Posts Tagged ‘handheld devices’

Wired Wednesdays: Protecting Children from Device Addiction

Wednesday, May 23rd, 2018

Digital-Dependence-Parenting-for-Peace

Of the many aspects of our digital dependence I’ve been writing about for over a year now, the most troubling by far is device addiction. The entire online machinery is designed to foster device addiction in us, and–more troubling–in our children, whose developing neural landscapes are more vulnerable to being fundamentally shaped by engineered device addiction.

If you’ve been following Wired Wednesdays, you already know this. But for folks who haven’t been looped in with me on that, I’ve put together a sort of Cliffs Notes blog post that pulls together threads from several installments over the past year.

I wrote it for New Earth Nation, where I’m on faculty in the School of Health & Wellness at their university. Ryan, the cool millennial who maintains the blog, included this message after he published it: “Yet another truth bomb from Dr. Marcy Axness! This one really caused me to look at my own device use and I’m already seeing a difference in my usage and self awareness around this. ūüôā Thank you so much.” Here you go:

Wired Wednesdays | Marcy Axness, PhD | Parenting for Peace

If you’re looking for a quick, to-the-point read to print out and share with friends, family, teachers, etc. on the topic of children and device addiction, here you go!

Protecting Children from Device Addiction

 

Whether you’re curious, captivated or concerned about our digital dependence and device devotion, join me on (most) Wednesdays so we can explore it together. (Sign up here if you want to be sure not to miss anything!) ….. …..

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Mom & daughter photo by London Scout on Unsplash

Wired Wednesdays: Curses, My Phone Won’t Wink

Wednesday, April 4th, 2018

Digital-Dependence-Parenting-for-Peace

My ex-husband*, our two grown kids and I recently switched from AT&T to Verizon for our cell service. [*A marriage may end, but a family cellular plan goes on!] In the process I got a new free LG smartphone.

As I was familiarizing myself with my new phone‚ÄĒblessedly similar to my former Android‚ÄĒI was bummed to discover that it doesn’t have a notification light. You know, that little blinker that alerts you that you have notifications? Even from¬†across the room?

I couldn’t believe it. I went online to read reviews of my smartphone, and sure enough, I saw that this was other folks’ main (and mostly only) complaint about this phone: no notification light.

Well, it only took a day or so for me to realize I was relieved to have suffered this kind of personal tech “regression.” My device would no longer be winking and blinking at me, beckoning me to “Pick me up, light me up. Press my buttons. Let me manipulate your brain chemicals!”

And as timing would have it, I stumbled upon this article that same week.

Wired Wednesdays | Marcy Axness, PhD | Parenting for Peace

Huzzah! Now I had expert corroboration that my missing blinking smartphone light is a GOOD thing:

Endocrinologist Robert Lustig tells Business Insider that notifications from our phones are training our brains to be in a nearly constant state of stress and fear by establishing a stress-fear memory pathway.

As someone who wrestles with lifelong PTSD from childhood trauma, I don’t need any extra stress-fear pathways! Or, anything to make me jumpy or jittery:

Brand new research on dozens of smartphone users in Switzerland also suggests that staring at our screens could be making both our brains and our fingers more jittery.

And I always love reading about research findings that surprise scientists, like this:

In research published this month, psychologists and computer scientists have found an unusual and potentially troubling connection: the more tapping, clicking and social media posting and scrolling people do, the “noisier” their brain signals become. That finding took the researchers by surprise. Usually, when we do something more often, we get better, faster and more efficient at the task.

If you’re curious‚ÄĒand¬†be curious, be very curious‚ÄĒread on.

Business Insider: This is what your smartphone
is doing to your brain…and it isn’t good

Whether you’re curious, captivated or concerned about our digital dependence and device devotion, join me on (most) Wednesdays so we can explore it together. (Sign up here if you want to be sure not to miss anything!) ….. …..

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Master of Your iDomain: Who Controls Your Attention?

Wednesday, January 10th, 2018

Wired Wednesdays | Marcy Axness, PhD | Parenting for Peace At the end of each issue of my favorite weekly news digest¬†The Week is a 2-page section called “The last word.” It features a substantive (polite word for “long”) piece of extraordinary¬†writing.¬†In the final issue of last year they ran this¬†article on digital life and attention by Craig Mod, a must-read for folks mindful enough to¬†wonder about the¬†effects¬†digital dependence¬†has on something as intangible as your attention.

Neuroplasticity (the ability–nay, propensity–of our¬†brains to change in response to experience) has been one of the most exciting scientific revelations of the past generation. It is what allows for some of our most inspiring human capacities, like emotional¬†healing and personal reinvention.

And now, neuroplasticity¬†is leveraged by digital engineers to guide your handheld device behavior by manipulating your neurochemistry. Think I’m being dramatic or leaning on hyperbole? Check out “Brain Hacking: Hijacking You From the Inside” featuring Anderson Cooper’s sobering¬†60 Minutes¬†segment. (And if you tend toward conspiracy thinking, you might want to skip Mod’s section discussing his awareness¬†of cunningly shifting algorithms during his Clash of Clans experience. Omg.)

