Posts Tagged ‘Siri’

The Debate Over Handheld Devices for Babies & Children

Wednesday, March 12th, 2014

BabyOnIPadThere has been a hurricane of cyber-buzz this past week over a HuffPo piece entitled, “10 Reasons Why Handheld Devices Should Be Banned for Children Under the Age of 12.” It went viral, natch.

What I want to say about that piece is
a) it is a comprehensive collection of research that should be of critical interest to parents
b) I am not the type to seek bans on such things; rather, I advocate that we as humans develop mastery and dominion over these creations of ours. Let our Frankenstein’s monsters work for us rather than against us.

As my daughter Eve once said, “We’ve all been baptized in technology.” Boy, did that spin me around and send me thinking. I wrote the following Parenting for Peace passage in reference to birth technology, but it totally applies to these questions about handheld devices:

Yes, most of us have been baptized in technology, so let us embrace the blessings of our modern brilliance, which was originally meant to bring freedom. Nothing has the power to control us once we can name the players and the game, once we can free ourselves from the prevailing fear-based group think and become capable of making choices that are in the best peacemaking interests of ourselves, our children, and the vibrant future of humanity. 

{Read more about this debate at mothering.com} 

Image:
sonyanews, through its Creative Commons license

Does Siri Thwart Social Intelligence?

Thursday, March 6th, 2014

During my infrequent strolls through Costco, a persistent thought comes to me (besides yum, those pizza samples are good) — If I were an evil genius wanting to erode the nutritional wellbeing of a civilization, this would be a good first step: Induce mass consumer hypnosis via the big-box store. (Will return to this point in a bit.)

During my infrequent strolls down streets with actual pedestrians, a persistent question comes to me: How will it effect this generation’s social intelligence, that the world of relating has so radically morphed from person-to-person to person-to-screen?

In the half-decade between my son’s junior and my daughter’s freshman years in high school, I witnessed his late-night telephone confabs (on a landline, gasp, when conference calls were a cool innovation) give way to her disembodied “connectivity” with Facebook friends. This glaring (de?)evolution announced itself through our walls: where there was once the sound of my son’s human voice — expressing the dynamic range of emotions endemic to the adolescent — now there was… silence. Save for an occasional giggle or groan from my daughter as she digested the latest posts. {Read more of this at mothering.com}

NOTE: Mothering posts don’t allow video embeds, so here’s the 90-second video of a little boy trying to interact with Siri:

Give the Gift of Wonder and Brainpower

Tuesday, December 11th, 2012

Have you seen the commercial where the mom is reading Curious George (off a screen, natch) to her curious young daughter? Then the curious little girl interrupts to ask the screen (Google’s version of Siri) “How many miles from the earth to the moon?” — and of course the screen delivers the dry mileage fact in a voice similarly soulless to Siri’s. Again I feel the need to shout from the rooftops that we thwart rather than foster our young child’s intelligence when we overlook the connection between wonder and brainpower. (more…)

Does iPhone’s Siri Thwart Social Intelligence?

Monday, February 13th, 2012

A thought occurred to me years ago on one of my maiden strolls through Costco (besides yum, those mini pizzas are good): If I were an evil genius wanting to erode the nutritional wellbeing of a civilization (not to mention the individuality of its citizens), this would be a good first step. Induce mass consumer hypnosis via the big-box store. (Will return to this point in a bit.)

In the half-decade between my son’s junior and my daughter’s freshman years in high school, I witnessed his late-night telephone confabs (on a landline, gasp, when conference calls were a cool innovation) give way to her disembodied “connectivity” with Facebook friends. (more…)