting down the best deals on used currciculum while letting my kids pretty much take care of themselves. It wasn’t an addiction per se—I was dreaming, solving problems, and in a heightened state of mental stimulation I couldn’t get from my real life. If I’m honest, that’s why I find myself drawn here again and again against my will at times. It’s noy a bad thing until you realize it’s consuming ever larger chunks of your life.

 

One of my kid spent ten days in a psychiatric hospital after attempting suicide for the fourth time. She began self harming in her tween years due to the influence of the internet. Technically i didn’t let me kids have “social media†but fan fiction sites and deviant art opened a whole ugly world to her. I thought she was just expressing her creativity.

 

There is more but I just deleted a bunch because I can’t use her personal story to bolster my arguement. It’s not an arguement, it’s a plea. Take this stuff seriously. You may not have a problem; this or that kid may self-regulate. Some of my kids have no issues self regulating. But for others it’s a dark, constant struggle. Don’t discount the desperation as paranoia until you’ve seen the very real and ugly consequences. This daughter has asked me to please cut off her siblings from as much of it as I can, particularly in the tween and early teen years when their grasp on reality is still forming.

 

Anyway, here is the article:

 

https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2018/mar/15/meet-the-tech-evangelist-who-now-fears-for-our-mental-health?utm_source=esp&utm_medium=Email&utm_campaign=GU+Today+USA+-+Collections+2017&utm_term=267584&subid=21688839&CMP=GT_US_collection

Your honesty is so appreciated.
  • Like 3
Link to post
Share on other sites

This article discusses the insidious effect technology has on our brains in the terms of flow psychology. I don’t have time to discuss it since I’m meeting my teens in the backyard in thirty minutes to clean it up, but the ideas laid out here ring true for me. I’m embarrassed to admit I called into work sick more than once in my 20s because I’d played Sid Meyer’s Revolution all night and now I was going to be late. I broke myself of that but then spent a good part of 1999 on veg source hunting down the best deals on used currciculum while letting my kids pretty much take care of themselves. It wasn’t an addiction per se—I was dreaming, solving problems, and in a heightened state of mental stimulation I couldn’t get from my real life. If I’m honest, that’s why I find myself drawn here again and again against my will at times. It’s noy a bad thing until you realize it’s consuming ever larger chunks of your life.

 

One of my kid spent ten days in a psychiatric hospital after attempting suicide for the fourth time. She began self harming in her tween years due to the influence of the internet. Technically i didn’t let me kids have “social media†but fan fiction sites and deviant art opened a whole ugly world to her. I thought she was just expressing her creativity.

 

There is more but I just deleted a bunch because I can’t use her personal story to bolster my arguement. It’s not an arguement, it’s a plea. Take this stuff seriously. You may not have a problem; this or that kid may self-regulate. Some of my kids have no issues self regulating. But for others it’s a dark, constant struggle. Don’t discount the desperation as paranoia until you’ve seen the very real and ugly consequences. This daughter has asked me to please cut off her siblings from as much of it as I can, particularly in the tween and early teen years when their grasp on reality is still forming.

 

Anyway, here is the article:

 

https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2018/mar/15/meet-the-tech-evangelist-who-now-fears-for-our-mental-health?utm_source=esp&utm_medium=Email&utm_campaign=GU+Today+USA+-+Collections+2017&utm_term=267584&subid=21688839&CMP=GT_US_collection

Your story is incredibly common. So so very common and the way you described your own pull towards it would resonate with many. Thank you so much for posting this.

  • Like 4
Link to post
Share on other sites

Also I’d like to add that my second oldest holds dual degrees in neuroscience and computer science and as a result of what she knows, she purposefully stays off of social media and counsels her friends who are having kids to keep tablets away from their babies and toddlers. She believes they often create short attention spans since kids learn to hop from game to game to game to video and back to a game without ever feeling satisfied with what they are doing in the moment. It all comes down to dopamine.

Your daughter and I would be the best of friends. She is doing exactly what I spend my time doing because of my experience in similar fields. Those of us who know the brain science and can easily spot the precursors often feel like Cassandra from Greek mythology. Yelling warnings from the roof tops while everyone looks at us like we are crazy. If I got money for every time I got the "you were right, wish I had listened" speech I could take a nice vacation.

