Strangers in Our Homes: TV and Our Children’s Minds

TV rots the senses in the head!
It kills the imagination dead!
It clogs and clutters up the mind!
It makes a child so dull and blind.
He can no longer understand a fantasy,
A fairyland!
His brain becomes as soft as cheese!
His powers of thinking rust and freeze!

An excerpt from Charlie and the Chocolate Factory,  By Roald Dahl, 1964

As a mother and a pediatrician who completed both a three-year residency in Pediatrics and a three-year subspecialty fellowship in Behavioral and Developmental Pediatrics, I started to wonder: “What are we doing to our children’s growth and learning potential by allowing them to watch television and videos as well as spend endless hours playing computer games?”

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Research released since this article was written indicates that all electronic visual displays—computer monitors, cell phones, laptops, tablets, e-readers, and all other mobile computing applications—can be included in this analysis.

Logged off: meet the teens who refuse to use social media

Generation Z has grown up online – so why are a surprising number suddenly turning their backs on Instagram, Facebook and Snapchat?

For 17-year-old Mary Amanuel, from London, it happened in Tesco. “We were in year 7,” she remembers, “and my friend had made an Instagram account. As we were buying stuff, she was counting the amounts of likes she’d got on a post. ‘Oooh, 40 likes. 42 likes.’ I just thought: ‘This is ridiculous.’”

Isabelle, an 18-year-old student from Bedfordshire who doesn’t want to disclose her surname, turned against social media when her classmates became zombified. “Everyone switched off from conversation. It became: ‘Can I have your number to text you?’ Something got lost in terms of speaking face to face. And I thought: ‘I don’t really want to be swept up in that.’

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How to co-parent after divorce

In Australia, around 21,000 divorces involving children occur annually. Separation and divorce can be an emotionally exhausting and difficult time, something which is recognised by the Family Court of Australia, which provides resources to assist people through the process.

Separation and divorce with children can be even more challenging, and many parents want to know the “right” way to parent now they’re no longer together.

A dominating narrative of children and divorce is around unfavourable outcomes of children whose parents have separated. But the assumption divorce is always bad for children is not correct.

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How Video Games Are Getting Inside Your Head — And Wallet

by STEVE HENN

Max Kelmon, 13, has his own little version of a man cave in Palo Alto, Calif. Behind the family kitchen in a converted garage, he has an Xbox, a big-screen TV, headphones and a microphone. There’s an old couch covered in a sheet. And that couch where he parks himself, surrounded by boxes and Christmas lights, is one of Max’s favorite places on the planet.

From that couch, he connects to friends all over the globe — and he spends hours, pretty much every day, honing his skills in Call of Duty.

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Warmth & Waldorf: Steiner’s Wisdom & The Unexpected Benefits For Our Children

Slippers, soup, tea, stories, snuggling, candlelight, being fireside, the feel of natural materials like silks, handmade dolls and wooden toys, acts of kindness, lullabies, wonder, simplicity, beauty, laughter, touch, slow pace, sharing, sunsets, warm comfortable clothing on a cold day, pausing, free play, connection, a smile, holding hands in a circle, holding hands (period) (-:, singing together, rest, heavy warm blanket, sunshine. All of these have a quality of warmth to them … open, nourishing, grounding, embodying. Some physical warmth, some more of an emotional heart-felt warmth.

Rudolf Steiner, founder of Waldorf Education, really saw the connection between these two types of warmth. Steiner would talk about how the physical warmth that a child receives in the younger years (before age 7) would impact positively not only their physical health in years to come but also a child’s capacity for emotional warmth as an adult. Talk about looking at the bigger picture! We probably can all think of an adult who really embodies emotional and physical warmth – generous heart, warm hands, great hugs … and we know how good it feels when we are in that space ourselves.

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Having Your Smartphone Nearby Takes a Toll on Your Thinking

“Put your phone away” has become a commonplace phrase that is just as often dismissed. Despite wanting to be in the moment, we often do everything within our power to the contrary. We take out our phones to take pictures in the middle of festive family meals, and send text messages or update our social media profiles in the middle of a date or while watching a movie. At the same time, we are often interrupted passively by notifications of emails or phone calls. Clearly, interacting with our smartphones affects our experiences. But can our smartphones affect us even when we aren’t interacting with them—when they are simply nearby?

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Waldorf: An education of its time?

To what degree is Waldorf education of its time? Is it contemporary? These questions are put forward by Neil Boland, senior lecturer at Auckland University of Technology in New Zealand. He looks towards possible futures and finding new forms of and for education. This is his second article; the first, “A sense of place within the Waldorf curriculum”, asks how Waldorf pedagogy can find its place within local cultures and the extent to which it localises itself when it moves beyond its European beginnings.

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Could Steiner schools have a point on children, tablets and tech?

Studies have yet to show much benefit from technology in schools, leading some to wonder whether the offline life is better for children.

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The educational significance of practical learning

By Wilfried Gabriel, April 2018

Which skills and abilities should schools give to children and young people so that they are prepared to confidently confront the challenges of the future? On what basis can these increasingly bigger and more complex seeming tasks such as globalisation and digitalisation, peace and social justice, and responsibility towards the earth and its inhabitants be tackled? From the point of view of Waldorf education, the school’s contribution when it comes to overcoming these challenges can only arise through a human-centred understanding of education.

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Ten Reasons Middle Schoolers (Yr 7-9) Don’t Need Social Media

1. Social media was not designed for children. A tween’s underdeveloped frontal cortex can’t manage the distraction nor the temptations that come with social media use.

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7 Benefits of Waldorf’s “Writing to Read”

Waldorf Education starts to set the foundation for reading in kindergarten. Learning to read is allowed to evolve for each child in the same form as it evolved from the beginning of humanity: spoken language developed first, then people drew pictures to communicate their ideas, followed by symbols such as hieroglyphics and finally the abstract letters of our modern alphabets. Once there was a written language, people learned to read. This is exactly the sequence in which children master language, and it also is the sequence in which reading is taught in Waldorf schools.

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The Rich Get Smart, The Poor Get Technology: The New Digital Divide in School Choice

The “digital divide” was a term originally coined in the early 2000s to describe the “have” and “have-nots” of computers and mobile technology. There was great concern that low-income children would be left behind because of their lack of technology in the home. In the United States, the middle-class predominantly white families who were able to afford computers (and later mobile technology) were able to allow their child to experience (and learn) so much more through the internet accessed on these devices. A number of things addressed these fears, including the decreasing cost of computers. This helped bridge the digital divide, but nothing had quite the effect of the one-to-one programs we now see in so many school districts, including those in low-income areas. All children could have access to the internet. Digital Divide closed. The problem is there is little evidence to support the idea that technology in schools improves learning outcomes.

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Tests or trees?

Emphasis on standardised tests is robbing children of crucial playtime, some teachers say.

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Children struggle to hold pencils due to too much tech, doctors say

Children are increasingly finding it hard to hold pens and pencils because of an excessive use of technology, senior paediatric doctors have warned.

An overuse of touchscreen phones and tablets is preventing children’s finger muscles from developing sufficiently to enable them to hold a pencil correctly, they say.

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Why does Waldorf Education talk about warmth so much?

With the approach of cooler weather it seems timely to consider the importance of warmth for healthy child development. Waldorf/Steiner Education talks about warmth so much because warmth needs our attention. This link will take you to a wonderful article about this, please make time to read.