Despite being raised in a screen-lit world, today's children make and maintain friendships as well as past generations.
- The dominate cultural assumption claims screen time devastates children's social skills.
- A recent study in the American Journal of Sociology suggests today's children are as socially skilled as the preceding peers.
- Parents need to set screen limits, but research shows they should set limits for themselves, too.
Screening the evidence<span style="display:block;position:relative;padding-top:56.25%;" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="67573663b066971dc5eef86f46683753"><iframe type="lazy-iframe" data-runner-src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/zGhojx3miwc?rel=0" width="100%" height="auto" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" style="position:absolute;top:0;left:0;width:100%;height:100%;"></iframe></span><p>Douglas Downey, professor of sociology at Ohio State University, wanted to test the pervasive cultural concern that today's children suffer from poorer social skills. He teamed up with Benjamin Gibbs, associate professor of sociology at Brigham Young University, and they did what good sociologists do: They analyzed the best available data.</p><p>That data came from <a href="https://nces.ed.gov/ecls/" target="_blank">the Early Childhood Longitudinal Study</a>, a program overseen by the National Center for Education Statistics. Each of the program's studies follows a generational cohort from kindergarten to at least fifth grade. It asks teachers, parents, and administrators to assess children on their cognitive, social, emotional, and physical development at home and in school. Teachers assess the students six times from the start of kindergarten to the end of fifth grade, while parents assess their children three times from the beginning of kindergarten to first grade.</p><p>Downey and Gibbs <a href="https://nces.ed.gov/ecls/instruments2011.asp" target="_blank">compared the data</a> for the class of 1998-99 (19,150 students) and 2010-11 (13,400 students) because, despite both cohorts falling under the Gen Z label, each was raised in wildly different technological worlds. </p><p>The year 2010 saw the release of the iPad, the spread of 4G networks, and the launch of <a href="https://hbr.org/2009/11/six-social-media-trends" target="_blank">the social media decade</a>. But in 1998, screen time was restricted to home-bound TVs and desktop computers—unless you count the endless hours playing <a href="https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Snake_(video_game_genre)" target="_blank">Snake</a> on your Nokia 5110.</p><p>Despite these dissimilarities, Downey and Gibbs found little variance in how teachers and parents evaluated the children's social skills. </p><p>"In virtually every comparison we made, either social skills stayed the same or actually went up modestly for the children born later," Downey said in <a href="https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2020/04/200413103532.htm" target="_blank">a release</a>. "There's very little evidence that screen exposure was problematic for the growth of social skills."</p><p>Teachers and parents rated children similarly on self-control, interpersonal skills, the ability to form friendships, and how they handled diversity—even after accounting for factors like screen time use and family makeup. Within the cohorts, social skill trajectories remained similar for heavy-use children as lighter use.</p><p>The only exception proved children who accessed online gaming or social networking sites many times a day. These children's excessive screen time did lead to a slightly lower evaluation of social skills.</p>
"Do as I say, not as I do"<img type="lazy-image" data-runner-src="https://assets.rebelmouse.io/eyJhbGciOiJIUzI1NiIsInR5cCI6IkpXVCJ9.eyJpbWFnZSI6Imh0dHBzOi8vYXNzZXRzLnJibC5tcy8yMzE3MzEyMC9vcmlnaW4uanBnIiwiZXhwaXJlc19hdCI6MTYxMzQwNDM0M30.aotG74UydVNGyHYn4Cc1dEjseSiVQWGJsu3z_V6pGXc/img.jpg?width=1245&coordinates=0%2C183%2C0%2C441&height=700" id="293e0" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="2d190c0e5ad4c970a9daf8265f8aa632" data-rm-shortcode-name="rebelmouse-image" alt="two women using computers while sitting on a couch" />
Despite concern over kids' screen time, parents can spend up to 9 hours a day on digital devices.
