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Do you believe the children are our future?

Whitney did.

I kind of feel like maybe she's right and we should teach them well and let them lead the way. Show them all the beauty they possess inside. Give them a sense of pride. To make it easier.

Parenting is hard. Being a young person- not just a child but anyone coming of age in this digital/ virtual world- is hard. It's a huge shift. We/you guys take in so much more news, "content" , other people's opinions and rants and outfits and "hauls" (do you know what that is? ugh) . Sure, it's interesting. Being a voyeur is interesting. But it's also overwhelming. You can react to the online onslaught but you likely won't really be heard. You can be ignored or hidden. And of course you will be, on social media, if you dissent.

Yeah, yeah but it's just social media, we Gen X'ers have been thinking. It's just this dumb recreational relaxing pastime like we had with magazines and TV shows.

No, you guys.

It's their whole world.

And it makes them feel like nothing they do matters.

I don't know how exactly but we need to get them away from it. Get more realistic about how young minds take it in. And get them more opportunities to socialize and learn in the real-time real world where they listen to and encounter resistance and also act upon each other. And learn to concentrate in quiet, working towards and accomplishing large goals by themselves. A sense of mastery (I am familiar with the feeling of things being hard, and I work through them and they get a little easier) will help them. Without this, they become helpless. So easily defeated.

I recently read Jonathan Haidt's very insightful and thorough End the Phone Based Childhood Now .

I'd love to hear your thoughts on it. I think you should give The Atlantic and other thoughtful publications a little money, but if you can't, there is a free 30-day trial you can get to read this and then cancel.

But I'll tell you the Cliffs Notes: constant access to social media perpetuates insecurities, already growing like weeds in unformed brains; it's horribly disempowering. It's a whole other style of interacting and it gets in the way of growth.

It makes relationships more disposable.

This generation, Haidt warns

"is largely cut off from older generations and, to some extent, from the accumulated wisdom of humankind, including knowledge about how to live a flourishing life. Adolescents spend less time steeped in their local or national culture. They are coming of age in a confusing, placeless, ahistorical maelstrom of 30-second stories curated by algorithms designed to mesmerize them. Without solid knowledge of the past and the filtering of good ideas from bad––a process that plays out over many generations––young people will be more prone to believe whatever terrible ideas become popular around them."

This isn't fair to them.

We don't leave toddlers with sewing scissors and matches and sippy cups of vodka and tell them to consume it with some perspective, right? And we shouldn't expect pre-adolescents to deftly handle this highly influential material either.

But like I tell clients who are working on habit change, we can't just NOT DO something. Kids are curious and energetic and expressive. We need to give them places to socialize and play together. Don't hover so much. Normalize spaces where phones (like cigarettes) aren't allowed. They won't know what to do at first, but if there's some music, a muddy stream or bikes or even some Manic Panic nearby, they'll probably figure it out. Together.

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