How to make culture/life less boring?

Samson

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I also met plenty of folks online. It's not that the medium is bad or has no use. And I wouldn't say it's 'unknown', the damages of screentime replacing RL interactions are known and will be as obvious as smoking damages over the coming decades.



https://www.apa.org/monitor/2020/04/cover-kids-screens



https://www.cuimc.columbia.edu/news/social-media-threatening-teens-mental-health-and-well-being
Just pointing out that that does stress that this is not detecting causality but correlation. I only have the abstract of the 1st one, but the second only uses sex, BMI, family income, parental education, and race and ethnicity as covariates, they could easily be missing some underlying factor that is causative to both. Not that it is a particularly radical hypothesis, getting kids to run about outside rather than sit in front of the TV all day is probably going to be good for them.
 

Gorbles

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I also met plenty of folks online. It's not that the medium is bad or has no use. And I wouldn't say it's 'unknown', the damages of screentime replacing RL interactions are known and will be as obvious as smoking damages over the coming decades.

https://www.apa.org/monitor/2020/04/cover-kids-screens

https://www.cuimc.columbia.edu/news/social-media-threatening-teens-mental-health-and-well-being
I appreciate the links, thanks.

In addition to what Samson has said, I don't think anyone's arguing that there isn't any potential risk to using devices like phones or tablets, etc. But the problem once again seems to be one of regulation, and not an inherent risk to using such a device, period. Certainly I think it's way too premature (and not supported by the available data - including what you've provided) to compare it to something like smoking. I think that once again that relates to your personal feelings about screentime.

Prioritising RL interactions is all good and well, but again, not everybody is built in the same way in that regard. Using devices can actually help those with anxiety in RL situations. It's not a true for everybody, but it is a thing. Likewise, relying on too much screentime, be it TV or a tablet, can also have an impact especially on children. What we need here is nuance, and not a sweeping one-size-fits-all "this is bad".
 

Narz

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I appreciate the links, thanks.

In addition to what Samson has said, I don't think anyone's arguing that there isn't any potential risk to using devices like phones or tablets, etc. But the problem once again seems to be one of regulation, and not an inherent risk to using such a device, period. Certainly I think it's way too premature (and not supported by the available data - including what you've provided) to compare it to something like smoking. I think that once again that relates to your personal feelings about screentime.

Prioritising RL interactions is all good and well, but again, not everybody is built in the same way in that regard. Using devices can actually help those with anxiety in RL situations. It's not a true for everybody, but it is a thing. Likewise, relying on too much screentime, be it TV or a tablet, can also have an impact especially on children. What we need here is nuance, and not a sweeping one-size-fits-all "this is bad".
I'm not saying "this is bad", I'm saying it's potentially bad. Everyone already knows the upside of information @ a keystroke & being able to keep in touch w gramma in Australia.

Regarding research, IMO a shortcut for waiting on meta-studies is seeing how those who profit from something treat their product or service within their own families. IIRC, tech billionaires are notoriously strict when it comes to their own kids using smart-phones/tablets & such, setting strict limits on screen time & phone use. I don't know for a fact but I'm willing to be the Sackler (of Purdue Pharma/opiate fame) would advise close friends & family to use OxyContin very sparingly or not at all before it became overwhelmingly obvious how dangerous it could be.

I agree digital interaction could be a gateway into face-to-face interaction for those w social/anxiety/emotional issues when done intelligently but smart phones & social media sites are not set up for mindful use, they're designed to be addictive.

I certainly have my personal biases as do we all but bias doesn't imply delusion. To accept as positive all new technology/cultural shifts/drugs/whathaveyou by default is reckless IMO. Innocent until proven guilty is a good policy for criminal law but when it comes to trillions of dollars being made combined w promises to make life easier I'm more prone to take the precautionary principle.
 

TheMeInTeam

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It basically is bootstraps theory projected onto the family, personal responsibility is primary and if you complain about culture or external influences you're a lil b**** who just needs to buck up and show those kids what's what.

external factors are a thing but modern society seems to err in the direction of over-weighting them

even the choice to have children at all is something with personal agency in the overwhelming majority of cases

also, among your examples you list single parenthood, which is itself a choice in the overwhelming majority of cases. some subset of this population are there by force (aka widows for example), and for another subset the benefit/cost proposition of being a single parent is overwhelming (sometimes the other parent is really that bad). these combined do not even come close to explaining the sheer volume of the single parenthood epidemic, which has been quite destructive.

yes, you can somewhat blame the government for incentivizing it, but that does not completely remove blame from the individual. i am a lot more sympathetic to individuals when their plight is not primarily their own doing. but in most cases, it is and they still want to blame external factors.

it reminds me of the difference between beginner/intermediate players in FTL vs people who actually make good choices. one group largely blames external factors when they lose, and and consequently that group sucks forever. they outright ignore overwhelming evidence that their own choices are the primary driver of the outcome, even if others are a factor as well. it's poor form, but in a game it's not that big of a deal. unfortunately, this same rationale tracks to real-life decision-making, where the stakes/outcomes actually matter. a lot
 

Valka D'Ur

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I tried to reply to this before, but the formatting became a mess that I couldn't fix.

