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Memo To Parents and Society: Teen Social Media "Addiction" Is Your Fault 271

Posted by samzenpus
from the won't-somebody-please-think-of-letting-the-children-outside? dept.
FuzzNugget writes "Wired presents this damning perspective on so-called social media addiction: 'If kids can't socialize, who should parents blame? Simple: They should blame themselves. This is the argument advanced in It's Complicated: The Social Lives of Networked Teens, by Microsoft researcher Danah Boyd. Boyd ... has spent a decade interviewing hundreds of teens about their online lives. What she has found, over and over, is that teenagers would love to socialize face-to-face with their friends. But adult society won't let them. "Teens aren't addicted to social media. They're addicted to each other," Boyd says. "They're not allowed to hang out the way you and I did, so they've moved it online." It's true. As a teenager in the early '80s I could roam pretty widely with my friends, as long as we were back by dark. Over the next three decades, the media began delivering a metronomic diet of horrifying but rare child-abduction stories, and parents shortened the leash on their kids. Politicians warned of incipient waves of youth wilding and superpredators (neither of which emerged). Municipalities crafted anti-loitering laws and curfews to keep young people from congregating alone. New neighborhoods had fewer public spaces. Crime rates plummeted, but moral panic soared. Meanwhile, increased competition to get into college meant well-off parents began heavily scheduling their kids' after-school lives.'"
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Memo To Parents and Society: Teen Social Media "Addiction" Is Your Fault

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  • by dtmancom (925636) <`moc.namtd' `ta' `2nodrog'> on Thursday December 26, 2013 @09:04PM (#45792315) Homepage
    ...to raise a child poorly.
    • by lgw (121541) on Thursday December 26, 2013 @09:10PM (#45792347) Journal

      Who to blame, who to blame? And the parents will all sing:

      Should we blame the government?
        Or blame society?
        Or should we blame the images on TV?

        No!
        Blame Canada!
        Blame Canada!
        Shame on Canada, foooor...
        The smut we must cut,
        The trash we must bash,
        The laughter and fun must all be undone!
        We must blame them and cause a fuss
        Before somebody thinks
        Of blaming uuuuuuuuuuus!

      No, no, nothing is ever the parents' fault, what could you be thinking?

      • by ShanghaiBill (739463) on Thursday December 26, 2013 @10:26PM (#45792733)

        Who to blame, who to blame?

        Who is to blame for what? TFA presents no evidence (other than conjecture) that teens actually interact less face-to-face than earlier generations. It also presents no evidence (other than conjecture) that using Facebook is harmful. So there is no reason to believe either that the "problem" exists or that it is a problem.

         

        • Do people really complain about their own kid's addiction to social media? I had the impression it was parents complaining about other people's kids addiction. If you really think your kid has a harmful addiction, you should really do something about it.

          Now, complaining about a high phone bill, that's a different story. But that's not a worry about kids harming themselves.
          • by nospam007 (722110) * on Friday December 27, 2013 @05:17AM (#45794517)

            " If you really think your kid has a harmful addiction, you should really do something about it."

            Indeed. Join Facebook yourself with your wife and granny and peepaw an mimmy and gramps and befriend the brat.

            Post annoying and embarrassing messages and pictures when they were kids throughout the day.

            They'll fall over each other to leave FB posthaste.

        • by jandersen (462034) on Friday December 27, 2013 @04:31AM (#45794389)

          ... teens actually interact less face-to-face than earlier generations ...

          I wonder how old you are? Not far out of your teens?

          This is not to belittle your opinions, but although the article doesn't present any evidence, it is something that rings true to me, having grown up in a pre-PC and -internet age. When I was a child, it was common - expected, even - that you let your children go out on their own every day after school without worrying much about what they got up to. I never once got driven to school - I had a bicycle, and it was only about 3 km (a couple of miles, for the metrically challenged) along a country lane with only the occasional lorry barreling past. And what do children do when they are on their own? They find other children their age and play, working out their social skills together.

          But nowadays parents molly-cuddle their children, so they hardly ever get to scrape a knee or get into minor trouble - get themselves good and dirty. I don't think they lack social skills so much as the freedom and opportunity to take responsibility for their own lives - there is always a parent to head off any trouble they might get into, until they move away from home, and they find themselves unprepared for the amounts of shit that cascades into their lives. Social media and games wouldn't be so attractive, if they weren't such a convenient way to get away from over-protective parents, I think.

          • by Evtim (1022085) on Friday December 27, 2013 @07:09AM (#45794835)

            So true!

            People say about me, that I have above average people skills. Well, that is what you get from spending 3-5 hours per day [during school year, during vacation it was 5-10 hours] from the age of 5 being together with 5-10 neighbor kids [and not using a single electronic device in our time together - no radio, no TV, no Internet, of course]. That was in the countryside. In the big city - the same story only the locations and types of fun were different.