  • Like 4
Link to post
Share on other sites

This article discusses the insidious effect technology has on our brains in the terms of flow psychology. I don’t have time to discuss it since I’m meeting my teens in the backyard in thirty minutes to clean it up, but the ideas laid out here ring true for me. I’m embarrassed to admit I called into work sick more than once in my 20s because I’d played Sid Meyer’s Revolution all night and now I was going to be late. I broke myself of that but then spent a good part of 1999 on veg source hunting down the best deals on used currciculum while letting my kids pretty much take care of themselves. It wasn’t an addiction per se—I was dreaming, solving problems, and in a heightened state of mental stimulation I couldn’t get from my real life. If I’m honest, that’s why I find myself drawn here again and again against my will at times. It’s noy a bad thing until you realize it’s consuming ever larger chunks of your life.

 

One of my kid spent ten days in a psychiatric hospital after attempting suicide for the fourth time. She began self harming in her tween years due to the influence of the internet. Technically i didn’t let me kids have “social media†but fan fiction sites and deviant art opened a whole ugly world to her. I thought she was just expressing her creativity.

 

There is more but I just deleted a bunch because I can’t use her personal story to bolster my arguement. It’s not an arguement, it’s a plea. Take this stuff seriously. You may not have a problem; this or that kid may self-regulate. Some of my kids have no issues self regulating. But for others it’s a dark, constant struggle. Don’t discount the desperation as paranoia until you’ve seen the very real and ugly consequences. This daughter has asked me to please cut off her siblings from as much of it as I can, particularly in the tween and early teen years when their grasp on reality is still forming.

 

Anyway, here is the article:

 

https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2018/mar/15/meet-the-tech-evangelist-who-now-fears-for-our-mental-health?utm_source=esp&utm_medium=Email&utm_campaign=GU+Today+USA+-+Collections+2017&utm_term=267584&subid=21688839&CMP=GT_US_collection

 

Yes, Barb, sadly, this.

 

Guys the above is not uncommon.  Your "good, mature kid" can get drawn in to a whole lot of things online without you having any idea that it is happening.  When they are having trouble with an irl problem, they can escape online and fill their minds with endless negative images and ideas.  It's not that none of it is anywhere else, but not in the endless, always available ways.  And at least you might see it in their rooms.

 

(And, I am speaking also of young teens who just don't have discernment or the emotional strength or the coping skills that older teens may have.  It's like throwing your child into all that is sordid about adult life with no mentor.  And it's addictive.)

 

 

  • Like 3
Link to post
Share on other sites

This article discusses the insidious effect technology has on our brains in the terms of flow psychology. I don’t have time to discuss it since I’m meeting my teens in the backyard in thirty minutes to clean it up, but the ideas laid out here ring true for me. I’m embarrassed to admit I called into work sick more than once in my 20s because I’d played Sid Meyer’s Revolution all night and now I was going to be late. I broke myself of that but then spent a good part of 1999 on veg source hunting down the best deals on used currciculum while letting my kids pretty much take care of themselves. It wasn’t an addiction per se—I was dreaming, solving problems, and in a heightened state of mental stimulation I couldn’t get from my real life. If I’m honest, that’s why I find myself drawn here again and again against my will at times. It’s noy a bad thing until you realize it’s consuming ever larger chunks of your life.

 

One of my kid spent ten days in a psychiatric hospital after attempting suicide for the fourth time. She began self harming in her tween years due to the influence of the internet. Technically i didn’t let me kids have “social media†but fan fiction sites and deviant art opened a whole ugly world to her. I thought she was just expressing her creativity.

 

There is more but I just deleted a bunch because I can’t use her personal story to bolster my arguement. It’s not an arguement, it’s a plea. Take this stuff seriously. You may not have a problem; this or that kid may self-regulate. Some of my kids have no issues self regulating. But for others it’s a dark, constant struggle. Don’t discount the desperation as paranoia until you’ve seen the very real and ugly consequences. This daughter has asked me to please cut off her siblings from as much of it as I can, particularly in the tween and early teen years when their grasp on reality is still forming.

 

Anyway, here is the article:

 

https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2018/mar/15/meet-the-tech-evangelist-who-now-fears-for-our-mental-health?utm_source=esp&utm_medium=Email&utm_campaign=GU+Today+USA+-+Collections+2017&utm_term=267584&subid=21688839&CMP=GT_US_collection

Oh hon. I’m sorry your family has suffered like this. Thanks for sharing. It’s no fun putting heartaches out there but it’s appreciated.

  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites

Curious if anyone thinks limiting the amount of time on internet/social media/etc would be enough to curtail an addiction or other issues?

I don’t. No one tells an addict having a little __ is okay. Because an addict has an extremely difficult time determining and making that judgement call.

