How smartphones kill joy

Photo credit:New York Post

Comedian Louis CK is gaining a lot of attention after a recent appearance on Conan, specifically around the problems that can result from giving kids smartphones. Writer Naomi Schaefer Riley reflects on how Louis CK shared his opinion that giving children smartphones may not be the best idea, since smartphones can keep kids from learning empathy and what it truly means to be kind to others.

The comedian explained that when a child is bullied in person, the bully can see that they have caused someone pain, and they know that they wouldn’t want to be treated that way themselves. Yet, sending a simple text or posting something mean on social media doesn’t have that same effect, since there is no personal interaction, and the bullies don’t get to actually see the impact their bullying has on their victims.

Also, many times we miss out on life’s precious moments because we are too busy trying to tell the world about that moment rather than genuinely experiencing it. Are we afraid to just be alone sometimes, without a smartphone constantly keeping us connected?

Christine Rosen, a technology writer for the New Atlantis, interprets Louis CK’s message as, “If we all exist in a state of perpetual distraction, we’ll never learn how to be alone.” While Rosen is not against technology, she comments on the comedian’s remarks: “He was pointing to an important dilemma of modern life: How can we expect our children to learn how to interact with others if they (and we) regularly give our smartphones more attention than we give the people right in front of us?”

Wendy Mogel, a clinical psychologist and author of “The Blessing of a Skinned Knee,” believes that we may actually be dwindling our ability to truly feel emotions when we are so distracted all the time. Mogel knows that kids will always ask their parents for the latest smartphones, but she reminds parents that they are in control of the technology they allow their children to use.

New York Post, 9/26/13

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