            Being home after dark? Not after the age of 13. Around that time something happened to me that happens to most boys - I woke up wet. So I asked my parents what this means. "You are entering adulthood and you will change" they said. "But according to the law I am still a kid for 5 years" - I said. "Well, we will have to work it out somehow". Then I started staying with friends for the whole night, or coming home at 04:00 hours after heavy metal concert, going to the mountains for weeks at the time when there was no way to communicate with the rest of the world [can you even imagine that is possible today - to let your kid go to the mountains and not get news from it for 2 weeks!!] and so on....and all the time I was wondering when will my parents say "enough". They never did!

            A few years ago I said to my mom "I have the feeling I was left with almost no oversight from you and dad when I was going out as a teen. I had friends on drugs. Others were drinking too much. You knew this; did you never worry?" Mom laughed her heart out "We never stopped watching you very closely indeed. I was worried you might start drinking too much or taking drugs. I was worried that you might have nasty experience with women, or be attacked in the desolate night streets. But since you never "took the bad road" stayed reasonable, studied hard and so on, we never interfered. How could I deprive from your friends just because some of them have habits I consider bad. It would have been a disaster...you need contact with people of your age to become a person!"

            On the other side is the sad, sad story of a nephew of mine (born after communism), who got so protected by his [overly scared by media] mother that he never had a friend and was going out once per year with classmates. The boy turned psychotic because once he was in the University his total lack of social skills [although being 22 his emotional and social life is at a level of 10 year old] made him the ridicule of all. He went into fights, did not know how to approach women [guess how sensitive and empathic women are to boys they consider "losers"], grew progressively even more isolated....and at the end of that road was the psychiatrist....

            And don't get me started on sexual education, because today kids have the choice between shy and/or paranoid parents and the utterly fabricated "reality" of internet porn....so sad.

    • "It takes a village ...to raise a child poorly."

      I don't get it. I think the point of "It takes a village" is to increase a child's face-to-face social interactions with a respectable variety of people.

      So this article would seem to support the idea that it takes a village to raise a child well.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday December 26, 2013 @09:04PM (#45792317)

    If something like Facebook is available to teens, they will use it. And they do.

    What is with this "blaming" nonsense? What is all this talk about public spaces - where? Are we supposed to accept that the lack of facilities for youths exists throughout the Facebook-using world, or is Danah Boyd unable to think outside of her own local area?

    • by interkin3tic (1469267) on Friday December 27, 2013 @12:04AM (#45793273)
      I'm addicted to porn. It's other people's fault: they rarely have orgies with me, so I have to settle for virtual!

      Bonus: the methodology here is asking teens why they're doing something "wrong." The answer is "Because my parents won't let me do what I want." Shock.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday December 26, 2013 @09:10PM (#45792357)

    I've pushed and encouraged my son, now 19, to get out and socialize. I've encouraged him to go hang out with friends and to invite friends over. I've encouraged him to have and to attend parties, join groups, travel... I've provided a relatively fancy/sporty car and more than enough money to do almost whatever he likes.

    Instead he plays League of Legends and DOTA2 for 18-20 hours per day. He'd rather be kicked in the head than leave you computer and go outside or socialize...

    Well maybe it's my son that's got a problem. I do see lots of teens out in public. But, all of those teens, ALL OF THEM, have their heads buried in their smartphones. They go out of their way to NOT interact, let alone socialize, with anyone.

    I think this "researcher" is full of shit. I think that we are still to blame for providing an easy and pervasive technological environment that allows them to bury their heads in their comfortable world of cyberspace and "social media", never having to come up for air. It's addictive as shit and they are all addicted to it. But, they're not at all interested in socializing IRL.

    • by lgw (121541) on Thursday December 26, 2013 @09:29PM (#45792437) Journal

      I think this "researcher" is full of shit. I think that we are still to blame for providing an easy and pervasive technological environment that allows them to bury their heads in their comfortable world of cyberspace and "social media", never having to come up for air. It's addictive as shit and they are all addicted to it. But, they're not at all interested in socializing IRL.

      And they suck at riding horses, so they'll shamefully be foot soldiers when drafted into the military. And none of them have memorized a log table - how are they supposed to multiply big numbers, I ask you? And no one is apprenticed to a trade and sent off at 12 to work any more - how are they supposed to get job skills?

      Instead they're off dancing the waltz and exposing their ankles like they have no shame at all. This moral decay will be the end of society I tell you!

    • by Midnight_Falcon (2432802) on Thursday December 26, 2013 @10:29PM (#45792761)
      My anecdote on the other hand -- myself -- does.

      My parents claimed they encouraged me to be more social and go out more with my friends, just like yourself. Instead I spent time on IRC and MUDs.

      The original article actually sort of reads like the story of my own childhood. I grew up in NYC under Broken Windows/Giuliani, when policing and keeping kids safe began to become at its peak.

      My mom watched an awful lot of daytime TV and abduction dramas -- she was warning me about being abducted from stores when I was four years old, constantly, until I was around sixteen and it was ridiculous.