 

But I personally do think strong limits during the younger years reduce chance of addiction. There’s something about the young developing mind/body that seems to make it easier to fall into addiction and once it does, it seems to fall deeper in than later in life start of addictions. Or at least that’s been my observation. Which is limited of course.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Curious if anyone thinks limiting the amount of time on internet/social media/etc would be enough to curtail an addiction or other issues?

 

Ds was addicted to first person shooters.  It was a dopamine thing.  He went off first person shooter games for 3 years cold turkey.  He had other internet access, social media, etc.  They don't affect HIS brain the same way.  He now can game responsibly and is not addicted.  His brain also had time to mature (from age 13 to almost age 17). 

 

BTW - if someone asks about computer addiction, I will respond with our experience.  But I do not assume that all kids will respond the same way to computer games.  Because. . . they don't. 

  • Like 2
Link to post
Share on other sites

Curious if anyone thinks limiting the amount of time on internet/social media/etc would be enough to curtail an addiction or other issues?

In lieu of complete blackout? We’re trying that here. I have two teens at home right now. It does feel weird to manage the internet usage of my 16 and 18yo adult offspring, but the hard limits were a joint decision back in January due to our moving house. When we were transitioning, it took us about three weeks to get the boxes inspected, the wiring tweaked, everything hooked up, etc so we went for a month with no WiFi. Data is limited and also shared between seven of us so the girls had to be careful to use data only for Blackboard and their other homework sites (by patching into their phone data). No social media, no streamed music or video, no Snapchat or live games. It drove them a little crazy at first but after the first few days they began to rediscover their free time. Chores began to get done. Sleep was to be had lol.

 

The younger one asked me if there was any way to should down her phone for a chunk of every day once we got the internet back. The older one wasn’t as happy with the idea but was willing to go along. So I lock them out of the router before 6 and after 10. It seems to be helping.

Link to post
Share on other sites

I think there’s continuum from healthy use to addiction. The article I linked touches on that a little. Teens who are preoccupied with technology to the extent that it’s causig personality changes or work isn’t getting done or they aren’t getting up on time aren’t necessarily addicted. My girls are doing well with limits because they while they are having trouble self-regulating, they welcome the outside accountability.

 

To contrast, my son was showing addictive behavior 2-3 years ago as a tween. He would sneak behind my back, break rules, hide his devices, and get up in the middle of the night to game or play in an incognito window during school when I was busy with laundry or with teaching someone else. He was agitated and stressed whenever he wasn’t playing, easy to anger and tears, and had no other topic of conversation outside of his games. He pushed past the boundaries I set and downloaded things he wasn’t supposed to. For him, I had to shut down his games cold turkey. We’ve just begun allowing a little Geometry Dash and Minecraft back in since he’s almost 13, but no Discord or other message boards. Those were not a good scene for him. I caught him on Minecraft during school last week and he was disappointed and remorseful. We’ve been talking a lot about dopamine and addiction and gaming and the way they are specifically made to addict you. So he recognized the situation for what it was. At first I told him I didn’t think he was ready to have his games back, but he asked me to install cold turkey on his computer and block YouTube completely because he has no control with YouTube, and block his games except for a window in the evening. So far he hasn’t tried to circumvent the software and he seems to be doing better.

Edited by Barb_
  • Like 2
Link to post
Share on other sites

Curious if anyone thinks limiting the amount of time on internet/social media/etc would be enough to curtail an addiction or other issues?

 

I suspect once there is an established problem, resetting requires a much more significant withdrawal.  I think significant limits can help before that though.

 

Two related things to me though:

 

I think age is a real factor.  Developing brains don't have the resilience or ability to bounce back or revert to a normal pattern in the same way an adult brain does.  My suspicion is that like many addictions, incidence will go down a fair bit if use is put off somewhat.

 

And given that computers are used in schools and work, that creates a bit of a difficulty.  Not only can many not escape them, that time counts as use.  So the more use in that environment, I think the less use you are going to want for things like entertainment.

 

In that it's a bit like problems with binge eating - you can't stop eating altogether, but you really don't want to put yourself into environments that could make things worse.

  • Like 2
Link to post
Share on other sites

Bluegoat, that was our issue with the phone and computer. They need them for classes now so we had to lock them all down. My son has a phone, but I removed the browsers. He had no control over amazon, eBay and YouTube so the browser had to go. He can look things up on a laptop, but I don’t want him to get used to sticking his phone in his face to waste time every time he has five minutes of downtime. I’ve explained that his phone is a tool for communication and productivity, but not entertainment until he has a job and can pay for it. He has audiobooks, the kindle app, Apple maps, weather, calculator, texting, phone, etc, but no games or entertainment apps, no google maps (because he found a back door to YouTube on it!), no browsers, and no social media.