I was going to suggest, @Narz, that you and your daughter might benefit from finding a new activity to share, something neither of you have tried before, or at least got as far as musing on but not following through. Even if you find it's not your proverbial cup of tea, you'll have spent some (hopefully) fun time together.

I'm reminded of the blast I had when my dad noticed my interest in rock collecting - he bought me a rock hammer and book on geology, and the next time we went to BC we went beachcombing on China Beach (western shore of the Pacific on Vancouver Island) and on a "treasure hunt" at a campground there. I still have the rocks, shells, and driftwood we brought home from that holiday, which will be 45 years ago this coming July. I have an album full of photos from that trip, and my grandmother stayed on the main beach and made sketches. China Beach was the last painting she did.

The other point I intended to make was to wonder WTF happened to the generation after mine to make them into paranoid helicopter parents whose first instinct is to call the police and social services on anyone who lets their kid out of site for 2 minutes, even if it's in their own front yard and the kid is 10 or 12 years old? I've actually read comments on my news site that some parents think kids should not be allowed to walk to school without an adult until they're at least 14 years old.

That's insane. Back in the '70s kids half that age were expected to be able to walk to school without an adult, and it was considered odd to be driven to school (at least in elementary).


Mental healthwise... this pandemic has done a number on so many people. The Minister of Education in my province has changed her mind on a dime so many times as to whether the kids are to be home-schooled or have in-school classes, leaving parents scrambling to either find child care if they can't get time off work or rearrange everything if they've booked sitters or day care and find they don't need it after all.

It hits adults as well. I've mentioned reconnecting with an old friend for a game of D&D... a couple of days ago he suggested meeting at the food court at the local mall to discuss my character and just chat a bit, and I realized that it's been over two years since I was last there and I honestly couldn't remember what the food court even looked like.
 

Gorbles

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I certainly have my personal biases as do we all but bias doesn't imply delusion
I wasn't saying you're delusional. We're all affected by our biases, it's how we account for them that's important.

Let's take an anecdote or two, right? I'm a software developer with games stuff on the side who grew up reading books and playing Warhammer and D&D. It's hard to find a more archetypal nerd in that regard. I look at a screen for a minimum of 40 hours per week. Before I had access to screens, it was books. Or drawing. I used to be alright at drawing.

My parents limited me to 30 minutes of recreational PC usage a day. Well into my teens. I didn't have a mobile phone until I was 17 or so.

Do you want to know what positive impact this had on my socialising? On my mental health? None whatsoever. In fact, not having a phone actively worked against me, funnily enough.

My son is four at the moment. He has a tablet. We also have a TV with streaming services.

His favourite hobbies? Going to new parks, soft play, and riding to school on his scooter. He's also pretty good at Lego and is fantastic at homework. Which is done on a tablet (not his, its not good enough).

Sure, you can say I'm making the right decisions. You can rightly say I'm an anecdote (just as I said I was). I'm not saying you're wrong for being precautionary. I'm saying I disagree with you judging others for not being the same as you.
I certainly have my personal biases as do we all but bias doesn't imply delusion. To accept as positive all new technology/cultural shifts/drugs/whathaveyou by default is reckless IMO. Innocent until proven guilty is a good policy for criminal law but when it comes to trillions of dollars being made combined w promises to make life easier I'm more prone to take the precautionary principle.
But who's presenting all new technologies as a unilateral positive? The way you've phrased this thread so far, it hasn't read as anything that mild. You literally just compared digital screentime to smoking.

You're also lumping a bunch of things together. Cultural shifts aren't drugs which aren't technologies. But you're wording them as being interchangeable here.
 

Narz

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external factors are a thing but modern society seems to err in the direction of over-weighting them
I think it's the opposite. People are mostly just a collection of influences. There are always stories about people who rose from crummy situations to overachieve but if you look closely you're always find a few positive influences & advantages.

I do agree that our descent into victim culture is toxic but pointing out societal influences & trends that affect people isn't the same. Acknowledging a junky start position in Civ isn't saying you can't win from there.
 

Narz

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You literally just compared digital screentime to smoking.
For some people it might be that bad. For some, lets say a young impressionable lonely kid without purpose who joins a fringe hate group lets say, the smoking habit might go in a few years but developing that type of mindstate & potentially criminal activities could ruin his whole life. If he had more opportunity in his community to be of use things might've turned out differently but we live in a culture that deliberately uses hate & fear to turn us against each other for profits.

You're also lumping a bunch of things together. Cultural shifts aren't drugs which aren't technologies. But you're wording them as being interchangeable here.
Not interchangeable but there are parallels.
 