      Of course, my mother being fed all these stories from the media, was very "overprotective." This meant she tried to listen in on my phone calls, would regularly search my room (not for drugs or anything ..this started before I even knew what drugs were...for notes I had passed out in class and things she could find to get more information about who my friends were and what were we doing). When I was 16 I found she had many of my friends' phone numbers in the back of her phone book -- many of those friends were from outside of school and she had to have gone through my things to find the numbers.

      What happened here? Well, I became adept at cryptography and communicating privately -- and started working at an ISP around age 12. I also spent a lot of time at home because she would prevent me from going to any events with friends (concerts), sleeping over anyone's house, etc etc. Ostensibly, she said "get out of the house", but in reality her conditions were too restrictive to actually encourage it.

      Once I got to college, I became a complete social butterfly. I threw big parties all the time and was extremely social, and I continue to be quite a social person today. I have little social media presence.

      After college I used the computer skills I had gotten as a teenager to start my career, which I continue in.

      It's not a sad story and it has a fine ending, but it totally matches the article. It's almost eerie reading it myself.

      • by Midnight_Falcon (2432802) on Thursday December 26, 2013 @10:34PM (#45792789)
        Oh yeah, to add to this, we moved when I was in 6th grade within NYC. We moved from a neighborhood that had been built in the late 1800s to one that had been built in the 1970s. The new neighborhood, while much nicer, had few public spaces for kids to play -- just one park attached to a school that was frequently gated/closed. Kids could also bike for about an hour to get to another larger public park in an older neighborhood. Once they turned 16, quickly those who could afford it got cars and started hanging out literally driving around the neighborhood. I'm sure these same kids are doing that now on their smartphone or just sitting at home.
    • by epyT-R (613989) on Thursday December 26, 2013 @11:09PM (#45792945)

      I think it boils down to an extreme risk-aversion caused by a spike in artificial risk imposed by society on large percentages of interaction. This is done by people who have vested interests in either corralling behavior, or by people with axes to grind.

      1. Every time feminists get some new law passed that lowers the legal bar for girls to make accusations that stick, it increases the social and legal risks for boys and men who have little or no legal recourse for false accusations, both deliberate and those based on bad definitions. With those huge generalizations rattling inside their heads, girls are treating all boys as 'potential rapists.' This causes feral like behavior in both genders as their natural biological imperatives collide with these newspeak mantras. The smarter ones are abandoning the game altogether because they see the risks which leave the not so average ones to mate and reproduce. Playing video games is increasingly being seen as almost as fun and a lot safer, socially. Cheaper too.

      2. Schools' social dynamics are becoming more and more like prisons, with ever more extreme punishments for the tiniest missteps in following increasingly chaotic and nonsensical rules. A wrong word, or out of context statement overheard by the wrong person used to get the student a dressing down or 'demerit' slip. Now it lands the student in front of the school psychologist, who then comes up with some 'disease' to label him with, ruining his future opportunities.. The fact that schools are now reaching outside their domains and into the home is quite scary.

      3. Up through the 1990s, cruising around in cars was popular with teens until gas prices reached a point where few could afford to without parental gas allowance. There was a time in fact where a highschool teen could buy a shitbox car, fuel, and insure it, on the pittance earned at his part time job. This is not true anymore...or is becoming starkly less true as time goes on.

      4. The usual zomg, terrorists, zomg, pedophiles, zomg rapists, zomg drugs stuff hasn't gone away either. The only thing that has changed is the increasing ubiquity and homogeneity of its message. This reenforces its 'truthiness' and relative importance in people's minds.

      Obviously, this post overlaps what was said in the article. I agree with a lot of it. If anything, 'social' media is just the biggest convenient pothole for people to fall into when they see that taking IRL social risk has just become too risky.

  • therein lies the problem.
    • And also definition of 'socialisation'. When I was a late teen, I spent most of my time online chatting with friends on IM and IRC. It was my way of keeping in touch with friends after school, and wasn't limited by who could borrow the car or whether the mall was closed at midnight. We could chat about whatever it was we were interested in at the, whilst simultaneously play games or surfing the web or doing a dozen other things. I'm sure that facebook (for all its faults) is filling that same void for m
  • yes and no (Score:5, Informative)

    by fermion (181285) on Thursday December 26, 2013 @09:28PM (#45792431) Homepage Journal
    By the time I was a teenager in 80's, that is 13-19 years of age, the back by dark rule was being relaxed. I had homework to do so mostly I came home as school ended and did it and other things. I recall my older siblings doing the same, unless they had work, and spending endless hours on the phone talking to their friends. On non school nights and in the summer we would spend quite a bit of time out after dark.

    Here is what I see vis a vis the new constant communication paradigm. I see a lack of discipline. I see kids at school who need in constant communication with their parents. I see adults at work who need in constants communication with their lovers, thier spouse their kids, and whoever else will make them feel valuable as a person.

