Friday, April 27, 2012

A Must Read: The Flight from Conversation

Photographs by Peter DaSilva and
Byron Smith, for The New York Times
Please read The Flight From Conversation, an article in the New York Times by Sherry Turkle, psychologist and professor at MIT. Turkle observes that although people are substituting frequent, but brief, online conversations for meaningful face-to-face conversations, with the overall end result of feeling more lonely, and disconnected, than ever.

An excerpt from the article related to parenting and children:
We think constant connection will make us feel less lonely. The opposite is true. If we are unable to be alone, we are far more likely to be lonely. If we don’t teach our children to be alone, they will know only how to be lonely.
I am a partisan for conversation. To make room for it, I see some first, deliberate steps. At home, we can create sacred spaces: the kitchen, the dining room. We can make our cars “device-free zones.” We can demonstrate the value of conversation to our children.
My home certainly doesn't have "device-free zones." I blog about this article from my laptop in the dining room. My kids are on the couch in the living room watching TV. My husband is next to them, doing work on his laptop. We are physically near each other, but not connected. Of course, this is not the norm. Or is it? I'm not sure.

This article gets to the heart of my concerns about our digital lives affecting the well-being of our marriages, families, or other relationships. A summary on my part wouldn't do it justice. The piece should be read in full. And reread. We should all contemplate how we want to purposefully model and manage our digital lives for the sake of our own selves and for our children.

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