 

As someone said upthread, it’s easier to start off with a lot of restrictions and let the line out a little at a time (like how he is self-regulating texting) than it is to furiously reel the line in when things go spinning out of control. Plus it’s nicer to give an extra privilege now and then and make him happy rather than to take things away he feels he’s entitled to after he has abused my trust.

  • Like 3
Link to post
Share on other sites

I suspect once there is an established problem, resetting requires a much more significant withdrawal. I think significant limits can help before that though.

 

Two related things to me though:

 

I think age is a real factor. Developing brains don't have the resilience or ability to bounce back or revert to a normal pattern in the same way an adult brain does. My suspicion is that like many addictions, incidence will go down a fair bit if use is put off somewhat.

 

And given that computers are used in schools and work, that creates a bit of a difficulty. Not only can many not escape them, that time counts as use. So the more use in that environment, I think the less use you are going to want for things like entertainment.

 

In that it's a bit like problems with binge eating - you can't stop eating altogether, but you really don't want to put yourself into environments that could make things worse.

I agree with this completely.

 

Regulated from the beginning is better than an addiction being established first before moving to stricter limits.

  • Like 3
Link to post
Share on other sites

When I was rebuilding my house, I had to have my phone on me all of the time. I had to use my time making lists, planning, shopping, fielding phone calls, responding to texts asking for impromptu meetings and that sort of thing. Now that’s it’s over I can stick my phone in the drawer during the day and it’s a relief not to have to fight to stay off of Reddit or news sites or WTM or games. When I was on my phone all the time I found myself wasting the little free time I had. And when I didn’t I was actively resisting temptation. It stunk.

Link to post
Share on other sites

From the Guardian article, I really liked the "digital resilience -  learn to use technology in a measured, controlled way." It seems like this is what we're all trying to navigate - what are the concrete strategies I can use to support my child's digital resilience? 

 

I've really liked Mimi Ito's work - she has a quick (2 min) interview here where she talks about some of the issues raised in this thread (socialization, different generations)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=58X7YPebJVo&t=2s

 

The analogy earlier of not providing a bike helmet doesn't fit for me.  The bike would be a means of participation in one's community - which is what social media provides.  Taking away all new media is like taking away the bike.  The helmet would be developing the resilience. 

 

Ito et al.'s Hanging Out, Messing Around, Geeking Out explored how youth used new media - it's older now (2010), but I really liked how they framed participation.  A sort of entry level participation is Hanging Out, which is friendship driven. This is an extension of the youth's existing social sphere and a reaction to the loss of geographical spaces to "hang out" (the mall, roller skating...). 

Messing Around is exploration driven - random or focused exploration of an area of interest. Typically the youth still has a geographically-local mentor.  

Geeking Out is interest-driven and where there is no longer a geographically-local mentor. This involves self-directed, deeper learning. The youth's expertise has outpaced his/her community, so he looks to mentors or peers in the larger online context.

 

I've seen these different uses in my own practice and habits, and I've found it valuable to be able to recognize how I'm using my time online and to make adjustments.  The consideration of purpose has been valuable for me in these decisions (for myself and my kids). 

 
 
  • Like 2
Link to post
Share on other sites

About this issue of taking away kids ability to be in community.

 

 I think we need to think about what that really means in a few ways.

 

One is using devices as a means of actual direct communication, vs things like playing games, watching Youtube videos, because those are the things the other kids are doing.  Its of parents get sucked into letting their kids do these things so they will have something in common with the others.  But you know, I think kids who don't do those things but do have other interests are still interesting to other kids.

 

The second thing though is this assumption that we have to have a world dominated by tech, or kids do, because we can't do anything about it.  THat's kind of untrue - we don't really let kids smoke, or go to casinos, or drive, or work in factories - all kinds of things we decided as a society were inappropriate.  Obviously there isn't 100% compliance on all these things but the law and social norms support them.

 

It is possible to talk about what the law and social norms should support on this issue.  For example, what should be allowed in schools and the classroom is a place to start.  This attitude that we are completely powerless in the fact of the tech companies is completely false.  It's just not true that because they make the product we have to make them essential in the lives of young people.  It often seems to me that telling ourselves that is an excuse.  What is true is that as individuals it is difficult to get away from it - it's something that requires some level of collective action.

  • Like 3
Link to post
Share on other sites

About this issue of taking away kids ability to be in community.

 

 I think we need to think about what that really means in a few ways.