    This is a great change from the 80's when I talked to my parents maybe in the morning, definitely checked in by phone after school, than saw them whenever we both were home. I talked to my friends at school, where we made plans for whatever nefarious activities we might want. When I started college and later working, I certainly did not spend the whole day texting everyone. Honestly, at college I was normally around the people I wanted to be around, and a work I already generally knew what I needed to know for after work. I did not have to spend the day, as one ex-coworker of mine spend the day texting to try to come up with some activity for the evening.

    What I see here is pretty typical teenage logic, which is developmental appropriate, but hardly a major finding. If the lawgivers do not let me do what I want, I will find some way to circumvent it, and if it is bad it is their fault for making the law. In this case, i can't go wherever and whenever I want, so I will instead play with social media, and if it causes problems it is not my fault.

    Seriously though setting limits and fighting such logic is an important part of child rearing. There was a case in West Virginia where this girl was murdered by her two best friends, which was possible because she was allowed to sneak our of the house. There are cases of other children killing themselves over bullying because they cannot put down their phones and so are constantly receiving bullying texts. There is also cases where kids are getting really messed up sleep wise because they cannot put down their phones.

    There is really nothing special about this, and there is really nothing new. We always need to learn to live with technology, and parents need to help children learn to live with it. In some ways this is like TV where a new generation of parents really did not know how to balance the TV with the development of the child. It is certainly not the parents fault that it was a better choice to have a kid come home and watch tv instead of running unsupervised outside.

    • she was allowed to sneak our of the house

      Think about that one.

    • by dbIII (701233)

      I see adults at work who need in constants communication with their lovers, thier spouse their kids, and whoever else will make them feel valuable as a person.

      That's my new pet hate for when several people are waiting around for one person to finish the sixth non-work related phone call of the day when there is nothing resembling a domestic crisis going on.

    • Or just maybe, parents of today know the horrible crap they pulled/trouble they got into, and have a better vector on how to prevent such things that their parents didn't

      Also, the law comes down like a hammer compared to when I was a kid. Stole something? You got a mean talking to by a police officer and told "I don't want to see you again". Now you will end up in court. Get into a fight and break someones nose? Possibly sued and/or court. Today ISN'T the same for our children as it was for our generation.
      • > Also, the law comes down like a hammer compared to when I was a kid.
        > Stole something? You got a mean talking to by a police officer and
        > told "I don't want to see you again". Now you will end up in court. Get
        > into a fight and break someones nose? Possibly sued and/or court. Today
        > ISN'T the same for our children as it was for our generation. It is
        > reasonable to posit that the same upbringing isn't as appropriate

        How true. I'm retired. I grew up in the 60's. Kids would be out all day lo

    • Re:yes and no (Score:5, Interesting)

      by ColdWetDog (752185) on Thursday December 26, 2013 @11:48PM (#45793155) Homepage

      I see kids at school who need in constant communication with their parents. I see adults at work who need in constants communication with their lovers, thier spouse their kids, and whoever else will make them feel valuable as a person.

      I see this as a fairly recent sea change and I'm puzzled by it. We've had to shut down personal cell phone use on the hospital floor by nurses and CNAs because too many of them were spending literally hours talking to family. It became intrusive as they would stop what they were doing to talk to their kid - who they talked to an hour ago. And it's not just one or two people, it's a significant number of staff members.

      When you ask them about it, most of them get defensive and say that they really need to keep close track of family and friends 'in case something happens'. Well, major events don't happen very often and the issues that they seem to be arguing over are at the 'who gets to take out the garbage today' level. I guess it's because you CAN keep in molecular contact with people these days. Growing up with just phones (the ones that were physically attached to wall with a wire), we would go hours, perhaps even whole days without knowing were family members and friends were.

      I do think it's really an addiction - people get a neurochemical warm and fuzzy and since it's easy to obtain, do it often. Perhaps we should work on cell phones that shock people after a certain number of minutes or texts...

      • I'm on the receiving end of this. I need to be reachable due to work contracts (or my phone would be off a lot of the time) but since it's on, my wife calls me whenever she gets a change of pace (out of work, before a meeting, etc.) and gets upset if she can't reach me.

        I try to explain that when I was a kid, my friends' dads would leave at 5:30 to head to the city, might be able to be reachable by secretary, or might not, and would get home around 7PM. The husband and wife would review what needed to be t

      • What's really interesting about this phenomenon is that it isn't a generational thing. Like you, I think it involves a much deeper level of human psychology or even mental physiology. When I was growing up 50 some-odd years ago this sort of constant-on connection just wasn't possible and I rarely saw it practiced. Today, there are a sizable number of people--even in my generation or older--who seem to be addicted to this sort of constant contact. I see senior citizens in the grocery store calling their SO t

  • really? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by roc97007 (608802) on Thursday December 26, 2013 @09:28PM (#45792433) Journal

    So what about the situation where the parent is addicted to social media but the child is not? This isn't a rhetorical question.

    I dunno, I think the idea that parents being over-protective driving children online is one of those things that's easy to prove anecdotally, because there are so many overprotective parents to choose from, and as a substantial number of children could be said to be addicted to social media, there would be a significantly large intersect between the two groups. But I wonder if there's really any meaning there.

