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Can we come up with a way to protect children from tech addiction?

Image credit: Kelly Sikkema / unsplash.com

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Darko Savic
Darko Savic Aug 25, 2020
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Necessity

Is the problem still unsolved?

Conciseness

Is it concisely described?

Can we come up with ways to effectively protect all children from addiction to tech? Not just children in your family. I mean the next generation of humans, worldwide. Those who are now too young to understand the consequences.

Most of us had childhoods without computers. We played outside with our friends. This is not the case for new generations. They often go through their early years glued to computer screens.

People intuitively protect ALL children from cigarettes, alcohol, drugs, violence. However, we don't necessarily perceive children's addiction (or our own for that matter) to apps/tech as a threat to their healthy development. Even parents who do feel their child's tech addiction might be getting out of hand, often give in and let it continue for the sake of buying themselves some quiet time or making the child happy by giving them what they've been demanding all day.

How do we effectively fix this? How do we protect the children whose parents don't perceive tech addiction as very bad?
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Creative contributions

Printed magazines and DIY kits

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Shubhankar Kulkarni
Shubhankar Kulkarni Aug 25, 2020
About 4 years ago, my colleagues and I thought of the very same thing. We had one other problem to solve - bridging the gap between science in the research labs and science in the school textbooks. There seems to be a huge gap between the two. We, therefore, came up with a printed science magazine for school kids. Since all of us were in the midst of our PhDs and could not dedicate a lot of time to the magazine, we started it as a quarterly magazine (4 magazines per year). We deliberately created content that described the latest scientific breakthroughs in the world. We had sections on the kind of work we do in our labs, the instruments we use, and how they work. We also explained researches that led to the Nobel Prize in simple language. The articles were written by our colleagues from different disciplines of science. The highlight was a do-it-yourself section of the magazine. It included simple but attractive experiments you can perform at home or in your backyard. Whenever possible, we provided the paper cut-outs, stickers, information cards, etc. along with the magazine. The response was great. Parents thanked us because their kids spent time away from the screens.
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Darko Savic
Darko Savica year ago
That's an amazing project/idea. It got me thinking:) I wish the public education system worldwide organized and ran such projects. Students could write for high schoolers, those would write for primary schoolers, those would write for kindergarteners. The goal would be to bring the younger generations up to date on the most interesting aspects of what older generations are currently interested in. With only a few years gap between the generations, each would be able to capture the target audience's interest/attention very well.
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Darko Savic
Darko Savica year ago
This might be a project idea worthy of sharing on the platform
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Shubhankar Kulkarni
Shubhankar Kulkarnia year ago
Yes, please do share! It will also solve the problem of what kind of knowledge and experience companies and job providers expect from you.
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Here are some things that may help…

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Jamila
Jamila Aug 25, 2020
•Change the display screen to grayscale. The colourful wallpapers and apps on our phones set off the brain’s reward system to make you feel good. You should be able to change the display screen colours by going into the accessibility section of your phone settings. •Download apps that limit your screen time. Nowadays people can be glued to phone and computer screens 24/7, because of this big issue; many developers have created apps that can limit your screen time. Whenever you click on a certain app it will block your access to it! Voila! These apps can be easily found in the app store, play store, etc. •Spend time doing other activities. Technology has become the main form of entertainment for kids and even adults. We should try to promote activities which don’t include technology. This can be done by taking up new hobbies like painting, playing board games, exercising, reading a book, etc. •Be a great example. If your kids see you on your phone or laptop all the time, you will be setting an example right in front of them. Try to set an example for them by limiting your own screen time and by being more involved with them. :)
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Aohona Dattaa year ago
Interestingly, the last point urges me to focus on my status of tech addiction! If I have to limit screen time in order to prevent my child from picking up the habit, then am I not addicted myself? If that is the case, then, are we even aware of our addiction?
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Shubhankar Kulkarni
Shubhankar Kulkarnia year ago
This can be a separate brainstorming session.
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Jamila
Jamila a year ago
very very true! I guess we don't realise how much we depend on our tech!
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Dress code – 90’s