Gorbles

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Acknowledging a junky start position in Civ isn't saying you can't win from there.
For sure, but I feel a lot of the problem we have in society is acknowledging the junky start position in the first place :)
For some people it might be that bad. For some, lets say a young impressionable lonely kid without purpose who joins a fringe hate group lets say, the smoking habit might go in a few years but developing that type of mindstate & potentially criminal activities could ruin his whole life. If he had more opportunity in his community to be of use things might've turned out differently but we live in a culture that deliberately uses hate & fear to turn us against each other for profits.
You don't have to be on an Internet-connected device a lot of the time to join a fringe hate group. I mean, it's definitely gotten easier for them to recruit over the past two decades given how ubiquituous Internet use (and the devices that provide it) have become, but this was a pre-existing problem.

The real issue here is the lack of political support and / or voter support to actually do something about it. Because the problem there isn't access to technology, but the ability for these groups to recruit. Which leads us down a censorship tangent that I don't really want to get into, but generally speaking we're also discussing censoring individuals from going online / using these devices, so (at the extreme end of the scale). I'd rather that censorship hit the perpetrators and the victims, if that's possible to do without overreach. And unfortunately politicians and informed discussions about technology go as well together as chalk and cheese.
Not interchangeable but there are parallels.
The only parallel I can see is addiction. And again, the problem there isn't the access, though that can be a tool in managing an addiction once established. The problem are things like predatory app designs and monetisation, which psychologically hook users. And that's a real problem, especially in gaming. But not in terms of simply using the device itself.
 

TheMeInTeam

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I think it's the opposite. People are mostly just a collection of influences. There are always stories about people who rose from crummy situations to overachieve but if you look closely you're always find a few positive influences & advantages.

I do agree that our descent into victim culture is toxic but pointing out societal influences & trends that affect people isn't the same. Acknowledging a junky start position in Civ isn't saying you can't win from there.

if you want to drill down to quantum physics you can make the case that everything is collection of influences (with some wiggle room for unknowns), but if that's the route we're going then i suggest we "define our terms" regarding what constitutes external vs internal factors.

it's not going to be very controversial to say "a child that literally starves to death or dies in an accident before the age of reason was doomed by external factors", but while it's a tragedy it's also not what we're debating, i think. human "start positions" run the full scale of "born a millionaire" down to "it will be a struggle just to survive". along with parents/social factors, the difference in chances individuals get is enormous.

even so, my take is that modern society errs too quickly on blaming external factors, for denying that people had control of their outcomes when that denial isn't true. also, for any one position, there is a "theoretical optimal" that the individual might have managed (given their personal utility function) with the hand dealt. nobody actually gets there, but some people get a lot closer than others. it's worth looking at why that happens.
 

amadeus

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Now we’re talking about the idyllic seventies? My parents grew up being told they were spending too much time in front of the idiot box then.

There was a meme I saw that said “look at this train carriage before people were staring at their phones all the time”—they were all reading the newspaper.

I’m not too worried about it.
 

Traitorfish

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We've replaced almost all social bonds with market interactions, so it's inevitable that people will become more isolated from one another. There's not much we can do about that unless we're willing to roll back our ceaseless drive towards the marketisation of all social life, and at this point it may not even be a question of will, because our institutions have corroded such that human decision-making has been almost entirely eliminated from the equation; the system is on rails, propelled by its own internal logic, with only limited opportunity for human beings to exert any control over the pace or direction.

For things to change, something will have to give, something will have to force us into the position where we need to start making decisions about what we want the world to look like, and if a global pandemic wasn't enough to get the job done, it's a gloomy business to contemplate what might.
 

Gorbles

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We've replaced almost all social bonds with market interactions
When you say market interactions, what's a concrete example? I'm not trying to quibble, I'm just not understanding the abstract (or the timeframe).
 

amadeus

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When you say market interactions, what's a concrete example? I'm not trying to quibble, I'm just not understanding the abstract (or the timeframe).
I too was trying to figure this out; the closest I could think was a supermarket vs. hunter-gatherer societies.

Fun antiquity fact: the first vending machines were in Alexandria, Egypt around the first century AD—for a silver drachma coin, they distributed holy water.
 

Farm Boy

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Oh, waiting with your kid by a bus stop, for one. We arrest people for not getting licenses and paid for it sometimes. Too informal. Nobody thought of the children.

Therapy, for two. Prayer group? Nah, gotta pay somebody a couple hundred bucks to develop emotional language skill or whateverthe**** somebody clever with good language skills tells you that you're buying. If you're hung up on food, how about instead of sending a group on a beer run you just order it in, tip the guy or gal, and eat lukewarm fast food like that isn't utterly revolting. There's more. But it's safe to say any time you want attention from a human these days, it just feels like it's a paid interaction. But that might be the early 40s lonely jerk talking. I mean, it's not like everybody is such a treat to interact with.
 
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