Posted in Reading, Social Media

Screen Time: A Postscript

Bruce Eric Kaplan’s “Screen Time” /

Today when I first saw this week’s issue of the New Yorker, I thought again of Twenge’s article.  Cartoonist Bruce Eric Kaplan’s depiction of a toddler fixated on a smartphone, oblivious of the looming flat-screen TV, reminded me of Twenge’s observations of her own young daughters: “They’re not old enough yet to display the traits of iGen teens, but I have already witnessed firsthand just how ingrained new media are in their young lives. I’ve observed my toddler, barely old enough to walk, confidently swiping her way through an iPad.”

While Twenge stresses the importance of instilling moderation, she admits that “[p]rying the phone out of our kids’ hands will be difficult, even more so than the quixotic efforts of my parents’ generation to get their kids to turn off MTV and get some fresh air.”

Quixotic. For Twenge the word simply serves as a synonym for impractical, but I can’t shake the image in my mind of the Man of La Mancha himself, alternately tilting at MTV and smartphones.


3 thoughts on “Screen Time: A Postscript

  1. Let alone prying it out of the hands of the kids’ distracted parents. Work’s 24/7 electronic tether took a toll on family life even before parents started interacting with screens instead of one another and their children. Kids do stuff the minute parents look away, stuff sometimes dangerous or fatal—slipping into the pool, sprinting into the street. More important,interacting with their adults teaches kids how to be human, how to belong to the tribe. An electronically transfixed adult is absent in a profound way, and children soon get the message that those lit-up pictures are more important than they are.

  2. Suppose as long as parents give their phones to toddlers as babysitters, this will keep happening. It’s not the kids. They’re always fascinated with gadgets.Curiosity is a grand trait.

    1. Thanks, Lenore. The challenge I face–both in and out of the classroom–is finding a balance. This semester for the first time I am requiring my students to include in their blog posts an image that documents part of their writing process that took place away from the screen, such as a photo of a page from their journal or a handwritten draft.

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