<span class='p-name'>Too Long; Didn’t Read #172</span>

Too Long; Didn’t Read #172

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Technopanic & the Screentime Debate
TL;DR #172- 11/03/2018

Next week I’m helping to facilitate some discussions around screentime.

Thursday, November 8th, 2018, I’m sitting in on an interview panel with Anya Kamenetz to discuss her book, The Art of Screentime. This discussion will be livestreamed on the YouTube Channel for the Mendon-Upton Regional School District. The livestream will be from 7:00 to 8:00 PM (ET).

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Immediately following this livestream, I’m co-hosting the #ILAchat with Kristen Turner. Our discussion will focus on the opportunities and challenges of student screen time.

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Hopefully you’ll join us for these discussions. I’ll send out guidance this week on how to use Twitter and get involved in a chat for those of you that need the support.

As a reminder, feel free to jump in and get involved in our discussion about the topic here.

This week I posted the following:

  • How to respond to trolling behaviors – I’ve been doing some deep reading and research around trolling and harmful behaviors online. This post unpacks how to respond to trolling in digital spaces.

Studying monkeys to see what makes humans special (11:03)

This video from the Motherboard YouTube Channel is from the film The Most Unknown.

The Most Unknown, is a film produced by Motherboard in association with Science Sandbox, that appeared in theaters during the summer of 2018 is now available for streaming as a documentary feature on Netflix. A supplemental series featuring extra footage and scientist profiles is also now available on Youtube as part of a multiplatform release strategy.


A Dark Consensus About Screens and Kids Begins to Emerge in Silicon Valley

This week Nellie Bowles from the NY Times posted three pieces that tried to provide some context around the screentime debate.

This first article discusses parents in Silicon Valley and their concerns about screentime with their children. The article is replete with quotes about how the “devil lives in our phones and wreaking havoc on our children” and screens being like “crack cocaine” to our children.

I do not think that there is any consensus drawn in these areas, or that benefits of edtech are overblown. I also think that we do, or perhaps I should say that we should, have concerns about addiction and impact on development.

Silicon Valley Nannies Are Phone Police for Kids

The screentime series from Nellie Bowles continued with this article about nannies for Silicon Valley parents and the contracts they are forced to abide by that ban screens or devices while caring for children.

The contracts basically require that nannies will not use screens around children…but the nannies are supposed to also aways have their cell phone nearby to respond to phone calls from parents…and send updates throughout the day to parents.

As if this were not enough, there are also child care message boards in the San Francisco area where individuals share pictures and video of nannies out using screens while with children. They use this content to “nanny-out” the childcare providers and shame them.

The Digital Gap Between Rich and Poor Kids Is Not What We Expected

The final post from Nellie Bowles in The New York Times discusses screentime, edtech, and our classrooms. The byline for this story is: America’s public schools are still touting devices with screens — even offering digital-only preschools. The rich are banning screens from class altogether.

I believe that we should have questions about parenting, and we should have questions about tech use in our classrooms…and we should also question use of screens with children.

But, I have concern about the technopanic that is created as we continue this narratives that talk about screens and “addiction,” depression, and worse. As you read these articles, keep in mind the privilege and perspective coming from the individuals that are sharing this panic, and creating a “consensus.”

I also believe we need to be cautious in our own use of these devices and screentime. I think that adults, parents, are terrified of their own addiction and are casting these fears onto their children.

Tweet thread by Anya Kamenetz on Screentime

While these stories were rippling through our social media feeds, this Twitter thread from Anya Kamenetz provided the “unpanicky, thoughtful critique” of this debate that I needed.

ECAR Study of Undergraduate Students and Information Technology, 2018

As the NY Times screentime articles were making their way around the Internet, the EDUCAUSE Center for Analysis and Research (ECAR) released their 15th annual report on the use of informational technologies by undergraduate students.

My post shares some of the key takeaways I had from the report. The results indicate that students need access to basic technologies and the Internet for their academic success. The results also indicate a broad array of devices…and screens…that students need to adroitly leverage to ensure their survival, let alone success now and in the future.


Screen Time Saturday

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If you’re concerned about the screentime usage by children…perhaps start by monitoring your own time with screens.

One possible way to calibrate is to focus on making your Saturdays as screenfree as possible. This means no “zombie scrolling” on social media. Pulling out your phone for directions to the local campgrounds is fine…or you may just decide to try and find it. Worst case scenario, you get lost and find something else.

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The screen is a magic medium. It has such power that it can retain interest as it conveys emotions and moods that no other art form can hope to tackle.

Stanley Kubrick


TL;DR is a summary of all the great stuff from the Internet this week in technology, education, & literacy. Please subscribe to make sure this comes to your inbox each week. You can review archives of the newsletter here.

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