Computers, Privacy & the Constitution

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AWorldWithoutToys 5 - 21 Mar 2018 - Main.JoeBruner
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META TOPICPARENT name="CompPrivConst"
I had a thought after last class and decided to try and condense it here before I forget. Could adapt this into one of the class essays later, but I think I'd rather do something else for that.
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 I see the same kind of apathy you describe (from your experience with high school students) in the public library system where I work with kids and teens. It's all the same. It's all about instantaneity, about colours and hyper-mediated experience. What's worse is that we can indefinitely count on the Evan Spiegel's of the world to continue distorting and harassing the minds of impressionable youth.

-- MadihaZahrahChoksi - 19 Mar 2018


Thank you for your praise and the deep and thoughtful response. I should probably include anecdotes more often.

I'm sorry to hear about your brother. I didn't deeply touch on the massively multiplayer games like WoW? and LoL? because I never liked them much myself, and they target a specific hardcore audience, but there is a particularly pernicious aspect to them. While the single-player game presents you goals, WoW? and LoL? also provide you a community where you are sufficiently alienated and anonymized from your day-to-day self that you can maintain a separate existence. And because the goals are group goals (have our LoL? team go pro, be the top PvP? guild on our WoW? server) so you have to continue playing out of loyalty to the group. One of my high school friend groups essentially lost a member to WoW? because he always blew us off to do raids or something. His grades suffered, it got worse, and he never finished college. Fortunately, that technology could only hook a minority, but it can hook them really badly.

For growing children, an iPad is a lot cheaper and provides higher user satisfaction than a black or brown nanny. I am probably being painfully southern and painfully blunt when I say that, but in a world where adults have little face-to-face community, domestic help is prohibitively expensive for the middle class, and we have failed to adequately socialize child-care, market demand for a sedative for kids seems inevitable. There was a really interesting pediatric study ( out of India about how smartphones and tablets interest kids, but they become surprisingly passive and learn very little. By 12 months, they only watch the video of a music video instead of dancing. It's a difficult problem, made worse by the fact that the new generation of devices aren't meant to be shared at all. At least with the playstation there is a collective experience around the playstation.

I was about to close with the remark that I don't know how you make children demand higher-quality experiences, but I remembered an essay I wrote a couple of months ago year about food culture among children and teenagers (put up a copy at and, upon reflection, I think the two basic things you need to do are to force them to actually try a wide variety of other things and then disrupt the cultural hegemony among the children to the point where everyone is making radically different choices. But the first one takes a lot of time and effort on the part of caregivers, and the second gets much harder as the child gets older.

Difficult problems. Again, thank you for your heartfelt response.

-- JoeBruner - 21 Mar 2018

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Revision 5r5 - 21 Mar 2018 - 17:08:02 - JoeBruner
Revision 4r4 - 20 Mar 2018 - 02:31:27 - MadihaZahrahChoksi
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