Developing a media plan<img type="lazy-image" data-runner-src="https://assets.rebelmouse.io/eyJhbGciOiJIUzI1NiIsInR5cCI6IkpXVCJ9.eyJpbWFnZSI6Imh0dHBzOi8vYXNzZXRzLnJibC5tcy8yMzE3MzEyMi9vcmlnaW4uanBnIiwiZXhwaXJlc19hdCI6MTY1MzU2OTgzMn0.gU7esMudX6dDtmgIt9HwSSg5aV-FbhYkm1cMhjUmtZc/img.jpg?width=1245&coordinates=0%2C303%2C0%2C304&height=700" id="2c53b" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="5bdb1c998131a7037adb78da3a381f1b" data-rm-shortcode-name="rebelmouse-image" alt="woman and girl laughing while using computer" />
According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, a healthy family media plan includes setting limits and parental engagement.
Good relationship capital can change your business forever, explains Shark Tank investor Daymond John.
- Relationship capital is one of the most overlooked facets of doing good business, says investor and entrepreneur Daymond John.
- Savvy entrepreneurs know that digging into the relationships that they've nurtured for 5, 10, or 20 years is what pays the best dividends. That doesn't happen passively. You must build your reputation and take great care to be authentic in your interactions, says John.
- Relationship capital is symbiotic and becomes a network. When two parties genuinely look after each other over the long term, that goodwill spreads across both their networks and brings tens or hundreds of new transactions instead of just one initial deal.
Taking time for thoughtful consideration has fallen out of fashion, writes Emily Chamlee-Wright. How can we restore good faith and good judgement to our increasingly polarized conversations?
- The clamor of the crowd during a heated discussion can make it hard to tell who is right and who is wrong. Adam Smith wrote that the loudness of blame can stupefy our good judgment.
- Equally, when we're talking with just one other person, our previous assumptions and knee-jerk reactions can cloud our good judgment.
- If you want to find clarity in moments like that, Emily Chamlee-Wright recommends practicing the presumption of good faith. That means that we should presume, unless we have good evidence to the contrary, that the other person's intent is not to deceive or to offend us, but to learn our point of view.
Adam Smith suggests we imagine an 'impartial spectator' to help us find clarity and weigh our responses in difficult times.
The physicist was both a gentleman and scholar.
- Robert Oppenheimer wrote a telling letter of recommendation for Richard Feynman in 1943.
- After praising Feynman's intellectual prowess, Oppenheimer used most of the ink discussing the strength of his character.
- The letter is a stark reminder of the importance of emotional intelligence.
Feynman: Knowing versus Understanding<span style="display:block;position:relative;padding-top:56.25%;" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="7aa3757e3ba249f6addc35c33cde6280"><iframe type="lazy-iframe" data-runner-src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/NM-zWTU7X-k?rel=0" width="100%" height="auto" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" style="position:absolute;top:0;left:0;width:100%;height:100%;"></iframe></span><p>At the time of this letter, however, Feynman was a 25-year-old learning how to stand on the shoulder of giants. Oppenheimer was happy to boost him up. Thank goodness he did: no one influenced 20<sup>th</sup> century physics like Feynman, a man who was able to step in front of large crowds to explain complex ideas in physics with ease, grace, and humor. </p><p>After explaining that Feynman is "the most brilliant young physicist here," Oppenheimer pivots to his emotional intelligence: his "engaging personality and character," a person who has a "warm feeling for physics in all its aspects." This is important, as many pit science as the cold, unfeeling counterpart to the warm fuzzies that religion offers. This assumption simply isn't true. Science is as much art as analytics, especially when dealing with theoretical physics. Thinkers who can embody this reality prove to be important educators in the gap between ideas and the public. </p><p>Oppenheimer notes Feynman's ability to work with colleagues and the "big shots" on whose shoulders the young physicist was standing on. An unfortunate reality of science (and academia at large) is the territorial nature of its elite. To be able to work with top thinkers in any discipline and not only <em>not</em> threaten but be embraced by superiors is a skill few accomplish. At this young age, Feynman dialed it in. </p><p>Most amusing is Oppenheimer's comparison of Feynman to Paul Dirac, an English theoretical physicist who was so brilliant and odd that Albert Einstein <a href="https://archive.org/details/diracscientificb0000krag/page/82" target="_blank">said of him</a>, "I have trouble with Dirac. This balancing on the dizzying path between genius and madness is awful." Perhaps Oppenheimer was responding to Dirac's criticism of his love for both science and poetry, which Dirac claimed were incompatible. Oppenheimer states that Feynman is as brilliant a thinker, "only this time human." </p><p>This letter is an important reminder that brilliance will get you far, but not far enough. Some will be remembered for their intellect alone. To be recalled for both your brain and humanity is much rarer. By all accounts, Richard Feynman embodied this fully.</p>
American physicist Richard Feynman stands and raises one hand, in front of some shelves at Cal Tech University, Sacramento, California, 1959.