I offer you this beautifully expressed article (originally from BackChannel/Wired) as a New Year’s gift — a palette-cleanser after a rough past year, and some inspiration (if even just vicarious) toward reclaiming sovereignty over something we’ve always taken for granted, ¬†something unspeakably valuable: our attention.

How I Got My Attention Back

(more…)

iMPATIENCE and iMPULSIVENESS: Deadly Effects of Wired Life?

Wednesday, November 15th, 2017

Wired Wednesdays | Marcy Axness, PhD | Parenting for Peace

This one’s personal, folks. It’s one thing to recognize the discouraging association between smartphones and impatience, and it’s a whole other thing to experience that impatience on a daily basis in a potentially deadly¬†way.

Creeping along a clogged-up patch of the 101 freeway on a recent trip to Los Angeles, I was gob-smacked to see how many drivers around me were flagrantly texting ‚Äď nothing covert or sneaky about it! Phones were right up in front of their faces, and apparently their one free hand — or maybe a knee — was steering.

I witnessed¬†it in the lanes on either side of¬†me, in the car in front of me, in my rear-view… seemingly all around me. It was like that classic scene out of any B horror movie: everywhere the bedeviled heroine looks, a monster looms!

But we were all moving in the same direction, we were all moving slowly, and I could change lanes to navigate away from these folks.

In the remote forest community where I live, none of those mitigating circumstances apply on the 2-lane mountain highway we all must drive to go anywhere. To the left is a particularly infamous little section called The S-Curves. But in reality, the entire road out of our village features continuous blind curves and therefore solid double yellow lines all the way.

The point of my discussion today isn’t the horribly dangerous epidemic of texting while driving, as in my above 101 Fwy example. That’s a conversation for another day. What’s been weighing heavy on my mind the past many months is the suspicion¬†that our culture’s increasingly wired life is making (mostly young) people less patient and more impulsive¬†in general — not just when they’re online. For example, when they’re driving our 2-lane road. (more…)

Digital Dependence: Our Ridiculous Addiction?

Wednesday, October 18th, 2017

Wired Wednesdays | Marcy Axness, PhD | Parenting for Peace

This whole¬†issue of how entranced and attached we are to our smartphones — and to the social media they¬†link us to — is soooo challenging and touchy, isn’t it? I think because at some level we suspect that, even though the technology that has put them in our hands is extraordinarily brilliant, far from being a magnificent obsession, it’s a ridiculous addiction.

We don’t usually think in terms of ridiculous addictions. Addiction is serious. Addiction is complex. And boy is this addiction a tough one to detangle and get much¬†of handle on.

We don’t usually think of addiction and humor going together. But in this case I think that sometimes humor can be a wonderful mirror in which we can begin to let our guard down and let some recognition in. As the saying goes, “More truth is said in jest.” Can humor help us recognize our ridiculous addiction?

Here are two recent amusing mirrors. The first are scenes from a recent episode of¬†Grey’s Anatomy:¬† (more…)

Digital Mastery: Parents, You Have the Power!

Wednesday, August 30th, 2017

Digital-Dependence-Parenting-for-Peace My main concern in this exploration is the effect of digital dependence upon our social intelligence. You see, fostering robust development of the brain circuitry responsible for social intelligence is a key focus of Parenting for Peace. Self-regulation and inner mastery are key themes in this endeavor of raising a generation of peacemakers.

From where we sit in today’s volatile world aswirl in disasters both natural and manmade, these words from¬†the early pages of my¬†book are chillingly¬†relevant:

Many fields of research tend to affirm that we humans are indeed at a crucial moment in our evolution, and our survival is going to depend upon our realizing, deeply, that our true security is rooted in connectedness, in our relationships, in healthy interdependence with our fellow humans and with our natural environment.

(more…)

Digital Dependence: Is the Smartphone Generation Ruined?

Wednesday, August 9th, 2017

Digital-Dependence-Parenting-for-Peace Today¬†I’m spotlighting an essential article about the current smartphone generation in the September issue of The¬†Atlantic: “Have Smartphones Destroyed a Generation?”¬†The author* is Jean Twenge, a psychologist who studies generational¬†characteristics and the influences that have created significant differences between generations.

[*I forgive her the doomsday title, since she most likely didn’t write it; usually it’s the editorial department who crafts a title that will grab readers.]

Dr. Twenge actually played a key part in¬†Parenting for Peace: though not¬†in the actual book, I referenced her important work in my¬†book proposal. A book proposal is a¬†booklet-length document carefully crafted to make a case that¬†convinces a publisher that your¬†book is even worth publishing. Here is a¬†passage from my (never before published) book proposal, back when my working title (little-known P4P¬†trivia) was Raising Generation PAX: (more…)

Digital Dependence: A (Funny) Picture’s Worth 1000 Bloggy Words

Wednesday, July 19th, 2017

Today’s a quickie, as I’ve just returned from a week on the other coast,¬†celebrating my son’s 30th birthday. I’m leaning upon BoredPanda today, and their “20 Satirical Illustrations Show Our Addiction to Technology.”

