behavior · children · culture · environment · happiness · health · mental health · Nature · play

Nature Valley shows chilling faces of children addicted to technology

Okay, ignore that this is a granola company’s commercial.

And they may have cherry-picked to prove a point.

YET…

The fact that even these kids exist is terrifying.

Just watch the video. And cringe. Mourn. Cry. Then go do something about it!

Children are obsessed with technology, and Nature Valley wants us to be afraid. Very afraid.

That seems to be the message of this new ad for the granola bar company, which asks three generations of families: “When you were a kid, what did you do for fun?”

The elder two generations share memories of blueberry picking, sledding, fishing trips, and playing baseball as airy music plays in the background.

But then it’s the younger generation’s turn, and ominous music suggests these kids aren’t exactly frolicking in the grass and soaking in the sunshine. The kids detail that they spend five hours a day texting, emailing, tweeting, browsing the computer, or playing video games as the parents cry or lament the death of the good old days.

h/t via Nature Valley shows chilling faces of children addicted to technology (Mashable).

This is not okay people. So, so, the opposite of okay!

Go volunteer to take your niece or nephew to the park, or go hunt for cool leaves and flowers in the park. Grow a flower or even spider plant and give it to a kid! Take action!

play · Social

Innovation, Education, and Making stuff

I am so excited to share! My friends Janine and Willow were quoted as part of a workshop this past week about the Maker culture that has been growing dramatically over the past ten years and is really starting to bloom. My friends are part of the Jigsaw Renaissance, based in Seattle. The article appeared on the O’Reilly Radar article (excerpt below, with my friend’s quote in bold):

From a social perspective, vibrant communities are organizing around projects, technologies, and physical places. For example, one community called DIYDrones has developed a $500 unmanned aerial vehicle using open source chip sets and gyroscopes. Hacker Spaces and Maker Spaces are springing up around the country — like Jigsaw Renaissance in Seattle, which seeks to encourage:

Ideas. Unfiltered, unencumbered, and unapologetically enthusiastic ideas. Ideas that lead to grease-smeared hands, lavender sorbet, things that go bang, clouds of steam, those goggle-marks you see on crazy chemistry geeks, and some guy (or girl) in the background juggling and swinging from a trapeze … Walk through our door with an open mind, and you are liable to be whisked off your feet and into a project you’d never have thought up. We encourage communal learning, asking questions, and pushing that red button. Go on. Do it. If you stick around long enough, you’ll end up being the one creating projects and doing the 3-2-1 countdown for some new toy. Which is exactly what we hope will happen.

Technologically — we are moving towards what MIT‘s Neil Gershenfeld has called personal fabrication. Consider how Moore’s Law has enabled the transition from the expensive and remote mainframe to the personal computer to the smartphone that fits in your pocket to the Internet of things. We are seeing the same phenomena with the dramatic reduction in the cost of the tools needed to design, make and test just about anything — including $1,200 3D printers, CAD tools, machine tools, sensors, and actuators. Remember the replicator from Star Trek? It’s rapidly moving from science fiction to science fact. What will happen as we continue to democratize the tools needed to make physical objects that are smart, aware, networked, customized, functional, and beautiful? I have absolutely no clue — but I am confident that it will be awesome. As one maker put it, “The renaissance is here, and it brought ice cream.”

Economically — we are seeing the early beginnings of a powerful Maker innovation ecosystem. New products and services will allow individuals to not only Design it Yourself, but Make it Yourself and Sell it Yourself. For example, Tech Shops are providing access to 21st century machine tools, in the same way that Kinkos gave millions of small and home-based business access to copying, printing, and shipping, and the combination of cloud computing and Software as a Service is enabling “lean startups” that can explore a new idea for the cost of ramen noodles.

Makers are also becoming successful entrepreneurs. Dale just wrote a compelling story about Andrew Archer — the 22-year-old founder of Detroit-based Robotics Redefined. As a teenager, Andrew started off entering robotics competitions and making printed circuit boards on the kitchen table. He is now building customized robots that transport inventory on the factory floors of auto companies. With more entrepreneurs like Andrew — we could see a bottom-up renaissance of American manufacturing.

The article even goes on to talk about why the Obama Administration is behind DIY-ers and Makers. Exciting stuff! Read the whole article on O’Reilly Radar.

Social · technology

Steven Pinker Op-Ed – Mind Over Mass Media – NYTimes

There is so much buzz right now about whether or not we’re over-saturated with technology and gizmos and electronic thingamabobs and constant electronic feedback that it’s wrecking our brains. Some people have said absolutely, 100% yes.

Steven Pinker, a language, cognitive science, evolutionary psychologist working out of MIT and most famous for popularizing the idea that language is an “instinct” or biological adaptation shaped by natural selection, however points out that in some ways electronic technologies have helped us do better science, be more creative, and build social networks.

When comic books were accused of turning juveniles into delinquents in the 1950s, crime was falling to record lows, just as the denunciations of video games in the 1990s coincided with the great American crime decline. The decades of television, transistor radios and rock videos were also decades in which I.Q. scores rose continuously.

For a reality check today, take the state of science, which demands high levels of brainwork and is measured by clear benchmarks of discovery. These days scientists are never far from their e-mail, rarely touch paper and cannot lecture without PowerPoint. If electronic media were hazardous to intelligence, the quality of science would be plummeting. Yet discoveries are multiplying like fruit flies, and progress is dizzying.

via Op-Ed Contributor – Mind Over Mass Media – NYTimes.com.

I have mixed opinions about technology and the modern world – I am a blogger, and I write for both hard-copy and online publications. Most of my paychecks have come from online writing. I gain unmeasurable knowledge and enjoyment from the Internet, and yet the most restful vacation I have had in years is three days in Boulder where the only technology I had was my cell phone and a car, both of which turned off the majority of my visit. My husband can hear the buzz of electronics at night and can’t have anything plugged in when he goes to bed.

What do you think? Any other links to people’s opinions on the subject?