A photo from the river at Graignamanagh that I took during our trip to Ireland years ago.
Here’s an interesting bit of news:
Parents in a town in Ireland came together to voluntarily ban smartphones for kids as old as 13 by Zoe Rosenberg in a publication called Insider.
I think this is an excellent idea and if I could go back in time, I’d have waited to give our daughter an iphone. We did wait with our son because he was three years older — and smart phones weren’t a thing yet.
But by the time my daughter was in third or fourth grade, a few of her friends were using smartphones. I remember changes at swim meets — before and after smartphones. When the kids were young and nobody had phones, the high school kids played card games with the little ones. They also played “Catch Phrase” and made up word games.
When my daughter was in high school, the middle school and high school kids were no longer talking or laughing. They sat, staring at their screens. I found out later that a lot bullying was going on between the girls — sitting a few feet apart — on their phones.
Here’s an excerpt from the story:
Parents in Greystones, Ireland, have implemented a smartphone ban for primary school-aged kids.
The ban is voluntary, but parents said it reached a critical mass that makes enacting it easier.
The pact seeks to curb anxiety and exposure to unsuitable material, and has won support nationally.
Some kids in Greystones, Ireland, may have to wait until their teen years to partake in the latest viral dance craze, thanks to a voluntary ban on smartphones that has won the support of many area parents.
The Guardian reported that parents in the coastal town, about a 45-minute drive south of Dublin, have joined together to implement the ban that seeks to bar smartphone usage until kids reach secondary school, typically at the age of 12 or 13.
The hope is that the ban will help prolong childhood by lessening the anxiety and exposure to adult materials that smartphone usage often eggs on.
Not only has smartphone use in toddlers and children been linked to slower brain development, it also has increased anxiety and depression in teens. Not all parents are for the ban, and they aren’t required to follow it. But a large enough population of parents support it to make it effective. I guess parents don’t like to be the “odd one out.”
I think my kids would tell you that I had no problem being strict and saying no. But when it came to the iphone, I had no idea that it was harmful. It was fairly new for kids to have, and it seemed perfect to communicate with them. We started off with Tracphones with no smart features and prepaid minutes when they went to swim camp at USC. Eventually, they got their iphones.
I wrote about families in the Silicon Valley who ban screens for their kids. They are working for the tech companies, and I felt they must know something that we weren’t aware of. You can read that story HERE.
What are your thoughts about bans on smartphones for children?
That’s me diving off the blocks at my first US Masters swim meet in 2017. This was a relay and I was anxious I’d dive into one of my teammates in the yellow caps.
I got back in the pool last week and swam Tuesday, Thursday and Sunday. I’m proud of myself for being consistent and I’m on track for this week too. I asked my husband to go with me on Sunday and after years of him not swimming, he loved it! So, I’m switching my swims during the week from mornings when he works to the afternoons so he can join me.
It’s a healthy fun alternative to our normal neighborhood walks.
The YMCA has an app where you can see if lanes are available and reserve your spot. However, the app has never worked for me. I can see the open spots, but I can’t reserve them. I have to resort to the old fashioned phone call.
When this first happened, I went to the front desk and a young man tried to get the app to work. He gave up and told me I needed a new phone — that my phone was too old. My phone was less than a year old! I prefer the home button on the iphone and Apple still has a model with it. So, my phone may look old to that kid, but it’s relatively new.
Then I contacted the IT people who made the app. They said I had to get help from the YMCA staff. I promptly gave up and used the phone to call and make reservations.
A few weeks ago the Y went to a new app. I thought my troubles would be over. But, no I still couldn’t make lane reservations.
I decided to give it another try and stopped at the front desk where a new young man sat. He looked at my phone, got on the computer and quickly solved the problem. On their end, a box had to clicked to make me the internet user.
Now I can make reservations for my husband and me. I can also cancel without having to call the YMCA and say my plans changed.
What apps do you use that make things easier. In what ways do you find technology makes things more difficult?
Fifty-three percent of American children have a smartphone of their own by age 11, according to a 2019 report by Common Sense Media. By the time they’re 16, 89 percent of kids have one. An earlier report by Common Sense Media found that 50 percent of teenagers felt addicted to their smartphones and that 59 percent of their parents thought that was the case. All of this has coincided with a startling increase in mental health challenges among adolescents, which some psychologists believe might be tied to the adverse effects of social media use.