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Povilas S
Povilas S Aug 27, 2020
Promote absence of digital technology and do it not by bans and prohibition, but by emphasizing what’s cool about not using it. It’s not just about kids, it’s about everyone. Let’s face it – artificial reality is already here and we are living in it every day for many hours. The use of computers and especially smartphones is so extensive now, that restraining from their use for a longer time would feel like living in a different reality, and it would actually be that, because many hours per day staring into a screen and interacting virtually with people, using services there, relying on maps to guide your way and working there equals living in a digital space, where are no real, tangible things. When you take yourself out of the virtuality of the screen you get more real touch with your surroundings, you see material things, you interact with humans directly, we are exponentially loosing this experience. Leaving your phone at home is already like going back in time at least for a decade. My friend was telling me the other day how interesting it was for him to go to a recent exhibition of 90’s technology and household gears, even though we both actually lived in that decade as kids and it wasn’t so very long ago, a lot has changed and we actually live in a very different world now. Imagine how interesting it would be to relive it in an actual environment for a short (or maybe not so short?) period of time. Having a party in a 90’s home with your friends, finding what to do without using smartphones and even pc: watching an old movie through a non-flat screen TV, listening to vinyls (ok, there were CDs already, but vinyls are cooler), playing board games, singing songs around campfire.. It actually seems like a good business idea to prepare those kind of low technology spaces for people to spend time in, like “rent an 80’s homestead near the lake and leave your smartphone at home”. It could be a place without any modern technology at all, it could be a place with technology evolved till certain point (I feel that TV is a borderline, it’s a start of virtual reality) or the whole environment could be matched stylistically with a particular decade: technology, architecture, furniture, clothes, etc. Even promoting a no smartphone day would be a good start, I thought that kind of day already exists, but my own efforts to find information on something like that were unsuccessful. Maybe someone has heard about it? Otherwise would be a good initiative to start it. I think it’s not an overstatement to say that people also don’t get actually together that much because of technology either, or if they do, they are partly in it, soon virtual parties might get more popular, you can already join those with a VR headset and meet people all around the world. If there’s no smartphone in your pocket to soak your attention, it’s a totally different feel of the party, you are actually present, those parties in 90’s, 80’s, 70’s and beyond were more real in that sense, there was no artificial reality to be in.. It’s one of the reasons why vinyls stay in fashion and sometimes their sales exceed sales of digital records (https://www.theguardian.com/music/2016/dec/06/tables-turned-as-vinyl-records-outsell-digital-in-uk-for-first-time; https://www.digitalmusicnews.com/2019/09/08/vinyl-overtake-cd-sales/), it’s one of the reasons why people like old cars and just in general - old stuff, old movies, etc. – it gives you a taste of different reality, which is more material, more tangible and in that sense - more real. Why do you think Stranger Things creators chose that particular decade to be pictured even though the plot is very futuristic? It gives you that feel.. I think most of us, at least those who got the taste of it in the childhood are already longing for it. I certainly do. What about you?
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Darko Savic
Darko Savica year ago
Simplified, your suggestion is to live a "themed" lifestyle - and pick a theme that doesn't involve addictive tech. Amish take this concept to the extreme. The 90's theme is the closest to our modern way of living while missing the addictive tech component. I would argue that TV is the first addictive tech (even the 80's tv). Before that it was books:)
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Povilas S
Povilas Sa year ago
Yes and also important thing is that virtual reality is interesting, because it's something new, a new experience, but if you lived like a month without at least your smartphone it would also be a new experience, already forgotten, which is also interesting, just requires some guts to do it. About TV - yes of course there were always some alternatives - books, radio, etc., but the difference with TV, as I see it, is that your sight is already trapped in a different place than your physical surroundings, before it the only thing to do that was your imagination.
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No-screen Sundays

