When my 10-year old daughter got an iPad for her birthday, we were excited to check out her favorite cat videos on YouTube together. We turned on the iPad, opened Safari browser, and I typed the letter Y in the address box. Autosuggestion filled out the rest. The site that it offered to my innocent child was Youporn — not YouTube.
Open Internet is like that. Exposure to darkness can happen when we least expect it.
Cat videos had to wait. I spent hours setting up content filters before we tried again.
Online reputation, once ruined, can lead to catastrophic consequences. The frontiers of algorithmic discrimination are expanding: they range from being denied access to education and employment to being shamed forever by all of humanity.
It’s easy to make mistakes in the digital world. Especially if you are young and “did not mean it”.
Teenagers do not give a second thought to the fact that everything they post online is permanent and not private. The sheer amount of content they overshare with adolescent impulsivity makes mistakes inevitable — simply by the law of large numbers. Somebody would be offended by what…
“Being enough is an inside job” (Anne Lamott)
Social comparison is the name of the game on social media. The race is on to accomplish perfection in the world where everyone seems superior. No matter how many hours a day young users spend to build a perfect profile, it’s an impossible goal — there is always someone prettier, smarter, better than you.
“Comparison is a thief of joy”, said Theodore Roosevelt in the beginning of the 20th century.
“Pride is the root of all sin”, said the Bible 2000 years ago.
Both the ego inflated by “I am better than…
At the first sign of a feeling they reach for the phone. Boredom is the most frequent emotion, but there are others: anger, sadness, fear. When uncomfortable feelings arise, they take an easy way out:
The emotion itself is not addressed. By taking the path of least resistance, young people who never learned to deal with their feelings fall apart at the first sign of adversity. …
If you value your freedom, consider keeping your home “dumb”. Smart devices are all the rage, but the privacy policies of Internet of Things (IoT) reveal them for what they really are — the Trojan horse of surveillance.
Designed to destroy the sanctuary of our home and our body.
Gadgets are fun, miraculous, they save time and money, they make us look cool, they even facilitate good habits! What’s not to like?
The ancient Greek myth about the Trojan war is a cautionary tale. In the story, the Greeks besieging the independent city of Troy designed a cunning plan to…
Smartphones at schools wreck our children’s education and destroy their capacity to learn. Teachers stand no chance against YouTube and Instagram.
The phone with all its distractions is accepted as a necessary evil, and is integrated as an education “tool”. Teachers even assign homework that requires students to make photos and videos on their phones, assuming everybody has one.
Parents of high schoolers in our district also talk of rampant cheating. Kids use their phones to copy each other’s homework, look up and share answers for tests, and upload entire assignments to websites that do the work for them. …
When they are supposed to do their homework, the siren call of digital distractions is just too strong to resist. My son’s favorite is memes. I would estimate that any given hour of his homework is 10 minutes work, and 50 minutes time wasted on mindless entertainment.
All the time while pretending to do “homework”. Getting their fake “education”.
The more frightened we are by the messages on our screens, the more likely we are to pay attention. Our animal brain is scanning the environment for danger — and digital media delivers.
Fear is a powerful manipulation tool. When fear is activated, our biological instinct of survival takes over, and our rational brain turns off.
Viruses, terrorism, natural disasters, breakdown of democracy, real or perceived assaults on our rights are broadcasted online to activate our evolutionary survival mechanism. If you are afraid, you dare not disengage. Shock value of fear-inducing content grabs and holds our attention and converts it…
When parents attempt to take devices away from kids, what might follow is an extreme emotional meltdown — the dreaded “tech tantrum”. Children are screaming, raging, smashing things (including expensive devices they are addicted to), threatening parents with property damage and bodily harm, and even assaulting them physically. All hell breaks loose when it’s time to transition to some normal human activity: sleep, family dinner, or homework.
What happens when an addict loses access to his drug? They get violent. When the object of addiction is taken away, drug addicts hurl verbal and physical abuse toward loved ones who are…
Sleep is essential to children’s health and development. Electronic devices — especially smartphones in their bedrooms — rob kids of their sleep.
And the outcome is not good.
A friend shared a story about her son who was constantly tired, and could not keep up with his schoolwork. The parents were seriously concerned and planned to take him in for a medical evaluation, when they discovered the truth: the boy was secretly setting his alarm for the middle of the night to sneak downstairs and play video games while the family were sleeping. …