That quote came from an article in the Washington Post called “Meet the parents who refuse to give their kids smartphones” by Ellen McCarthy.
It was an interesting read to see how the children felt about not being allowed to have a smartphone. In some instances they were the only person in their school without one. The parents gave them a phone that didn’t have internet access but they could use to text and call. One child was so embarrassed with that type of phone, they never got it out at school.
One mother who refused to let her children have smartphones was a psychiatrist who treats high school and college students. She said her patients were on their smartphones nine hours a day or more — more than they sleep.
I agree with WHY the parents didn’t want their kids to have smartphones, but I’m not sure in today’s world if I could do it. My kids had childhoods without cell phones. My son didn’t get his iphone until high school graduation. My daughter got hers earlier and there was a lot of bullying going on. Also, I remember this thing on Instagram my daughter showed me where young girls were posting pictures of their thigh “gaps.” It was a body image competition that probably boosted anorexia.
By the end of eighth grade, Annalise Stacey was the only one in her class without a smartphone. And her mom’s spiels about how bad the devices are for kids’ brains didn’t make that much easier.
If her friends decided to hang out after school or on a weekend, they would make plans via group text. When she went to sleepovers, she often ended up watching other girls scroll on their phones. Annalise, who is now 15, sometimes didn’t know what her classmates were talking about because gossip had been exchanged over text or social media.
“I was frustrated just because I’m more of a shy person, so I felt like I was definitely getting left out of things and I didn’t really know how to get included.”
What are your thoughts? Would you be a parent against smartphones, even if your child felt left out? At what age did your kids get smartphones?
My husband and I laugh over the many autocorrects on texts that are posted on the internet. Some are so funny!
But when autocorrect happens to me, it’s really annoying. It mostly happens when I type too fast.
I saw an article in the Wall Street Journal called “Autocorrect Explained: Why Your iPhone Adds Annoying Typos While Fixing Others.” Tpying truble? During the iPhone’s first 15 years, its keyboard software has evolved, but it still sometimes flubs your lines. Here’s how it works and what you can do about it, byJoanna Stern.
Here’s an excerpt:
I get it, complaining about autocorrect feels very 2000-and-late. Yet here in 2022, nearly 15 years since the iPhone’s debut, Apple’s AAPL -0.15%▼ smart typing software can still make us want to break the Guinness World Record for phone throwing. The system still introduces annoying—OK, sometimes hilarious—typos, misspellings and grammatical errors. Perhaps even more than ever before.
But before I git into thast, allow me to make a pont. Go itnto hour iPhone settings and turn off autocrrct. Yeaaasah. Good lyuck typig without it!
If you didn’t catch that, I turned off autocorrect for a day and barely lived to tell the tale. Within minutes, it was clear how much the software is saving us from ourselves.
The reporter explains what autocorrect is and how it works. That’s something I’ve never thought about. You would think about 15 years of iphones, the bugs would be worked out. If you have access to the Wall Street Journal, this is a very interesting article with lots of detail and information.
Here’s what Stern says about that:
Here’s what’s going on. When you type, the autocorrect algorithms are trying to figure out what you mean by looking at various things, including where your fingers landed on the keyboard and the other words in the sentences, while comparing your word fragment to the words in two unseen dictionaries:
• Static Dictionary: Built into iOS, this contains dictionary words and common proper nouns, such as product names or sports teams. There were over 70,000 words in this when the first iPhone launched and it’s gotten bigger since then.
• Dynamic Dictionary: Built over time as you use your phone, this consists of words that are unique to you. The system looks at your contacts, emails, messages, Safari pages—even the names of installed apps.
“The static dictionary and the dynamic dictionary would be in a little bit of a battle with each other,” Mr. Kocienda said. The software is designed to break the tie, he added, but it doesn’t always pick what you would pick.
I read a few articles that teens and young adults are turning away from smart phones to dumb ones. Not dumb like my pink rotary phone above, but dumb like flip phones without all the bells and whistles of the internet. Along with the trend to appreciating vinyl that I wrote about last week, teens seem to like the retro phones, too.