    I think it is true that society (not just parents) has made it more of a challenge for children to interact with each other. Geeze, the grade school playground is looking more and more like something out of A Wrinkle in Time. (...Camazotz... ...Read a book!...) I think a case could be made that there are a number of factors involved, including the observation that if it's news, it's rare by definition even if it's not, for profit reasons, presented as such, and this has given the vast unwashed public, who as a group has a less-than-college-level understanding of statistics, some wrong ideas. (Incidents of people being hit by falling pianos up 100%! Panic!)

    I continue to believe that this tendency, if it exists, merely gives my daughter much shorter lines to stand in as she journeys through life, as more and more of her competition is staring at a screen when they should be doing something important. So I don't worry about it overmuch.

  • Crime plummeted? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by AK Marc (707885) on Thursday December 26, 2013 @09:34PM (#45792469)
    Crime among teens didn't change relative to society as a whole, as far as the stats I found in a quick glance. What changed was the *perception* of crime.
  • by sribe (304414) on Thursday December 26, 2013 @09:38PM (#45792485)

    There are many of us of a certain age (50ish) who remember during summer vacations being told not to be at home until after dark. Seriously.

    • by PolygamousRanchKid (1290638) on Thursday December 26, 2013 @10:04PM (#45792613)

      There are many of us of a certain age (50ish) who remember during summer vacations being told not to be at home until after dark. Seriously.

      There are many of us of a certain age (50ish) who remember during summer vacations being told not to be at home until after summer vacation. Seriously.

    • by ebno-10db (1459097) on Thursday December 26, 2013 @10:07PM (#45792633)

      Even younger than that. My wife is fortyish and remembers it. It was common for parents to basically kick kids out of the house so they could have some time to themselves. Neither I nor anybody else I know resented it. It was basically "go out and play with your friends". Who knew we were all abused and neglected children?

      • by dbIII (701233)
        I seemed to have several years like that under canine supervison. So long as I took the dog my parents let me go out all day.
  • by nbauman (624611) on Thursday December 26, 2013 @09:38PM (#45792487) Homepage Journal

    This one has everything -- video monitoring the streets too. (Contrary to vendor claims, the video hasn't prevented crime.) This sounds like one of those 1950s movies where, the next thing you know, the teenagers will be playing rock and roll and dancing. Don't worry, they don't do this to white kids.

    http://www.dnainfo.com/new-york/20131115/crown-heights/police-want-cut-wi-fi-at-crown-heights-mcdonalds-prevent-crime [dnainfo.com]

    Police Want to Cut Wi-Fi at Crown Heights McDonald's to Prevent Crime
    By Sonja Sharp on November 15, 2013 8:38am
    DNAinfo

    CROWN HEIGHTS — Phone thefts and teen brawls have gotten so bad at a Crown Heights McDonald's that police asked the management to turn off the Wi-Fi as a way of scattering the after-school crowds, DNAinfo New York has learned.

    “We asked them to kill the Wi-Fi there from 2 p.m. to 6 p.m. so it doesn’t become a hangout," Capt. Eddie Lott, commanding officer of the 77th Precinct, said of the McDonald's at Utica Avenue and Eastern Parkway. "That McDonald's is a big hangout for young people."

    Lott said he had reached an agreement with the managers of the McDonald's to cut the Wi-Fi in the afternoons, but it was still going strong this week — and McDonald's corporate office said the company had not agreed to anything yet.

    "As good corporate citizens, we are working with the police to ensure the safety of our customers," the company said in a statement, adding that that McDonald's has hired additional security.

    "The police have presented many solutions, one of which includes turning off the Wi-Fi."

    The 77th Precinct has seen a 19 percent jump in robberies so far this year compared to the previous year, coupled with a 10 percent increase in felony assaults, NYPD statistics show. Grand larcenies, which police said include many phone thefts, have spiked by nearly 30 percent.

    The precinct did not release separate crime statistics for Utica Avenue and Eastern Parkway.

    While the intersection is far from the only problem spot in the neighborhood, police in both the 77th and the 71st precincts have repeatedly called it one of the most troubling. Earlier this fall, Lott put an NYPD SkyWatch tower at the intersection, videotaping 360 degrees 24 hours a day as both a deterrent and a way of catching suspects after crimes occur.

    "That’s why we have the SkyWatch there — we want to prevent those things from happening," Lott told residents in September when asked about the large group fights that routinely break out on the corner, particularly on Fridays.

    "Hopefully we can abate that and it won’t become the problem that it was the end of last school year."

    Teens, too, say the fights and thefts there have become routine.

    "It's very violent — people get chased, jumped, beat up," said Melissa, 16, a student at nearby Clara Barton High School.

    "It'll be three girls, five boys, and then their friends jump in. A lot of people get their phones stolen here. People from other schools, if they see someone with a phone, they'll take it."