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Darko Savic
Darko Savic Aug 31, 2020
This idea got me thinking https://brainstorming.com/r/i20 As a start, there could be a no-screen Sunday where parents make it a point to explain to their children that on Sundays there are no screens allowed for anyone in the family (not even the parents), all devices are turned off and stowed away until Monday morning. To make it a good, rememberable experience the family should then have maximum fun (seemingly because of it) to illustrate the positive side of real human-to-human interactions
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salemandreus
salemandreus2 months ago
I like this, for those who traditionally treat Sunday as a rest day, although I would make it until say 4PM or 5PM (which conveniently allows for kids to be undistracted during Sunday lunch or while visiting relatives, if Sunday for example is also sometimes considered a family day), mainly because Sunday evenings are generally when many people suddenly remember things they forgot or have to plan for school/work tomorrow. 😉 So this way you could get in family time/rest time/downtime without the stress the night before that there is something you've forgotten and having to wait till Monday to double-triple-check your organisational system that you haven't forgotten anything and can get a good night's rest. It also helps with being prepared for the next day in general, if there is new breaking news on Covid regulations or you have to change lift arrangements for work due to someone getting sick, etc. To me this takes care of the main distractibility hurdle, fulfilling basically the 80/20 rule, while still not hampering necessary productivity for kids or parents in what would be time that inevitably goes towards preparation for the next day.

Obviously it would be ideal for many of us working regular work hours to wherever possible be as prepared as possible BEFORE sunday, and this middle-ground would in fact incentivise this, but with the ever-changing news of modern society and the importance of adaptability to new constraints and arrangements (even weather predictions and having to shift to remote work due to Covid or lift rescheduling due to someone getting sick), having SOME screen time for those of us using digital systems, can alleviate the challenges and stress and allow one to enjoy the rest of one's downtime, and also teach us to compartmentalize work and downtime while setting our minds at ease that we WILL be able to prepare for the next day, and thus have the prospect of unknowns when work commences on Monday be less stress-inducing.

It takes off extraneous pressure if Sunday allows SOME grace for flexibility, - which for many of us makes the goal more realistically achievable rather than overwhelming- but not enough grace to incentivise procrastination of projects from the moment Friday afternoon hits until Sunday (since for example many shops close early on Sunday afternoons so large school projects would have to be prepared for way in advance), kids (and adults like me 😉 ) while being able to check on any changed plans or updated work requirements would still have sufficient pressure to learn to plan to get everything possible done EARLY and to properly finish our work BEFORE the weekend and not come to rely on Sunday as a miserable catch-up day and can instead prioritise it as the restful, reflective or family-bonding day we deserve! 😁 Ideally we would become so good at planning we would barely have any need or inclination to check our phones by Sunday evening, or might just opt out of it entirely, but having that small windowed fallback can go a long way to helping us to actually relax during our downtime without constantly worrying about what we will only find out/remember tomorrow.

Given how kids are trained to see homework (and by extension learning to see overtime work) as a normal part of life, this Sunday plan would be a great lesson in establishing boundaries, not only between oneself and the demands of tech availability and needs to "check in", but also learning to actively distance oneself from work and other demands when it is necessary, to ground ourselves, clear our minds, evaluate what is important to us and to make self-care and mental health management a routine and a mindful responsibility rather than a last resort leading to potential mental breakdowns.

This adds a healthy "pressure" to actually plan our lives around taking a weekly break, or frequent breaks - which is even more important to do consciously now with remote working ever-blurring the boundaries between work and "free" time at home.
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Povilas S
Povilas Sa year ago
I think the more into a game/interesting task you'd turn this (especially for kids, but for everyone), the easier and more natural it will go, otherwise resistance will build up if you simply force it on. So it should be well thought before, how to make it into an interesting thing. Like for example to present a task beforehand, that everyone should come up with ideas what fun could they do without screens, what to play together, where to go, etc. The older generation could show pictures and tell stories of what they used to do when there were no such technology available and that it will be like a leap back in time, etc. In fact the older ones could be the guides in activities (at least at first), cause they have experienced life without screens. Old stuff could be brought from basements and attics to catalyze the interest.
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Darko Savic
Darko Savica year ago
I'm trying this out for the next 3 Sundays to see how it goes:)
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Reward system: nurturing by entertaining