Photo by Joe Munroe/Hulton Archive/Getty Images<p><em>Dear Professor Birge.</em></p><p><em>In these war times it is not always easy to think constructively about the peace that is to follow, even in such relatively small things as the welfare of our department. I would like to make one suggestion to you which concerns that, and about which I have myself a very sure and strong conviction.</em></p><p><em>As you know, we have quite a number of physicists here, and I have run into a few who are young and whose qualities I had not known before. Of these there is one who is in every way so outstanding and so clearly recognized as such, that I think it appropriate to call his name to your attention, with the urgent request that you consider him for a position in the department at the earliest time that that is possible.</em></p><p><em>You may remember the name because he once applied for a fellowship in Berkeley: it is Richard Feynman. He is by all odds the most brilliant young physicist here, and everyone knows this. He is a man of thoroughly engaging character and personality, extremely clear, extremely normal in all respects, and an excellent teacher with a warm feeling for physics in all its aspects. He has the best possible relations both with the theoretical people of whom he is one, and with the experimental people with whom he works in very close harmony.</em></p><p><em>The reason for telling you about him now is that his excellence is so well known, both at Princeton where he worked before he came here, and to a not inconsiderable number of "big shots" on this project, that he has already been offered a position for the post war period, and will most certainly be offered others. I feel that he would be a great strength for our department, tending to tie together its teaching, its research and its experimental and theoretical aspects.</em></p><p><em>I may give you two quotations from men with whom he has worked. Bethe has said that he would rather lose any two other men than Feynman from this present job, and Wigner said, "He is a second Dirac, only this time human."</em></p><p><em>Of course, there are several people here whose recommendation you might want; in the first instance Professors Brode and McMillan. I hope you will not mind my calling this matter to your attention, but I feel that if we can follow the suggestion I have made, all of us will be very happy and proud about it in the future. I cannot too strongly emphasize Feynman's remarkable personal qualities which have been generally recognized by officers, scientists and laity in this community.</em></p><p><em>With every good wish,</em></p><p><em>Robert Oppenheimer</em></p><p><span style=""></span>--</p><p>Stay in touch with Derek on <a href="http://www.twitter.com/derekberes" target="_blank">Twitter</a> and <a href="https://www.facebook.com/DerekBeresdotcom" target="_blank">Facebook</a>. His next book is "Hero's Dose: The Case For Psychedelics in Ritual and Therapy."</p>
"One way the internet distorts our picture of ourselves is by feeding the human tendency to overestimate our knowledge of how the world works," writes philosophy professor Michael Patrick Lynch.
- Social media echo chambers have made us overconfident in our knowledge and abilities.
- Social psychologists have shown that publicly committing to an opinion makes you less willing to change your mind.
- To avoid a descent into epistemic arrogance and tribalism, we need to use social media with deep humility.
Egos in echo chambers<img type="lazy-image" data-runner-src="https://assets.rebelmouse.io/eyJhbGciOiJIUzI1NiIsInR5cCI6IkpXVCJ9.eyJpbWFnZSI6Imh0dHBzOi8vYXNzZXRzLnJibC5tcy8yMjg2ODI5MS9vcmlnaW4uanBnIiwiZXhwaXJlc19hdCI6MTYxMTQyNjU0N30.xnwbPsm30g2e27f24SqYr4rTleVRaWoHI21DKw9pMSs/img.jpg?width=1245&coordinates=0%2C393%2C0%2C364&height=700" id="9bb82" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="91dac428fbfff07936186e088bc977c8" data-rm-shortcode-name="rebelmouse-image" />
An echo chamber is an infinity of mirrors.
