Children and Technology

My wife told me the story of a friend who took her family on vacation to Japan. As is quite common with many affluent Filipino families today, their two-year old had her own iPad, the modern-day equivalent of a pacifier. The mother recounted how the Japanese reacted to the sight of a toddler with her own iPad with astonishment. Such a thing simply wasn’t done in Japan!

There’s different ways to view this. One, we could say that Filipino children are more technologically advanced than the Japanese. I mean, look how they swipe and navigate through the iPad with ease! Japanese children can’t do that! So hooray for Pinoy Pride! Or two, we could step back and ask why they don’t give toddlers access to mobile phones and tablets in Japan. (Or three, maybe it was just the community they were visiting that resisted this trend.)

Unfortunately I don’t have yet data on the extent exposure of young children to technology in Japan, nor of prevailing attitudes. Maybe some further research in the coming weeks will reveal this. But what I do have on hand are the parenting philosophies of the top minds of tech.

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The Absurdist

A Mr. Beluga (pronounced Bel-yoo-guh) belted out the Tom Jones classic Delilah straight-faced while he played jacks and hopscotched on stage. It was strange, it was hilarious. The judges, a flamboyant gay host, a generic beautiful actress, a slurry spoken action star, and a corporate media boss, didn’t get it. Such a shame. It was great comedy and could have been much much more.

The Social Media Cancer

I get it: it’s hip to be railing against social media now that everyone and their mother is on it. That’s conventional wisdom anyway. But what if, just what if, there’s really something wrong with social media and we’re just ignoring the signs because we think we can’t do without it?

What if it were the people who started social media — who made social media what it is — already warning us about its adverse effects? Surely that deserves a hearing?

Sean Parker, creator of Napster and one of Facebook’s first investors, made a bit of a splash in the news back in November 2017 when he announced that he had become a conscientious objector to social media. After achieving much success, Parker began feeling the pangs of guilt. Parker confessed that the design of Facebook was “to consume as much of your time and attention as possible.”

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Mental Freedom

I’m writing this on a Friday night, the last ritual before the full onset of the weekend. Immediately prior to this, I was sending out a couple of emails soliciting articles for Dagmay, our ten-year-old online literary journal, and chatting with my wife. Half an hour before that, I cleaned out the dirty dishes from the sink. And just before that, in between dinner and the washing, I took my skateboard out for a spin and read a comic.

So what is wrong with this picture?

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Disconnecting Twitter and Google+

Today I’m disconnecting Twitter and Google+ from this blog. The World Without Mind podcast finally pushed me over the edge to forgo social media altogether. These two are the last vestiges of that past life. This blog will still be active, interested people will just have to visit it directly or better yet subscribe to the RSS feed, ‘cos that’s what it’s for. The posts will no longer reflect on any social media platform.

¬°Adios, amigos!

No more social media for me

Count this as a New Year Resolution for 2018: no more social media for me. Not that this is too hard but it helps to establish a definite boundary. I escaped the clutches of Facebook six years ago when I deleted my account for good. Last year I weaned myself off Twitter, the impetus being the toxic and intelligence-deadening political environment that reached its peak in 2016.

My last holdout is Reddit and though I have a decent karma score I was getting bored with it. Bored and not a little disturbed at how I felt it was sharing my thinking. When you know all the memes and the responses, when you’ve seen them a hundred times before but you echo them anyway, that just means you’re in too deep. So goodbye Reddit, too.