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Antonio Carusillo
Antonio Carusillo Aug 31, 2020
Children are fragile and in particular during their young ages they can be very sensible to our actions and or behaviors. So, if we assume that at certain point - very likely it was parents´ fault - they developed the habit to spend most of their time in front of a screen (laptop, cell phone or tablet) and now we want to suddenly take this out, they will perceive it like an injustice. Such thing may stay, may tell them “adults” or - even worst - parents are unfair. They are “big” and they can do whatever they like just cause they can. So what if we take one of the previous suggestions from Mohammad Shazaib and Jamila Ahmed and we combine it? We may think about an option called “ Tasks to Unlock”. The principle is simple: we need it to be a game and the price is the possibility to use the cell phone. Of course we can not just take away the phone, but let´s say we set up a timer of 2 hours. The child has 2 hours that will start ticking as he/she uses certain app: games, social networks. The 2 hours are done. The apps can not longer be used. What now? We take advantage of the accelerometer system ( for example ) and the child has to “exercise” a certain amount of time to clock back the timer to 2 hours. If he exercises for 5 minutes, then he has 5 minutes on the phone to play or so. If he exercises 1 hours, then he can now have 1 hour of time to play around with the phone. This may be also achieved by performing other tasks: reading ( some ebook apps like iOS keeps track on how much time you are reading ), homework ( you may have an app that requires you to do a quick multiple choice test to confirm that you got the lesson, each correct answers gives you a certain amount of time to use your phone to play ). This way you are: - reducing the time they are spending on the screen - motivate them to do some cardio and/or studying/ reading and this is set in a “game-like” fashion when they earn a price/rearwards. There is no injustice, no unfairness. This is the way the cellphone works: 2 hours, if you want more than you need to do some thing about this. This may also have the positive outcome to help them understanding also time-management. All of this, without giving up on the fun part. What do you think?
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Jamila
Jamila a year ago
That's a pretty good way to go about it. You're giving them a limit to how much screen time they get, but you are also promoting non-tech stuff by making them work for their screen time. This way they can see what sort of non-tech options are available and they might even like them more :)
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Darko Savic
Darko Savica year ago
This could potentially also backfire. On the one side, it teaches the child to invest effort/work into things that matter - which is good. On the other side, it increases the value perception for screen-gadgets. What will happen in situations when the child gets the power to decide? They will likely indulge in everything they were deprived of. A good solution would have to include repetitive teaching on why addictions are bad and how exactly they backfire on a person, how we can be mindful of them, etc.
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Antonio Carusillo
Antonio Carusilloa year ago
I definitely see your point. My hope, with this method, is that - given enough time - the child by experiencing the “life beyond the screen” will actually start valuing more the other activities than the screen and start seeing cell-phone/table or other techs as a “break time” or a way to improve the other activities ( staying connecting with friends, learn new skills to apply to the “real world” like playing an instrument or just reading for fun). So at this point, the next question is: if you manage to make the child using this system, will the child detach much more easily from the screen and enjoy other activities? Will a certain point the child on is own - when this kind of time-limit is removed - plan is own time? My feeling of gut would be - not surprisingly - that the sooner you adopt such method the easier will be to observe some results. Meaning that if you do not give the time for the addiction to develop, the child will more easily prone to put the tech on the side and use the time for other activities. I think that nevertheless it is important to base it on a “reward system”, so that the cell-phone is given (reward) and not taken away (deprivation). Which is something true, since the child was not born holding a cell phone but it was given in a second moment. Such message should be kept. Of course the reward system should be playful.
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Try to minimize without Eradicating

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Mohammad Shazaib
Mohammad Shazaib Aug 31, 2020
** We can substitute time on the computer with some enjoyable things, such as drawing, reading, writing, and playing instruments. Other feasible child-friendly activities include indoor-outdoor sports, aerobic exercises, or brain teasers. ** We should never use technology as a maid. Kids are more likely to benefit from limited screen time when their parents sit down and talk to them about the shows or web material they're watching. We have to keep our child aware that watching too much TV or playing games on your computer is not safe. Explain how violent video games, videos, and photographs can be unsafe for children. Also, talk about the possible dangers of online predators. ** We may construct a hierarchy of goals that need to be enforced. We should set the rules for what needs to be completed before they can have screen time, such as completing homework, cleaning, preparing for school, and taking part in family time. Act slowly to minimize their screen time rather than completely remove it. Today's children live in a digital and social media-energized environment. They know more about technology than the adults do. That's why we need to keep up-to-date with the new mobile phone applications or the latest social media craze. It's a fact that we can't tell our child the dangers of social media unless you understand the risks yourself. So, first of all, try to educate ourself ** A modern-day television emits blue lights that can make the brain more active. When children use them just before bedtime, this problem will disrupt normal sleep and affect the sleep habits of the children. We should take off our kids' devices an hour before bedtime because it would be dangerous to their emotional, physical, and social well-being. Children who use mobile phones, TV, computers, or any screen within an hour of bedtime can experience mental fogginess-like symptoms. It makes it harder for them to fall asleep, stay asleep, and wake up refreshed in the morning. In short, moderate use of digital technology appears to be beneficial to children's mental well-being, although no usage or overuse may have a negative effect. We can incorporate any of these strategies to reduce our child's screen time without even realizing them.
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Following the age learning curve

