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Childhood Interrupted: How We Can Raise Happier, Healthier Kids with Less Technology
March 22, 2017 @ 7:30 pm - 9:00 pm
Children between the ages of 8 and 10 spend about 8 hours a day on screens. For teenagers that number is 11. Infants and toddlers are swiping on their parents’ phone and kindergarten now seems like the appropriate age to buy a child his own tablet. All of this has happened faster than most parents know how to handle it. As mothers and fathers we are under enormous pressure to hand over devices to kids. And the pressure is not just from the kids themselves—though boy can they be insistent.
Technology companies want us to buy their products so they can make money. Schools want to show us how they are educating our kids using shiny new devices, even though most educational technology is untested. And modern ideas about childrearing have made screens the easiest option for keeping kids occupied. With smaller families, and fewer neighborhoods where kids can actually roam freely, not to mention our often overblown concerns about their safety, more kids are home waiting for entertainment from adults.
Many parents feel a profound sense of unease about the ways and the frequency with which their kids are using phones, tablets and computers. We want them to learn how to communicate face to face. We want them to learn how to read well, not just skim websites. We want them to enjoy the outdoors, to get more exercise, to become more independent. We worry about the ways that social media can exacerbate the difficulties of adolescence. We are anxious about the kinds of things our kids will find online.
And yet it is hard to say no. It is time that we stop burying our heads in the sand and begin to understand the research about what technology is doing to our kids. And it is time for parents to start fighting back.
ABOUT NAOMI SCHAEFER RILEY
Naomi Schaefer Riley is a weekly columnist for the New York Post and a former Wall Street Journal editor and writer whose work focuses on higher education, religion, philanthropy and culture. She is the author of six books, including, The New Trail of Tears: How Washington Is Destroying American Indians, out from Encounter last summer.
Her book, ‘Til Faith Do Us Part: How Interfaith Marriage is Transforming America (Oxford 2013), was named an editor’s pick by the New York Times Book Review.
Ms. Riley’s writings have appeared in the Wall Street Journal, the New York Times, the Boston Globe, the LA Times, and the Washington Post, among other publications. She appears regularly on FoxNews and FoxBusiness and CNBC. She has also appeared on Q&A with Brian Lamb as well as the Today Show.
She graduated magna cum laude from Harvard University in English and Government. She lives in the suburbs of New York with her husband, Jason, and their three children.