Brett.Ullman

Tag - technology

Have Smartphones Destroyed a Generation?

In my Loneliness research, the conversation on how Social Media might be affecting a new generation keeps coming up. Here is a great yet scary article. Just because we like social media does not mean it is good for us. Love to hear peoples thoughts on this.

I’ve been researching generational differences for 25 years, starting when I was a 22-year-old doctoral student in psychology. Typically, the characteristics that come to define a generation appear gradually, and along a continuum. Beliefs and behaviors that were already rising simply continue to do so. Millennials, for instance, are a highly individualistic generation, but individualism had been increasing since the Baby Boomers turned on, tuned in, and dropped out. I had grown accustomed to line graphs of trends that looked like modest hills and valleys. Then I began studying Athena’s generation.

Around 2012, I noticed abrupt shifts in teen behaviors and emotional states. The gentle slopes of the line graphs became steep mountains and sheer cliffs, and many of the distinctive characteristics of the Millennial generation began to disappear. In all my analyses of generational data—some reaching back to the 1930s—I had never seen anything like it.

The experiences they have every day are radically different from those of the generation that came of age just a few years before them.

Psychologically, however, they are more vulnerable than Millennials were: Rates of teen depression and suicide have skyrocketed since 2011. It’s not an exaggeration to describe iGen as being on the brink of the worst mental-health crisis in decades. Much of this deterioration can be traced to their phones.

But the allure of independence, so powerful to previous generations, holds less sway over today’s teens, who are less likely to leave the house without their parents. The shift is stunning: 12th-graders in 2015 were going out less often than eighth-graders did as recently as 2009.

One line in the article stopped me.

So what are they doing with all that time? They are on their phone, in their room, alone and often distressed.

I feel like I could have just pasted the entire article. Just a taste above.
Please click here for the entire article.

Quit social media | Dr. Cal Newport | TEDxTysons

Great Ted talk. Well worth the time to watch. I am NOT saying we all need to quit social media. I do think we need to engage in social media carefully and not just with indifference.

… constant exports from your friends constant curated, positive portrayals  of their life. can leave you to feel inadequate and can increase rates of depression.

Fundamental mismatch between the way are brains are wired and this behaviour of exposing yourself to stimuli with intermittent rewards throughout all of your waking hours. Its one thing to spend a couple of hours at a slot machine in Las Vegas, but if you bring one with you, and you pull the handle all day long, from when you wake up to when you go to bed; we’re not wired from it. It short circuits the brain and we’re staring to find it has actual cognitive consequences, one of them being this sort of pervasive background hum of anxiety.

Love to hear your thoughts.

 

50 Questions To Ask Your Kids Instead Of Asking “How Was Your Day”

Dinner is a great time for people to engage in conversations. Here are some great questions.

So I asked our writers to share some of their favorite conversation starters with their kids. These are especially great after a long school day when your babies don’t want to chat.

  1. What made you smile today?
  2. Can you tell me an example of kindness you saw/showed?
  3. Was there an example of unkindness? How did you respond?
  4. Does everyone have a friend at recess?
  5. What was the book about that your teacher read?
  6. What’s the word of the week?
  7. Did anyone do anything silly to make you laugh?
  8. Did anyone cry?
  9. What did you do that was creative?
  10. What is the most popular game at recess?

40 more questions on her website.  Click here for the entire article.

A photographer edits out our smartphones to show our strange and lonely new world

Do you see yourself in these photos? If so changes need to be made.

Are you reading this on a handheld device? There’s a good chance you are. Now imagine how’d you look if that device suddenly disappeared. Lonely? Slightly crazy? Perhaps next to a person being ignored? As we are sucked in ever more by the screens we carry around, even in the company of friends and family, the hunched pose of the phone-absorbed seems increasingly normal.

Click here for the entire article.

Into the mind of a 14 year old … (my daughter Zoe)

The other night I was helping my daughter Zoe with something on her iPhone. I have to be honest when she passed me her phone and I looked at her home screen I was floored. It is a little hard to describe so below is a screen shot of her phone (all of this with her permission btw)

zoeiphone

First thoughts:

  1. Every folder is categorized not by function but by colour
  2. In the dock there is no Phone
  3. In the dock there is no Email
  4. In the dock there is no Messages
  5. She would rather have 3 rows of available icon space blank then use it for something that does not fit her organizational strategy

What matters to Zoe most is YouTube, Instagram, Snapchat and Musical.ly. I asked her where her phone app is. “Green” she replied. “Camera?” I asked and without missing a beat she said “Grey”. “Email” … she paused for a sec and then say “Blue”.

I was interested to see if this was common amongst other teenagers (especially teen girls) so I posted on Facebook for people to share their home screens. Now all but 1 who replied were not teenagers. Most people who replied left the icons exactly where Apple put them originally. There were a few people who added small changes to their dock (Adding in a folder for all social media, adding in Spotify or other apps they use often). The majority still still had phone, email and messages in the dock. If you have a tween or a teen and they would be willing to post the front home screen I would love to see it in the comments on this blog or on Facebook.

Some thoughts for us as parents, educators and leaders:

  1. This is a different and unique generation of students. We cannot just assume they will do things like us. Someone commented on my Facebook post that the way she had set up her phone was wrong. This message was deleted by the poster within the hour. Different is not wrong. A student doing things different than how you might do something just makes them someone who is thinking and choosing to do things their own way. I am actually quite proud of how she set up her phone. While at a Leadership Retreat at Muskoka Woods a number of years ago I read a quote on a TV that said:

    “A Leader is someone who looks at the World and says it does not have to be this way … and then does something about it.”

    My daughter decided that her phone did not have to be this way and then did something about it. I hope that this small trait I see in her phone use translates into how she lives her life.  I hope she is willing to risk being different to do her life how she wants to live it and not just follow everything that her culture teaches her to follow. 

  2. I think we as parents and educators need to look at how we are teaching this generation. If this younger generation thinks different than us we must find new ways to engage them that might be different than how we were engaged. This is why in my talk on media I say to parents/educators it is so important to understand this generation and the culture they live in so that we can engage them in a way that they need to be engaged.
  3.  In our church world I think we need to be asking are we engaging these next generations how we wanted to be engaged or how they need to be be engaged? Doing things because “That is the way we always do them” is not a really good solution to properly engaging anyone. If those things we are doing are actually engaging students than keep it up but if they are not we need to look at how WE can change.

Anyway, Love to hear anyone else’s thoughts on this.
Talk to you soon
Brett