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Anja M
Anja M Oct 28, 2020
Well, the hard truth is that the concept of "reality" is rapidly and constantly being redifined, so in order to make better constraints, I guess we would first need to accept that this protection can never be as extensive to reach e.g.90s kids level. However, helpful steps are: 1. Accepting the addiction exists; 2. Accepting that according to (1) we might have the best shot at getting the kids used to the offline part of reality is to start from the earliest, one of the most critical ages for habit adoption, core memories creation, etc. So, "doing something with hands" and focusing on a plain, immediate "real life" experience will help develop creativity and motor functions the best way possible. And this is not just a supposition, it is repeatedly proven. A couple of years ago there was news about how the children of the Silicon Valley giants actually attend a completely "offline/analogue" school. It's this institution. Apart from the standard curriculum, the school focuses much on the manual aspect: animal care, knitting, gardening, cooking, etc. Basically, the parents' (who are heavily in the IT industry) attitude is that plenty of time is left to get acquainted with technology, while learning to think outside of the box and approach problems is something else, and above all, more valuable, and is not acquired by the immediate connection with technology. Moreover, it can harm these creative potentials. On a more logical and simpler level, developing as much as possible sides since the early age grants certain versatility that is hardly fully compensated for the older we get. So, reforming our schools on their early levels/entry grades, just in the opposite way of what we are doing with installing more and more edutainment, may be one of the keys.
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Challenging our assumptions of tech and what is “natural”, disambiguating “addiction” from instinctive drive to adapt by necessity to a more digitally integrated world

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salemandreus
salemandreus Aug 16, 2021
Very often we find ourselves biased against things different to how we have done things in the past.
It is important to realize that tech and what we easily refer to as “tech addiction” is not a monolith of experiences and that the term also often gets inaccurately overused as a proxy to refer to the prevalence of tech integration in our lives, which we often assume means that people are addicted.

At the same time, there are certainly people with various types of addiction-related to tech, I also go into an example of this in explaining how I overcame my 13-14 year-long facebook addiction, but tech prevalence, curiosity/interest and even the social peer pressure to adapt to tech integration do not necessarily equate to tech addiction, or even necessarily something unhealthy, particularly given how essential tech is to the better functioning of society.

Where a tool becomes a game-changing mechanism to our quality of life and survival physically, psychologically and our freedom (particularly if we are dependent on someone else for transportation or permission to go out, as many young people are, or on digital financial systems to mitigate the risk and disruption of needing cash) this might be more comparable to saying that surgeons are “addicted” to the use of surgical tools and anaesthetics on patients rather than good old fashioned dexterity - not all tools can be easily replaced with a “natural” alternative.

Fear of new tech as "unnatural" and damaging to our health is not new but consistent throughout history
Although it can be tempting to disregard so much time spent using modern tech itself as “unnatural” and presumably unhealthy to our development, such as the prevalence of smartphones occupying (particularly younger) people’s attention instead of “natural communication”, which can naturally be concerning for those of us old enough to remember things being different, just as it was for many older generations seeing their Millennial children playing video games instead of outdoors as being destructive to their ability to interact with the “real world”, (despite flight simulators and VR for brain surgery training being now used to teach real-world scenarios while mitigating risk), or THEIR parents’ generations seeing the prevalence of televisions, seen as a “disruptor of the imagination, unlike books”, or, as Adam Connover humorously discusses, how historical figures like Socrates saw the written word as harmful to the memory and how Conrad Gessner saw too many books as “harmful” to the mind.

“Tech” is a newer and intentionally more efficient solution to an emerging or existent problem.
What we label “tech” is thus relative to what is considered established enough to be “traditional”.
But whether consisting of a writing system, book medium or digital devices, tech is often the means to solving a problem, not the problem itself (unless we see losing written knowledge as a preferable alternative to having to deal with its preservation in digital big data).

