Screens and Teens – on BBC Radio 4 – by David Baker

Do we need to “do something” about the effects of smartphones on teenage children? The backlash against the omnipresent devices has begun. Parents on both sides of the Atlantic are increasingly worried that smartphones pose a threat to the current generation of teenagers, who have grown up with a phone almost constantly in their hand. Smartphones make our teenagers anxious, tired narcissists who lack empathy and the ability to communicate properly in person. Or so the story goes.

Screentime & Bedtime [Infographic + research]

Is your family tired from being wired? 

Is everyone, especially the children, sleeping well at night?  If not, how much exposure does everyone have to tech devices and gadgets before bedtime?

Studies, like this one from Ohio State University, show a very strong correlation between electronic devices such as cellular phones, tablets, computers, and even television, and sleep deprivation.  While the OSU study examined adults ages 18-39, a common result from a variety of studies indicates that the reason electronic devices cause restless sleep has to do with the frequency of the light they emit. 

This is a huge factor in our ever-growing population of youth using technology.  If this is bad for the adults, then it clearly can not be good for kids!

Of course, this technology also provides us with a lot of benefits – communication, entertainment, education and even family time are all facilitated by our phones, tablets, and computers.  Finding the balance between these gadgets and sleep-time is tough, especially when we rely on them so much.  Even some adults swear they can’t get to sleep without a television in the background, despite the mountains of evidence proving that this actually interferes with restful sleep.  In fact, even using media devices as much as thirty minutes before sleeping can disrupt rest, for both children and adults!  What can parents do to curb this?

The American Pediatric Association has some strategies for parents about getting kids unplugged before bedtime to ensure restful sleep.  However, the most important thing is awareness of the effects of screentime before bedtime. 

We rely on our technology so much that often we don’t give it a second thought, so it’s vital to be aware – both for yourself and for your little ones – what the effects of screentime actually are.  Armed with this information, you can devise your own ways to ensure that your kids – and even you – have a good night’s sleep, uninterrupted by media devices:


This post was written by Amy Williams

Hi App Developers, How Are You Doin’?

“In the Attention Economy, technology and media are designed to maximize our screen-time. But what if they were designed to help us live by our values?

What if news & media companies were creating content that enriched our lives, vs. catering to our most base instincts for clicks?

What if social platforms were designed to help us create our ideal social lives, instead of to maximize time-on site and “likes”?


What if dating apps measured their success in how well they helped us find what we’re looking for instead of in number of swipes?

As technology gets more and more engaging, and as AI and VR become more and more prevalent in our day-to-day lives, we need to take a look at how we’re structuring our future.”

Text by “Time Well Spent”.

It is a movement to align technology with our humanity:

How I quit my smartphone addiction and really started living

“The phone rings: it’s my friend checking to see if I can pick her up on the way to a dinner party. I ask her where she is and as she explains, I reach as far as I can across the countertop for a pen. I scribble the address in my trusty notebook I keep in my back pocket. I tell her I’ll be at her place in about 20 minutes, give or take a few. Then I hang up. Literally.

I physically take the handset receiver away from my ear and hang it on the weight-triggered click switch that cuts off my landline’s dial tone.”

A great write up by  for The Guardian.

Read the full thing here.

Communication issues? Eric Pickersgill found the solution


Put together a photographer and art. What you obtain is something always interesting, as interesting is Removed, the project created by Eric Pickersgill, a photographer from North Carolina. He decided to illustrate the psycological and social effects of how addict people have become to smartphones. The portraits show individuals who appear to be holding personal devices: the problem is that the devices have been physically removed from their hands. They were asked to hold their stare and posture as Eric removed their smartphones and tablets: «The photographs represent reenactments of scenes that I experience daily.»

Family sitting next to me at Illium café in Troy, NY is so disconnected from one another. Not much talking. Father and two daughters have their own phones out. Mom doesn’t have one or chooses to leave it put away. She stares out the window, sad and alone in the company of her closest family. Dad looks up every so often to announce some obscure piece of info he found online. Twice he goes on about a large fish that was caught. No one replies. I am saddened by the use of technology for interaction in exchange for not interacting. This has never happened before and I doubt we have scratched the surface of the social impact of this new experience. Mom has her phone out now.

Here is where you can find all the pictures he took for his project: Strange isn’t it?! You can simply slide the gallery (as far as – I assume – you are reading this article with your favourite device). At first it may be quite creepy or misplacing, yet it’s merely a nipping report of every-day-life scenes: and I agree with you, it is annoying at a certain point. Art is expression: here art throws back in your face what today’s problem is. It may not have answered any why-question nor told us how to solve this situation: art helps pointing out. Being sarcastic is one of its ways, and it surely pushed and still pushes people asking questions (which is – after all – what art is best at).

Here you can watch the making of and the starting ideas of Eric.


The Tortoise and the Hare Run the Electronic Race

The Tortoise and the Hare Run the Electronic Race

This is a guest post by Yitzchak Goldman, the author of Turn Off Your Phone, Turn On Your Life


One of the celebrated excuses used by people addicted to their Smartphone is the claim that their phone is indispensable for work and business.

Well, some research shows that Smartphones have actually caused a decline, rather than an increase in productivity. [1]

How can that make sense? Surely the convenience of being connected at all times allows for a more expedient business process?

Well, just imagine you’re in the middle of a stressful conversation, not yet heated (although your internal radiator is beginning to smoke), you’re tired and hungry and you are civilizations away from the nearest coffee pump, and your phone alerts you to a message from an important client. In order to juggle the conversation you’re having,  your smoking internal radiator, your hunger and your desire to satisfy the needs of this client, you fumble the best response your thumbs can conjure up whilst you are doing your balancing act (don’t tell me you’re driving as well, because I don’t want to hear it) and unbeknownst to you, you leave out something critical, or you send the wrong attachment, or you even spell his or her name wrong  even if it’s an on obtuse name that is comprised of the majority of the letters of the alphabet, along with the signature disclaimer, of course, that this has been sent from my iThis or iThat, so please excuse any typo’s (with the erroneous apostrophe – a pet peeve)….

Then the client, a little agitated, has a sixth sense that you were otherwise preoccupied, as you sent him pictures of your daughter’s third birthday party at the petting zoo rather than the draft of the corporate merger contract. He nudges you with another beep as you are filling your car with gas, and you, exasperated end up washing your car, and all the surrounding cars, with gasoline.


You know I’m not telling you to get rid of everything computer-related. You still have your laptop and / or your desktop. You finish the conversation with a cooled radiator, blissfully unaware that anyone has beeped you. You take a little time to grab a bite to eat and inject yourself with coffee and return to your office, snap open your computer and see a message from your important client. You now have the presence of mind to stroke your chin and compose a fine, well-constructed email, and you double-check the attachments and the spelling of the obtuse client name, and then press “send.”

The client is satisfied in a faster time than in the previous scenario, with less hassle and better spelling.

Professional quality has begun to suffer from the influx of Smartphones and other innovative techno-gadgets. This is not coincidental. The quality of all social interchange has suffered greatly from it. It’s time we acknowledge that Smartphone addiction is a problem and must be addressed.

// Yitzchak Goldman


Turn Off Your Phone, Turn On Your Life

[1] Johnson, Dave. Why Smartphone Culture Reduces Productivity. CBS Moneywatch. April 10th, 2012