    But while it may curb crime, regular customers like Devonte, 16, said they would be unhappy about losing wireless access in the McDonald's.

    "The library's closed a lot, so I can't go there," Devonte said. "The Wi-Fi brings me here mostly.... It'd be kind of upsetting if they turned it off."

    FamousandRich
    a month ago
    Why don't the geniuses at NYPD just put a pair of cops on post at the location or is that just too easy for these idiots to figure out?

    • This sounds like a perfect use case for The Mosquito [wikipedia.org] anti-loitering device. To summarize for those who aren't familiar, the basic idea here is to discourage loitering of young people by playing a loud and obnoxious tone continually or in bursts at around 17.4 Khz, which while audible to most persons 25 years of age or younger, is much less audible or completely inaudible to older adults. This takes advantage of the fact that hearing, especially at the high pitched edge of the audible range, tends to decli
      • Oh yes, mechanical child abuse, what a good idea.

        We have those abominations here and let me tell you, being over 25 or even over 35 is no guarantee you won't hear them.

        Ban the mosquitoes, not the kids.

        • We have those abominations here and let me tell you, being over 25 or even over 35 is no guarantee you won't hear them.

          You're free to take your business elsewhere. I believe that's why they call it a free market economy.

          Ban the mosquitoes, not the kids.

          It's called private property and the police cannot seem to be bothered with "low priority" calls these days. Indeed, their priority on a loitering complaint, short of rioting and looting, is generally somewhere between barely interested and not their problem. What's a business owner to do about unruly packs of young people driving away paying customers when banning them from the premises is either not practi

      • by nbauman (624611)

        You may have noticed that persons under 25 are the main customers of that branch of McDonald's.

        Outside McDonald's, it's a public street. It would probably be a violation of the noise laws to play deliberately annoying sounds.

        • You may have noticed that persons under 25 are the main customers of that branch of McDonald's.

          Perhaps, but I wonder how much they're really spending. For example, here in the United States the Six Flags corporation, which operates themed parks around the country, used to market heavily to teenagers until they realized three things. First, unruly teenagers scare away families and especially families with young children. Second, they tend to break things. Third and finally, they don't spend as much as you might think. In response to these realizations, they reduced the marketing to teenagers, kicked o

          • by nbauman (624611)

            You may have noticed that persons under 25 are the main customers of that branch of McDonald's.

            Perhaps, but I wonder how much they're really spending. For example, here in the United States the Six Flags corporation, which operates themed parks around the country, used to market heavily to teenagers until they realized three things. First, unruly teenagers scare away families and especially families with young children. Second, they tend to break things. Third and finally, they don't spend as much as you might think. In response to these realizations, they reduced the marketing to teenagers, kicked out the troublemakers and their profits improved. Coincidence? I think not.

            Was that before or after they went bankrupt?

            • After. The bankruptcy was a Chapter 11 reorganization, so the new shareholders were motivated both to prevent a repeat performance and increase the value of their equity going forward. I think that after looking at the stock performance since the reorganization, you'll agree that the effort was largely successful. In fact, a chapter 11 bankruptcy often provides a good opportunity to pick up a quality reorganized company at an attractive price, especially when the underlying business is still good in princip
    • Why don't the geniuses at NYPD just put a pair of cops on post at the location or is that just too easy for these idiots to figure out?

      Because they'd get their cell phones stolen. Jeez. Didn't you read the article you posted? It's dangerous out there.

  • Media Distortion (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday December 26, 2013 @09:38PM (#45792489)

    The media distortion described is absolutely true. In the 24 hour cable news cycle, every kidnapping, abuse, or (dare I say) mass shooting is plastered across multiple networks for a couple days. People get the gut feeling that frequency of occurrence is high, because our brains are wired to treat news as local. If a cave man saw someone killed, he actually saw it. We are really bad at making the distinction that back in 1800 there were about a billion people, and now there are about 6x that, and back in 1800 if something didn't happen in your particular town you were unlikely to hear about it. So if in 1800 there was one kidnapping and teen murder every 20 years in your small town, it means today in a country of 300M you are going to be having them nearly constantly.

    OBTW, this is the same logic that produces kooky behavior to protect from mass killings. Yea, mass shootings are real, but the odds of your kid getting involved in one are about the same as winning the lottery, being eaten by a shark or hit by lightning. Not high enough to really worry about or change school policy, but we do anyway "just in case". The odds are way higher that your kid will get hit by a car or come down with cancer.

    • Re:Media Distortion (Score:5, Interesting)

      by ebno-10db (1459097) on Thursday December 26, 2013 @10:23PM (#45792709)

      And people eat it up. My 10 y.o. daughter isn't allowed to walk home from school, which is two blocks away. She hates it because the bus takes 40 minutes instead of 5. We live in a low crime area, and we've asked if we have to sign a permission form or something to allow her to walk home. Nope, can't do it. District policy. Child must either take the bus or be picked up by a parent.