It is also worth questioning our end goal in terms of why we see tech reduction as a particularly important goal compared to, say, reducing the amount of reading people do, improving a need for memorisation over writing, or avoiding as far as possible the “unnatural” environment of bars and clubs. If we assess these things we may notice that our biases are being affected by changing cultures around us, and older advancements become more normalised (computer games now increasingly being seen as more social, educational and artistic and also a lucrative source of income) while newer things become demonised (smartphones being seen as antisocial and youtube creating an “ADHD generation” despite the lack of evidence for this).

Carl Sagan wrote a very aptly named book, The Demon-Haunted World on this phenomenon of the demonisation and fearmongering of new discoveries throughout history (albeit from a scientific discovery rather than digital technological perspective). These fears are often overblown at a political level due to challenging the existing status quo in the form of “witch hunts”. Just like actual witch hunts were a means of maintaining religious control over people rebelling against churches, modern tech is often demonised and easily falls victim to humanity’s easier fear of the unknown overpowering the desire to investigate with scepticism. We see this most recently through anti-vaccine rhetoric, where many people fall prey to the Inactivity Bias in seeing the absence of vaccines as a safer option rather than viewing allowing the presence of Covid-19 as also an active and more dangerous choice.
This fear of novelty phenomenon is also possibly why, as I explain here, the incorrect belief developed that myopia was caused through eye strain and heavily investigated despite exhaustive causative studies failing to show this, optometrists often caution against excessive screen use “just in case”, and why many people prefer a “natural remedy” regardless of whether this alternative is shown to actually be healthier OR more effective.

Curiosity, utilising tools and socially sharing information are natural drives necessary to species adaption and survival
To more directly contrast the notion that tech is “unnatural” to our development it could be argued that similar to other usages of tools and inventions of the past, this can also be a necessary adaption to the information age, as finding a more efficient way to do things has helped us as humans to evolve as a society and we see it frequently demonstrated in other life forms.
The instinct to play with new and curiosity-inducing things, where dopamine fuels our desire for learning as we discover new interesting things, is key to species evolution: while fear of unknown threats has often kept us alive in the short term, curiosity in studying new phenomena has kept species able to adapt and survive long-term to larger threats.
Our social desire for information sharing about the new knowledge we gain is very much an important part of our adaption as a species.
Perhaps a great non-human example of this is how whales have adapted to survive through observation and information sharing with each other.
One example of this is how throughout history sperm whales adapted and taught each other evasive techniques against whalers.
Other examples are how humpback whales and killer whales adapted and communicated hunting strategies which, as the killer whale link mentions, also trigger genetic changes to adapt.
As an additional interesting anecdote to these studies, this pod of killer whales, appear to demonstrate a more targeted approach against a human boat as they surround it and one of them removes most of the boat rudder before they leave, still allowing enough rudder for the boat to make it home. Killer whales have been shown to be highly intelligent and highly coordinated pack hunters, and can easily hole and sink a boat like the one in the video. Given all this and that and that they do not eat humans, the care and coordination seem intended to surround, intimidate and damage the human vessel, but allow them to return as a territorial warning to other vessels, similarly to how the sperm whales relayed evasive techniques to each other.

Digital and telecommunications literacy as the necessary adaptation to function in a changing modern society
If we look at how integral rapid tech communication and learning is to our survival nowadays, similarly to how whales and other life forms adapt through curiosity about the world, it makes sense that this natural curiosity or “addiction” to new information and feedback about how we fit into the world evolved to facilitate survival and might not be entirely harmful when we consider how quickly children learn, and how older people automatically ask younger people to help them with the newest tech through the automatic assumption that they have adapted to the latest technological challenges and communicated these effectively with each other.

Similarly, many of us have had to educate parents and grandparents about phishing scams, safer passwords and social media awareness and privacy protection, among other technological dangers. TikTok seems to have overtaken Youtube as a fast means of efficiently communicating educational information given the attention economy is limited due to information overload, and traditional print media news outlets and publishing companies which have failed to adapt to digital media communications have found themselves becoming obsolete.

