December 20th, 2016 by Kevin
My sons, aged 9 and 6, get 30 minutes of video (that I’ve approved) per day and then 1.5 hours of gaming on Saturdays and Sundays, assuming all homeschool lessons are completed.
As little screen time as this is, I’ve found that they have become obsessed with the stuff they encounter in the small windows of time they’re allowed screen access. We’re hearing about diamond swords and Endermen outside of screen time, for example.
Becky was against giving them any screen time at all, but I was worried that they would eventually grow up, encounter screens and become consumed with the whole mess. I met a guy who wasn’t allowed to watch any TV as a child who became really addicted to it as an adult. Also, they know about video games in the first place because they’ve seen my Crysis, Bioshock, Starcraft, etc. boxes on my bookshelf! If you’re a gamer and you don’t want your kids to be gamers: Definitely throw out the boxes and don’t let them know that you do it!
Misha Pemble-Belkin, from Restrepo, is probably the main reason I chose to dose my boys with small amounts of screen time. Raised by “hippy” pacifists, Belkin wasn’t allowed to play with toy guns or watch violent movies as a kid. He grew up, joined the U.S. Army and was happy to be killing people with a MK-19 automatic grenade launcher in Afghanistan. For parents who implement a lot of bans, I think there’s a lesson to be learned from Belkin.
I decided to try giving my boys modest amounts of screen time (as indicated above), but I wonder if it was the right thing to do. My wife still thinks that zero screen time is the way to go. It might be that there’s no good answer and that some options are just less bad than others. I do get a feeling, however, that outright banning would backfire badly.
Via: New York Post:
There’s a reason that the most tech-cautious parents are tech designers and engineers. Steve Jobs was a notoriously low-tech parent. Silicon Valley tech executives and engineers enroll their kids in no-tech Waldorf Schools. Google founders Sergey Brin and Larry Page went to no-tech Montessori Schools, as did Amazon creator Jeff Bezos and Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales.
Many parents intuitively understand that ubiquitous glowing screens are having a negative effect on kids. We see the aggressive temper tantrums when the devices are taken away and the wandering attention spans when children are not perpetually stimulated by their hyper-arousing devices. Worse, we see children who become bored, apathetic, uninteresting and uninterested when not plugged in.
But it’s even worse than we think.
Copyright 2008 by Douglas K. Silsbee.
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Presence-Based Coaching offers coaches a hands-on resource for developing the capacities and skills needed to be reliably present in all situations, and shows how to let go of habitual –and often ineffective–ways of responding. As author and leadership expert Doug Silsbee explains, once a coach has mastered the inner moves of directing their own attention, they can work to develop the same capability in their clients. The ability of a coach to facilitate lasting, sustainable development in leaders rests on the presence a coach offers to the coach-client relationship.
Cultivating Self-Generative Leaders Through Mind, Body and Heart
Chapter 2 pdf: PBC-Ch-2
The full book is available here:
Silsbee’s web site:
The Mindful Coach: Seven Roles for Helping People Grow
I am presently reading Michael Crichton’s novel Timeline; my wife suggested it because we’d previously watched an indie movie about time travel. I’ll have lots more riffs off of this novel in the future, but one thing that stayed snagged in my mind was the scene of the preparation for the momentous flight from a modern-day high-tech company in the New Mexico desert back to a spot on the Dordogne River in medieval France.
The support staff, operating like a squad prepping astronauts, squirted an organic polymer into the ears of the time traveler so that, after the biodegradable stuff hardened, some other technican could drill it out to implant some electronics.
In Crichton’s tale, at the landing site in 1357, they speak only some strange variants of Old English, Occcitan and Middle French. But the ear piece, aside from having a built-in microphone, translated those old lost languages for the people that fell back 750 years ….
Today, of course, we have all manner of technical goodies that you can put into your ear, clip onto your ear, slip onto your wrist, or slide into your back pocket. You can dial up someone at any location on the earth from right where you sit (or stand, or walk, or sit). Smart phones are getting mighty sophisticated; I’m sure they can translate for you at some level, though not as well as in Crichton’s fertile imagination. The age of the super-empowered individual is upon us. I don’t know what Thiel, Cook et al have in store (pardon the pun) for the near future, but I’m sure it’s exciting.
Our inventions are wont to be pretty toys, which distract our attention from serious things. They are but improved means to an unimproved end,… We are in great haste to construct a magnetic telegraph from Maine to Texas; but Maine and Texas, it may be, have nothing important to communicate.
So it is with a concern about and a focus on our ability to communicate clearly with one another that I thought the mythical or prototypical electronics in Crichton’s fictional polymer earpiece might be tweaked or upgraded to translate for us when we found ourselves suddenly dropped into conversations at work, at home, when we’re out socially, when our conversational exchanges seemed to be between two people from different centuries, planets, cultures or simply experiences and mindsets.
You know the times.
They occur when people are being passive-aggressive, when they are being sarcastic but forgot to give you the emoji hand-signal, when they became obtuse and started to run on endlessly, when they took a left turn and simply lost you, when they used some local dialogue like “Valley Girl”, or when — quite simply, and without having to be harsh or demeaning of anyone else — the two of you can’t seem to be in the same chapter, let alone on the same page.
Perhaps the other party has difficulty concentrating, is overworked, their mind is elsewhere, or there’s too much technology in the way (PDA’s, texting, TV, interruptions, distractions). Perhaps they (or you) are anxious, and there’s some underlying medical or psychological reason you have to learn to deal with or accept, or at least navigate gently through or around. Word-finding difficulties are common, as are momentary lapses in memory. Sometimes this can be awkward. Perhaps the subject is too damn difficult for one of you to address. Maybe there’s a combative atmosphere, or not enough respect present. Maybe one of you is thwarting dialogue by lying, threatening, stonewalling, crying, shouting, going silent, or becoming accusatory, or lapsing into silence, or taking offense.
You’ve had these moments, I’m sure.
But relax… I’m sure if the high-tech world has already begin to work on robotic sex devices that look like celebrities, all those people at Trump’s recent summit will soon have software for your earpiece that, in addition to translation, will function as conversational coaches.
They’re removeable and biodegradable, so if you have someone you simply don’t want to communicate with at all, you can just take them out and throw them away.
Celebrity sex robots could thrust human intercourse aside, experts predict
“… “It could be that we are so busy with our lives, we are so embedded in our technological narrative that the idea of engaging in long-distance sex and robot sex is actually a natural process in our evolutionary cycle,” Dr. Trudy Barber from Portsmouth University said at the International Congress of Love and Sex with Robotics on Monday.
The scientist, who is a leading figure in the study of technology’s impact on our sexuality, believes that machines will help us cherish “the real thing” and make our “real-time relationships more valuable and exciting.”
Robots will become an “extra human race” and help humans explore “our sexual pallet,” she added…..”
[Ed.: You may want to do it on a pallet with a robot, but be careful of the splinters. As for palate, you can buy reverse-engineered human pheromones or fruity lubricants in the back of “respectable” magazines. Or maybe you should just invite your potential mate to a smorgasbord.
About Kim Kardashian, Ryan Gosling and Scarlett Johansson…, no thanks.]