      It's nuts. I, and everyone else who lived too close for a bus, was expected to walk to and from school by ourselves when we were in kindergarten. There were crossing guards for major streets. People say "the world isn't like when we were kids". They're right - it's safer! (that does depend somewhat on your age, but things have been getting safer for years).

      I tell my daughter to walk to school. She complains it's cold. I ask "did we forget to buy you a warm coat? Hat, gloves?". Nope, all is in order. "So get out and walk!". I feel a little weird because my neighbors drive their kids to the same school (seriously) or walk with them. I wonder when Child Protective Services is going to pay me a visit.

      • Nope, can't do it. District policy. Child must either take the bus or be picked up by a parent.

        Tell the school to kiss your ass. They don't have the power to say how your kid gets to school or how they get home. They will certainly try to pretend that they do and will make a bunch of noise. But that's about all they can do.

        • They don't have the power to say how your kid gets to school

          No, they don't. She walks.

          or how they get home

          If she tries to walk home she'll get in trouble. My wife and I can scream and fight. Hell, we could get a lawyer (people sometimes have to do that when it's a serious issue). Could we fight city hall? Yes. Is it worth it for this one minor stupidity? No. It'll make her life more difficult. At least next year she gets to walk home.

      • by Nivag064 (904744)

        About 55 years ago in England, I walked to and from school when I was 5 years old - even if it rained.

        I now live in New Zealand, all my children walked to & from school. My youngest is now 16, he walks to & from school, takes him under 20 minutes. He has a lot more freedom to stay back to do things at school, or to get there early for meetings. It must be very stressful & time consuming when a parent has to drive children to & from school - and very limiting when children have to rely on

    • by Shavano (2541114)

      OBTW, this is the same logic that produces kooky behavior to protect from mass killings. Yea, mass shootings are real, but the odds of your kid getting involved in one are about the same as winning the lottery, being eaten by a shark or hit by lightning. Not high enough to really worry about or change school policy, but we do anyway "just in case". The odds are way higher that your kid will get hit by a car or come down with cancer.

      Nonsense on the cancer. Gun violence kills twice as many kids than cancer. But most of it doesn't occur in schools or in any mass incidents.

      To put some other things in perspective
      * It is almost 2 times more likely that your kid will shoot himself than that somebody else will shoot him.
      * If he's murdered, it will most likely be by someone he knows.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday December 26, 2013 @09:40PM (#45792501)

    "But for the sake of argument, let’s agree that we have a crisis."

    Hysterical!

  • by MacTO (1161105) on Thursday December 26, 2013 @09:54PM (#45792563)

    I work around plenty of teens and young adults who persistently access social media, simply because it is more interesting to them than the world around them.

    These teens are by no means locked out of the real world by over zealous parents. These teens are active in their schools and in many cases their community.

    While I can't speak for teens as a general population, the ones that I am exposed to are "addicted" to social media for reasons other than just their parents. (Parents may have some responsibility for not setting guidelines on social media use, but it isn't because they locked their kids away.)

    • When I was a kid, my sisters would talk on the phone with their friends. My parents would occasionally yell at them to get off the damn phone.

      I see it as a variation of the same thing as when I was a kid. The only difference is that in my day, you had one communication line into the house and parents made sure that the line was kept relatively open because if someone was on the phone, a person trying to call in would get a busy signal. Nowadays, you don't have the bandwidth limitations into the house tha

  • by hey! (33014) on Thursday December 26, 2013 @09:57PM (#45792581) Homepage Journal

    Find someone to blame, then make sure they get *all* the blame.

  • You'd think this article was posted just so I could share this link...

    http://www.theonion.com/video/braindead-teen-only-capable-of-rolling-eyes-and-te,27225/ [theonion.com]

  • Teens aren't addicted to social media. They're addicted to each other," Boyd says. "They're not allowed to hang out the way you and I did, so they've moved it online."

    What a load of horse shit. Has this woman got eyes?

    Of course teens are allowed to hang out. I live in a medium sized town and Main Street is full of teenagers wondering about in groups... and playing with their smart phones at the same time. They play with them in the cinema too (fuckers), instead of watching the movie (which they went

    • by TheloniousToady (3343045) on Thursday December 26, 2013 @11:56PM (#45793223)

      You're right, social media are addictive. So it's time to log out of Slashdot and get back to spending time with your family and friends during the current Christmas-to-New-Year holiday season.

      And, yes, I'll do the same. Honest, I will. I can stop any time. Really, I can.

  • Congregating Alone? How's that done?
  • While I don't disagree that things have changed since I was a kid, let's not ignore what social media is: a non-stop popularity contest. Who has the most "friends", who says the most outrageous things, who shows most skin.

    Everyone wants to be the most popular. When I was growing up, the popularity contest was limited to hanging out after school, going out, parties. With social media it's constant. Kids nowadays can contest for popularity every waking moment of their day. If the internet and smart phones e
  • by erroneus (253617) on Friday December 27, 2013 @12:16AM (#45793359) Homepage

    First of all, as a formerly "awkward teen" and presently mostly well adjusted adult (what geek on here can claim otherwise?) I can say that socializing isn't as natural for some as it is for others. So a potential contributing factor is likely attributable to the epidemic proportions in the rate of ASD. (Among children now worse than 1:30!) If you want to point to social disorders, there's an obvious problem that doesn't require technology as a scapegoat.