Perhaps we should view this as a necessary species adaption to the more currently relevant skills of adaption rather than a “loss” of attention.
Just as with the ability to write down information we outsourced our long term memory from oral tradition into the long-term storage of books and digitally stored media to free up our focus onto new contexts of information as needed rather than requiring a troupe of minstrels to memorise and recite Homer, so we could see rapid context switching and media alertness as more important adaptions than sustained concentration, especially for younger generations, to handle frequent and rapid changes, which are often far more prevalent in our lives.

The phrase “information is power” is still highly relevant to our survival today just as it has always been albeit with faster adaption cycles to more rapid changes in knowledge and ways to share it, and the information-sharing capabilities of tech have most evident recently during the pandemic in the vital development of medical technology and of information sharing surrounding means to remain safe from and track developments of the virus.
Tech integration is essential as an ever-growing part of what constitutes our survival in the world- there is an increasing real-world need to understand and utilise digital communications, the internet and online security, ideally long before we are old enough to post on those platforms or operate an online account let alone own a credit card, and the massive demand for workers skilled in the digital economy.

The need to adapt to other ways of living and digital telecommunications’ vital role in this.
By extension, it makes sense that since children need to learn through frequent exposure to walk, expand their reading vocabulary, and learn hand-eye coordination, build a sense of social etiquette and general safety and navigation, so they would need to learn to keep “streetwise” with tech in terms of its usage, information parsing and safety, particularly as being tech-illiterate or disconnected from access to tech is becoming more and more of a handicap to opportunity and survival in modern society.
As mentioned, I am obviously not saying that tech addiction is not possible or a concern, but possibly that we need to consider our biases against tech which can make us conflate tech integration with addiction, as something automatically harmful and destructive and also unnecessary, due to those natural tendencies to fear new phenomena.

Rather I would like to zone in where we do see harms, such as a lack of daylight, to what the actual underlying causes are, similarly to the myopia topic, in order to ascertain whether we are solving the correct problem, or addressing a correlation by association or proximity without addressing the real underlying cause or real underlying harms that exist, similarly to the focus (‘scuse the pun) of screens and near work as a cause of some types of myopia rather than what turns out to be a far more easily solved problem of simply getting enough daylight, which is also much easier to solve as one can do even digital work outside or by simply making the habit of taking lunch breaks outside.
We may find that embracing tech, albeit more accessible and less demanding tech, is one possible and more sustainable option so long as we meet our minimal exercise, health, daylight and rest quota. Connected tech and the information it grants us access to is constantly evolving to help us to do this in an ever more busy world through the feedback of less demanding wellness devices such as smart jewellery, to monitor our fitness and health such as heart rate, sleep, stress, etc.

Distancing ourselves from tech is not always an option but is increasingly becoming more and more of a luxury.
As @Povilas S mentioned, tech is very much a part of our lives, and distancing ourselves from it can be like going back in time. This was something we probably couldn’t have done so easily with the pressure of the pandemic, with the need for social distancing and digital collaboration, but which is certainly a very novel and educational experience, and as I commented here on @Darko Savic’s CC for No-Screen Sundays, a very important tool for mindfulness and self-care, and such constraints can even be a necessary constraint to force us to prioritise and enforce these things rather than seeing them as an afterthought. I am starting to see taking a break from tech no longer as a lifestyle, but more as a form of rest and recuperation, similarly to what a weekend used to be, but more in line with our more erratic human needs for availability, where many of us can’t all go “off duty” from connectivity at the same time and ultimately need some level of compromise which is less invasive during those times of being “on-call” with the world.
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Darko Savic
Darko Savica year ago
Good luck getting our kids out of virtual reality gear once they start liking it more than real life
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Povilas S
Povilas Sa year ago
Yes, and I would add, that kids growing up these days already grow in a mixture of material and virtual realities so they don't even know "real life" in a way that we knew it as kids. VR headsets only put additional dimension to what's essentially already in smartphones and PCs.
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Darko Savic
Darko Savica year ago
Agreed. If we are addicted to "low-tech" VR, what will happen when high tech VR is readily available
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Shubhankar Kulkarni
Shubhankar Kulkarnia year ago
I hope VR does not replace sports. Imagine Neymar hitting a world cup goal from his living room, hooked on to a VR :)
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