Why technologists are limiting their families’ screen time

Fears over the side effects of digital devices and social media are prompting tech experts to limit the time they and their children spend online.

Michelle Simmons is Australia’s most decorated technologist. So it may seem surprising that for her three children, aged 11, 14 and 15, smartphones and social media are off limits.

“I saw how addictive it was if they had phones or iPads with them at Saturday sport,” Simmons, the 2018 Australian of the Year, says.

Like many of us, Simmons has witnessed the unnerving spectacle of a small child utterly transfixed on a phone or tablet. “If you try to take a device from them before the age of five, you normally get a pretty strong reaction because they get addicted to it pretty quickly.”

The Scientia professor in quantum physics at the University of NSW doesn’t use social media herself, and seems to find it disheartening how frequently others do.

“You have got half an hour spare, and you can do something that might be quite productive or engrossing, or you can look at the phone. I often see people choose the latter.”

She’s determined to prevent this behaviour at home. “When children are young, they can get access to things they aren’t mature enough to know how to deal with. Limiting access, from that perspective, is about helping them to appreciate their childhood as much as they can.”

Read the full article from The Age by clicking this link

STEAM not STEM: Why scientists need arts training

In 1959, the British physicist and novelist C.P. Snow delivered a famously controversial lecture at Cambridge University. He described a post-war schism between two groups — scientists and the literary world.

Snow identified this as a newly emergent divide, across which each party was more than happy to sneer at the other: Scientists proudly unable to quote a phrase of Shakespeare, and literary types untroubled by the second law of thermodynamics.

Those divisions within the university seem now more deeply entrenched than ever before. And those working within the arts and the sciences face a third antagonist in society: Populism, with its attendant and increasing distrust of intellectuals.

This powder keg occurs in a context of growing economic disparity and, incongruously, the increasing role of technological innovations in our daily life.

I’m a computer scientist who studies digital culture. I try my best to bridge the divides, but constantly ask the question: How can universities train our scientists, technologists and engineers to engage with society, as Snow suggested, rather than perform as cogs in the engine of economic development?

I believe we need our educational system to engage students with issues of ethics and responsibility in science and technology. We should treat required arts and humanities courses not as some vague attempt to “broaden minds” but rather as a necessary discussion of morals, values, ethics and responsibility.

Read the full article from thecoversation.com by clicking this link

“Fortnite” may be a virtual game, but it’s having real-life, dangerous effects

“They are not sleeping. They are not going to school. They are dropping out of social activities. A lot of kids have stopped playing sports so they can do this.”

Michael Rich, a pediatrician and director of the Clinic for Interactive Media and Internet Disorders at Boston Children’s Hospital, was talking about the impact “Fortnite: Battle Royale” — a cartoonish multiplayer shooter game — is having on kids, mainly boys, some still in grade school.

“We have one kid who destroyed the family car because he thought his parents had locked his device inside,” Rich said. “He took a hammer to the windshield.”

A year and a half since the game’s release, Rich’s account is just one of many that describe an obsession so intense that kids are seeing doctors and therapists to break the game’s grip, in some cases losing so much weight — because they refuse to stop playing to eat — that doctors initially think they’re wasting away from a physical disease.

Read the full article from the Boston Globe here

Boredom – The Cauldron of Creativity

Søren Kierkegaard said, “Boredom is the root of all evil.” Indeed, idleness has been looked down upon for centuries. Recent studies on the matter have brought much new information to light, but for many of us, the long-standing notion that a bored person needs an “activity” can lead to a reactionary approach if our child is bored. In a worst case scenario, a bored child places themselves before a screen. In a better scenario, we schedule them in activities to limit boredom or present them with a list of possibilities……..But, psychologists, neurologists and child development experts are now encouraging a third option: just let them be bored. No rescuing, no ideas, no schedule and no screens. Just let our children sit in the stew of inactivity. But why?

Read the full article from the Waldorf School of Philadelphia here

I cannot plant imagination into my children. I can, however, provide an environment where their creativity is not just another mess to clean up but welcome evidence of grappling successfully with boredom.”

CBRSS congratulates Byron Bay’s Bundjalung people on their land and sea native title determination

Byron Bay’s Bundjalung people celebrate long-awaited land and sea native title determination

A native title claim for areas of land and sea around Byron Bay in northern New South Wales has been approved almost two decades since it was first lodged with the Federal Court.

“There is no fear in native title,” Ms Rotumah said. “Native title is a recognition of people’s rights and interests in lands and waters. It means [the Bundjalung] can continue to be sustained by the ocean, to go out and fish, and beach worm, get pippies — all those things we’ve been able to do, and now we’re having a rubber stamp put on it giving us the thumbs up.”

Read the full article by ABC news here.