 

One is using devices as a means of actual direct communication, vs things like playing games, watching Youtube videos, because those are the things the other kids are doing.  Its of parents get sucked into letting their kids do these things so they will have something in common with the others.  But you know, I think kids who don't do those things but do have other interests are still interesting to other kids.

 

The second thing though is this assumption that we have to have a world dominated by tech, or kids do, because we can't do anything about it.  THat's kind of untrue - we don't really let kids smoke, or go to casinos, or drive, or work in factories - all kinds of things we decided as a society were inappropriate.  Obviously there isn't 100% compliance on all these things but the law and social norms support them.

 

It is possible to talk about what the law and social norms should support on this issue.  For example, what should be allowed in schools and the classroom is a place to start.  This attitude that we are completely powerless in the fact of the tech companies is completely false.  It's just not true that because they make the product we have to make them essential in the lives of young people.  It often seems to me that telling ourselves that is an excuse.  What is true is that as individuals it is difficult to get away from it - it's something that requires some level of collective action.

 

Then again it seems like an exaggeration to me to say kids are only glued to social media all day and never do anything else.  I don't know any kid like that.  My kids possibly spend more time than average because they have more free time than average, but they still do plenty of other things and have other interests. 

  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites

If someone gives my sons something I don’t want them to have or they can’t handle, that something goes away. It’s really that simple.

 

I’ve got 1 son in public school and 1 at home. I also have 2 nieces who live with me in public school and a niece and a nephew I take care of quite a bit in public school. I’m not clueless about the influences of kids at public school.

 

I still think that if my kids have something, it’s on me to know how to use it and set the right limits. The right limit could be “thanks for the phone Grandma but we aren’t letting 7 year old Susie have a personal mobile device yet. Would you like this back since we aren’t using it?â€

Yes, that's where articles like the one I posted are helpful. Parents don't realize there is anything to be concerned about.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Then again it seems like an exaggeration to me to say kids are only glued to social media all day and never do anything else.  I don't know any kid like that.  My kids possibly spend more time than average because they have more free time than average, but they still do plenty of other things and have other interests. 

 

I agree.  Even before ds went cold turkey off of computer games he still spent time doing school, reading, playing guitar, playing nerf battles with his friends, going to church, talking to people, watching retro 70's tv shows, doing chores. . . .    Nether of my kids have any restrictions on devices at their ages but they are working, volunteering, schooling, talking to friends (sometimes on devices, sometimes not), running races, hiking, doing chores (they do share the work of living here), taking care of animals, going to club meetings, building things, the list goes on.  Someone up thread somewhere said something about helping kids find other things to do if they are on devices too much.  I agree with that so much.  (And believe me, you're going to have so much more cooperation if you approach it that way, in my experience.)

  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites

This article discusses the insidious effect technology has on our brains in the terms of flow psychology. I don’t have time to discuss it since I’m meeting my teens in the backyard in thirty minutes to clean it up, but the ideas laid out here ring true for me. I’m embarrassed to admit I called into work sick more than once in my 20s because I’d played Sid Meyer’s Revolution all night and now I was going to be late. I broke myself of that but then spent a good part of 1999 on veg source hunting down the best deals on used currciculum while letting my kids pretty much take care of themselves. It wasn’t an addiction per se—I was dreaming, solving problems, and in a heightened state of mental stimulation I couldn’t get from my real life. If I’m honest, that’s why I find myself drawn here again and again against my will at times. It’s noy a bad thing until you realize it’s consuming ever larger chunks of your life.

 

One of my kid spent ten days in a psychiatric hospital after attempting suicide for the fourth time. She began self harming in her tween years due to the influence of the internet. Technically i didn’t let me kids have “social media†but fan fiction sites and deviant art opened a whole ugly world to her. I thought she was just expressing her creativity.

 

There is more but I just deleted a bunch because I can’t use her personal story to bolster my arguement. It’s not an arguement, it’s a plea. Take this stuff seriously. You may not have a problem; this or that kid may self-regulate. Some of my kids have no issues self regulating. But for others it’s a dark, constant struggle. Don’t discount the desperation as paranoia until you’ve seen the very real and ugly consequences. This daughter has asked me to please cut off her siblings from as much of it as I can, particularly in the tween and early teen years when their grasp on reality is still forming.

 

Anyway, here is the article:

 

https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2018/mar/15/meet-the-tech-evangelist-who-now-fears-for-our-mental-health?utm_source=esp&utm_medium=Email&utm_campaign=GU+Today+USA+-+Collections+2017&utm_term=267584&subid=21688839&CMP=GT_US_collection

Great article! Thanks so much for sharing. I will be rereading that one, for sure.

  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.


×
×
  • Create New...