    Next, there's the "everyone's doing it and if you don't let your children participate, you are HARMING their social interaction, not helping it" problem. That's right. I just said that if parents didn't allow their children to text and facebook, they would become awkward among their participatory peers. So while there are clear signs of dependency and even addiction, it is also the new media by which kids interact. And we can say the same thing for smoking cigarettes and marijuana as well. Social and peer factors are huge in teenage years. If parents taught their children to love and respect them, then their input and advice would be valued. So yes, there is a factor of parental blame to be spread around... but you might have to trace that back one or two more generations back before you find the source.

    And if you want to place blame on technology, let's talk to the people who CREATE and MARKET the technology. They are aiming these markets directly at children. It's just as outrageous as cigarette companies marketing their product to children isn't it? Eventually, it was curtailed. Then again, Disney markets sex to kids and no one has managed to say much or stop them. Perhaps it's just not as obvious. But the fact remains, for the areas we're talking about, it's pretty clear and obvious the means and methods involved are specifically marketed to the demographic under discussion. Aren't they to blame for exploiting this market of children?

    I'm not defending parents who buy their preteens frikken expensive phones and ipads and the like. I personally feel like it's outrageous. I didn't do it and I'm not going to do it. But I'm not going to tell parents they shouldn't do that as I'm sure there are things they could assert I'm doing wrong in their view as well. (I'm also pretty sure they wouldn't listen to the likes of me anyway.) So not going ot cast stones. I will, instead, try to lead by example as much as possible,

    So I guess part of the topic is the question of whether parents today are raising their kids wrong. I have to say, "unquestionably." But this problem started when most of us were kids and slightly before then. Anyone recall referring to the TV as "the babysitter"? Anyone who recalls hearing this probably knows exactly what I'm driving at. But the problem is increased exponentially as those children are now parents and if they didn't grow up with good parents, then how on earth are they expected to know how to raise children?! Am I wrong in observing that we have a generation of immature parents (not 'young' parents, but childish parents) trying to raise children without a clue as to how to do it?

    We have 2-3 generations of consumerist, debt-financing people acting like zombies all over the US and we're only NOW talking about what's wrong with kids? And we have the audacity to blame parents who were mostly raised by deficient parents? I say mostly, because a small handful of us actually did have some level of parenting and grandparenting in our lives and managed to absorb their wisdom and all that. And I did say grandparenting. What do we do with grandparents these days? Put'm in a home right? Not in my family. But what do I know -- I'm an outlier. None of my grandparents ever spent a day in a retirement home or community or any such facility. My mother, for example, acquired some land and set up two homes on it where one was inhabited by my grandmother. Imagine that? How could that have happened?

    Here's a clue-stick for anyone here who doesn't understand how it REALLY works.

  • "In the dirt? Ew."
  • The streets used to be common areas where young and old people met, spoke out, argued, or just passed one another saying "good morning".

    Now they're dominated by cars.

  • by Animats (122034) on Friday December 27, 2013 @01:41AM (#45793763) Homepage

    There are fewer places to hang out. Record stores and video rental stores are gone. Indoor malls are on the way out. Fast food places discourage hanging out. Starbucks are popular places to hang out, but just can't handle many people. Few nightclubs allow teens. Where to go?

    I'm in Silicon Valley, and I get to see a few views of this. Downtown Redwood City (a mostly lower middle class town), sort of by accident, ended up being a teen hangout zone. Years of attempts to "revitalize downtown" actually worked. A 20-screen theater, a lot of cheap restaurants (pizza, yogurt, burgers, etc.) and a refurbished live theater, often used by cover bands, finally brought people downtown. There's also a big plaza in front of the former courthouse, where free movies or bands are shown on warm nights. It took years to get going, there were empty storefronts for years, and it seemed to be a boondoggle project, but now it's happening. But it was never intended to enrich the lives of teenagers. It was intended to enrich retailers and property owners.

    There's another side to this. Being a teenager in a high-achieving area like Silicon Valley means being run ragged with school, homework, and semi-mandatory activities needed to build up the resume to get into a good college. As a horse owner, I see a lot of kids like that, and many are just overworked. I once asked a group of girls at the Stanford barn who were discussing grades what they considered an acceptable GPA. One answered, in a bleak voice, "4.5." These are kids who will be considered a failure if they don't get into a school at the Stanford/Harvard/Yale level. Those kids are on a treadmill from their first day of preschool.

    As an amusing note, one thing horse kids have going for them is good situational awareness. They're used to being aware of what's going on around them, because that's required on or around horses. (Riding in a busy ring with different people and horses doing different things without getting in each others way is a basic skill.) They all have smartphones, but aren't glued to them.

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