Read this excerpt from The Daily Mail article called
Teenagers are turning to ‘dumb’ phone models from the 1990s due to a desire to switch off, say experts
Young adults are turning away from smartphones to switch off
Market researchers say this and lack of data bills is fuelling 90s nostalgia
Nokia has even rereleased several older models to meet the demand
Young adults are turning their backs on high-tech smartphones in favour of ‘dumb’ models from the 1990s.
Experts say the trend among those in their late teens and early 20s is due to a social media craze for gadgets from the era and a desire to switch off from today’s screen-dominated world.
Lou Ellerton, of market research agency Kantar, said: ‘We’re heading back into a period of massive 90s’ nostalgia.’
My fitbit died a sudden death in Sept. 2021. From tracking my every step and swim stroke it went dark. My first instinct was to order another one online and strap it back into my life ASAP. Then an idea hit me. I decided to try an experiment. I’d go one week without it.
My daughter sent me an article this morning called “Beware That Nocebo Strapped to Your Wrist” by Tim Culpan from Bloomberg.com. It’s premise is this: “Fitness gadgets are supposed to improve your health, but often end up making you feel worse.”
Here’s an excerpt:
Most people are familiar with the concept of a placebo, where merely providing positive information can improve perception of well-being. Yet the opposite also occurs, with negative data making people feel worse about their own health.
That’s a nocebo — Latin for “I shall harm” as opposed to “I shall please” for placebo. And there’s a good chance you have a nocebo strapped to your wrist.
A wave of health-tech gadgets — from fitness trackers to Apple Inc.’s Watch — means hundreds of millions of people are hooked up to real-time feedback devices. They’re designed to measure your steps, encourage you to exercise more, and give daily updates on your mental and physical health. Apple wants you to “close your rings” — the three colorful circles the Watch uses to monitor your progress — and Garmin Ltd. helpfully tells you when your health is “excellent.”
They make for popular gifts and are bound to be stocking-stuffers this year. Various models of the Apple Watch occupied four of the top 10 most popular items in November’s Black Friday sales, according to Business Insider.
But there’s also good reason to think twice about whether you, or a loved one, will truly benefit from 24-7 monitoring, arbitrary goals served up by an algorithm, and regular notifications telling you that you’re stressed, tired, fit, or simply “unproductive.”
In fact, research on the nocebo effect — first conceptualized in 1961 — has shown that perceptions of pain can increase with shifts in information and detail. Patients with suspected concussions have shown poorer neurocognitive performance when their history of traumatic injury is called to attention. Concentration falters when unpleasant data is provided. Sometimes, even a change in the color of a specific signal associated with health can trigger discomfort.
It’s been a little less than four months since the nocebo left my wrist. I no longer wake up to immediately check my fitbit. I’d check to see if I had a good night’s sleep or not. If it told me I had a bad night’s sleep, it changed my outlook for the entire day. I felt tired, cranky, and I didn’t know how I’d get through the day. Say good-bye to getting into my creative space. I was becoming a slave to the nocebo.
I haven’t replaced it. I don’t need it. I know if I’ve gotten enough steps from years of walking 10,000 steps or more each day. I know if I had a good night’s sleep or not. AND as for swimming laps, I count higher than the number of laps I can swim. It’s not too much to keep track of laps in my head. Maybe even good for the old brain power.
What type of device do use to keep track of your health, steps and sleep? Or do you use one at all? I hear people say the Apple Watch has all sorts of other benefits, but I can’t figure out if I need another device to alert me about calls, texts, and emails with a laptop and cellphone at my side? What are your thoughts? What are the benefits that you like the most?
We woke up to a cloudy day, which turned spectacular once the sun peeked over the horizon. My husband and I both ran outside with our iPhones and began snapping away. I was curious to compare our photos because our phones have different cameras. I use an iPhone SE that doesn’t have as advanced camera as my husband’s iPhone 12. His phone is a year old, mine is two year’s old and not as big or fancy.
I took my photos on firm ground, while my husband stood on a table outside to get his view. We both have our own point of view for our photos.
I think both our iPhones capture the spectacular view. But his iPhone produces photos that look more like a painting than mine. I think he has the ability to zoom in, while I do not.
Do you use your phone for photos now instead of carrying a camera? Which photos do you like the best? Mine or my husband’s? Be honest, please. Or, can you tell any difference between the two iPhone cameras? Also, can you believe how amazing our sunrises are here? I thought they were gorgeous in California, but Arizona’s are truly breathtaking.