Posts Tagged ‘social intelligence’

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.

Wired Wednesdays | Marcy Axness, PhD | Parenting for PeaceWe are designed — right down to our neurobiology! — to be in close contact with other humans, and to our natural world… and yet our most coveted technological wonders… these tiny devices barely larger than a deck of cards… are undermining our natural instincts and even our ability to be with others or in nature.

The quiet pleasures of the natural world and the slow pace of unmediated, tech-free human conversation have been eclipsed for many by the whiz-bang instantly-gratifying stimulation — and the accompanying dopamine — provided by the accelerated, exaggerated intensity of online engagement. Before long, nothing else will do. But the cruel irony, as mounting mental health statistics illustrate, is that these preferred “new and improved” interactional pastimes leave our instinctual need for interaction unmet. And we suffer.

Be Your Own Boss, Cultivate Mastery

I think it has become clear over these past months’ of posts that our digital devices have the power to influence the circuitry of our brains… if we allow it to happen. Remember that funny toddler saying, “You’re not the boss of me!”? If not for yourself, then for the sake of your children’s deep, lifelong wellbeing, I encourage you to embody the spirit of that declaration when it comes to your own digital devotion.

At the end of her sobering Atlantic Monthly article about how smartphones are (mostly negatively) affecting today’s young generation (spotlighted in my last WW post), psychologist Jean Twenge ends with a simple prescription: “Some mild boundary-setting could keep kids from falling into harmful habits.”

Let’s begin that with ourselves as parents, as teachers, as adults to whom children look. The same neurobiological design that wants us to be in connection with other humans made it so that the most potent means of learning is through watching the example of elders. My dear colleague Laura reminds us of how this might inform (reform??) our digital devotion and inspire mastery over our choices: Modeling digital mastery for children

The Power of Example: Mirroring Mastery

One big challenge is that everywhere we look, digital dependence is modeled, encouraged and abetted. Images like this one, normalizing a family completely entranced by screens — a screen for each person — surround us!

I tackle this whole ball of wax in my “5 Tools” program, and here’s an excerpt (from Tool #5, The Mirror). I struck me as relevant to include here. This 2 1/2-minute clip highlights the how technology, attachment and social intelligence are inextricably connected. A simple yet effective way to begin some “mild boundary-setting” is with these 2 great guidelines for digital mastery.

Start there. Start anywhere.

Extras:
Does Siri Thwart Social Intelligence?
Hands Free Mama

If you’re interested in my “5 Parenting for Peace Tools for Transforming” program, you can get all the info here. Because I’m currently in the process of moving the course over to my new teaching home at New Earth University, it is temporarily being offered at a crazy-low, “bargain basement” price!

 
 
 
 
 
Mom & daughter photo by London Scout on Unsplash
Family image from Earthlink webmail

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

Wednesday, May 17th, 2017

Is our technological wizardry with its infinite stream of instant answers eroding what makes us most human? Is digital dependence undermining our social intelligence?

During my 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 intelligence 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 our culture’s mass digital dependence affect this generation’s social intelligence?  (more…)

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:

Turbo-Charge Baby’s Brain Development w/ the Mommy Mind Meld

Tuesday, May 1st, 2012

The Power of Parental Example

[Even though I refer to the “mommy” mind meld, these principles apply to whomever are the two or three connected, nurturing adults in an infant’s life — father, grandmother, consistent (not rotating) caregiver.]

Imitation is the young child’s primary form of learning, which is why one of my first bits of guidance to parents coming to me for counseling is (more…)

*** Add Your Voice to the Mommy Mind-Meld Blog Tour! ***

Saturday, April 21st, 2012

I’m being hosted on five fabulous parenting sites for a discussion of “The Mommy Mind Meld: Turbo-Charge Your Baby’s Brain Development.” This new, very short YouTube video makes for a good prologue to the tour, which begins in just a few hours (whee!!):

(more…)

The Roots of Conscience: Attachment, Pleasure, Then Empathy

Wednesday, March 28th, 2012

[Excerpted from Parenting for Peace: Raising the Next Generation of Peacemakers, by Marcy Axness, PhD]

Connection and Conscience: The Foundations of Peace

Whenever a heinous, violent act is committed, there is talk of a lack of conscience in the perpetrator. The question of what builds a conscience has long engrossed philosophers, psychologists, and even Disney imagineers (who decided Pinocchio’s conscience looks a little like a cockroach, carries a watch fob and goes by the name of Jiminy Cricket). James Prescott’s massive, cross-cultural study of the root causes of violence, together with the body of bonding and attachment research, point clearly to the fact that (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…)

What Is “Peace”?

Thursday, November 24th, 2011

Occasionally when I’m telling people about my new book, they hesitate over the notion of raising a “peacemaker.” (Don’t worry—this happens only very occasionally!) They flinch at the idea that I might be campaigning to raise a generation of wimps… peaceniks… idly sunny beings whose inertia might only allow for a round or two of “Kumbaya”—in perfect harmony, of course. No. What I mean by a peacemaker is a socially healthy human being: an intelligent person whose brain is wired with the capacity for inner balance, empathy, and enlightened social action. (more…)