This one’s called “Modern Tan.”

 

Make no mistake — some of these are hard-hitting and downright chilling. They quite brilliantly push us to think in different ways about our digital dependence and what I may be doing to us.

I’d love to hear if you have a favorite — do please post in Comments. (As for me, I’m a sucker for a cartoon from the New Yorker… and there’s one of those on the first page. I’m also partial to #2, #5 and #7.) See what you think!

 

Whether you’re curious, captivated or concerned about our digital dependence and device devotion, join me on (most) Wednesdays so we can explore it together. (Sign up here if you want to be sure not to miss anything!) ….. …..

Stay in the Wired Wednesdays Loop:

I’ll Notify You About¬†New Posts

Digital Dependence: Is This Legislation a Solution?

Wednesday, June 21st, 2017

Wired-Wednesdays | Marcy Axness, PhD | Parenting for Peace

Concern over the effects of digital dependence is clearly something you share with me if you’re following these posts. One of the most pressing of these concerns is¬†how it impacts the rapidly-developing brain circuitry of children and adolescents, and can impair and rewire¬†their capacities for social intelligence. (See 1st and 4th¬†posts in the list below.)

Recently¬†it was announced that an action group in Colorado is introducing an initiative to ban cell phone sales to children under the age of 13. You can find many articles about it via Google, but for now, here is Salon’s take.

And…. go!

My¬†idea here is to throw open a discussion, even if it’s just inside your own head. Better yet, bring it up at the dinner table or around the pool. How do you react as you read about this activist’s efforts? Are there points that resonate with you? Points on which you disagree or would push back? Do you have alternative ideas for tackling the real concerns raised?

I think it’s an important exercise to get ourselves thinking along these lines. Digital Dependence (and all the effects that go along with it) is mostly uncharted territory. This group’s efforts may or may not be as graceful, nuanced or feasible as can be, but they probably are the first of many attempts to rein in what feels like a runaway situation. (Take a look at one of the comments following the article–an amusing, if chilling, comparison of it to Pandora’s box.)

For your reading convenience, here are current Wired Wednesday posts:

Digital Dependence: Is the Smartphone Generation Ruined?

A (Funny) Picture is Worth 1000 Bloggy Words

Digital Dependence & Parental Anxiety: Keeping Trust Alive

Digital Dependence & Social Intelligence: Is Siri Dumbing Down our Humanity?

Taming Tech to Protect Sleep: A No-Brainer for Healthy Brains

Digital Mastery Tools for Parents: Slow Tech & iRules

Brain Hacking: Hijacking You from the Inside

Attention Deficits & Digital Devotion: 2 Pitfalls for Parents

“Don’t Use Your Device When…”: 2 Great Guidelines for Digital Mastery

Digital Imitation of Life: How Facebook is Like a Box of Donuts

Dataclysm in the Time of Alone Togetherness: Authors on Our Digital Dependence

Pained in Plain Sight: Digital Dependence Effects on the Body

Introduction

Whether you’re curious, captivated or concerned about our digital dependence and device devotion, join me on (most) Wednesdays so we can explore it together. (Sign up here if you want to be sure not to miss anything!) ….. …..

Stay in the Wired Wednesdays Loop:

I’ll Notify You About¬†New Posts

Digital Dependence & Parental Anxiety: Keeping Trust Alive

Wednesday, June 7th, 2017

Digital Dependence, Parental Anxiety and Trust | Marcy Axness, PhD
Parenting is a daunting safari into the unknown. It is a safari that will routinely¬†lead¬†you beyond¬†the reach of the¬†techno-savvy that has us convinced we can figure out and control everything in our lives. So for many, it’s a safari into parental anxiety.

What can you do about parental anxiety? Develop your own personal anxiety antidote: TRUST. A powerful antidote for parental anxiety, trust connects you¬†to an unparalleled source of strength, paradoxically called ‚Äúsurrender‚ÄĚ–perhaps the most important resources in your parenting toolbox! Along with a good supply of onesies, I counsel expectant parents to invest in and actively build their “trust fund.”

I define trust as ‚Äúcalm reliance upon processes outside of your immediate perception and control‚ÄĚ; it is one of the seven principles that weave through my book¬†Parenting for Peace. For those of us weaned on the information revolution, trust is probably the most subversive P4P principle of them all. When it isn’t overwhelming us, our instant access to infinite amounts of data on any topic has us convinced that by virtue of our techno-savvy, we can indeed figure out and be in charge of every aspect of our lives.

But Life will always manage to outrun your techno-management, trust me.

Prevent Parental Anxiety: Build¬†Your “Trust Fund”

Begin now, I tell new parents, to cultivate a fond taste for mystery and the unfathomable. (more…)