Photo: Robert Brook via Getty Images<p>"One way the internet distorts our picture of ourselves is by feeding the human tendency to overestimate our knowledge of how the world works," <a href="https://www.chronicle.com/article/Teaching-Humility-in-an-Age-of/240266" target="_blank">writes</a> philosophy professor Michael Patrick Lynch, author of the book <a href="https://www.amazon.com/Internet-Us-Knowing-More-Understanding/dp/1631492772/ref=sr_1_1?keywords=the+internet+of+us&qid=1578414237&sr=8-1" target="_blank"><em>The Internet of Us: Knowing More and Understanding Less in the Age of Big Data</em></a>, in <em>The Chronicle of Higher Education</em>. "The Internet of Us becomes one big reinforcement mechanism, getting us all the information we are already biased to believe, and encouraging us to regard those in other bubbles as misinformed miscreants. We know it all—the internet tells us so."</p> <p>In other words, the internet encourages epistemic arrogance—the belief that one knows much more than one does. The internet's tailored social media feeds and algorithms have herded us into echo chambers where our own views are cheered and opposing views are mocked. Sheltered from serious challenge, celebrated by our chosen mob, we gradually lose the capacity for accurate self-assessment and begin to believe ourselves vastly more knowledgeable than we actually are. </p>
The consequences of public commitment<p>But it's not just the social reinforcement mechanism of like-minded crowds that is killing intellectual humility. It's also our own digital trails—the permanent records of our previous opinions.</p> <p>"Here's another way that Twitter may harm democratic debate," New York University Stern School of Business professor Jonathan Haidt <a href="https://twitter.com/jonhaidt/status/1214008345893523457" target="_blank">tweeted</a> in January 2020, attaching a couple pages from Robert Cialdini's seminal marketing book <a href="https://www.amazon.com/Influence-Practice-Robert-B-Cialdini/dp/0205609996/ref=sr_1_1?keywords=influence+cialdini&qid=1580757318&s=books&sr=1-1" target="_blank"><em>Influence</em></a>. "Publicly committing to an answer makes people less receptive to info suggesting they were wrong." In the excerpt from <em>Influence</em>, Cialdini summarizes an experiment by social psychologists Morton Deutsch and Harold Gerard in which three groups of students were shown a set of lines. One group was asked to write down their estimates of the lines' length and turn their estimates in to the experimenter; the second group was asked to write down their estimates on a Magic Pad, then erase the pad before anyone could see; and the third group didn't write down their estimates at all. After the students were shown new evidence that suggested their original estimates were inaccurate, Cialdini writes: </p> <p style="margin-left: 20px;">The students who had never written down their first choices were least loyal to those choices. . . . [B]y far, it was the students who had publicly recorded their initial positions who most resolutely refused to shift from those positions later. Public commitment had hardened them into the most stubborn of all.</p> <p>Thanks to social media, most of us have publicly committed ourselves to our opinions. Our feeds are years of publicly published diary entries with our frozen-in-time thoughts on politics, news, relationships, religion, and more. Savvy social media users worry about how their digital trails will affect their future job prospects, but few people worry about how their digital trails might be affecting their own minds. By committing ourselves publicly to our present opinions, we may be hardening ourselves to future information that would otherwise change our minds—and thereby foreclosing upon our capacity for intellectual humility. </p>
Rewarding hot-takes and takedowns<img type="lazy-image" data-runner-src="https://assets.rebelmouse.io/eyJhbGciOiJIUzI1NiIsInR5cCI6IkpXVCJ9.eyJpbWFnZSI6Imh0dHBzOi8vYXNzZXRzLnJibC5tcy8yMjg2ODMwMi9vcmlnaW4uanBnIiwiZXhwaXJlc19hdCI6MTYxMjA3NDE0MX0.OAlSZ6lODdoQmy6t_sDjPaZgz4OIaM2kdowbtaTOV4I/img.jpg?width=980" id="fe928" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="6a3297818bfebe40c5e4d3cbb88c80db" data-rm-shortcode-name="rebelmouse-image" />
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