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Kids Don't Need a Cellphone; They Need a Digital Diet


Kids Don't Need a Cellphone; They Need a Digital Diet

Naomi Schaefer Riley

When you take away phones and tablets, you have to give your kids other things — more time outside, more low-tech toys or more time with you.

A child, 10, watches a video during her 15 minutes of computer time at her home in San Jose, Calif. on Dec. 14. (Josie Lepe / TNS)


Agreed. Toss the gadgets and live.


If you raise a healthy child, they will automatically use their technology in a healthy fashion.
Formerly there was the tv, the computer, the internet, the gaming console, the…

You get the idea.

My daughter rarely talks to me the few hours that I share with her every two weeks.
She has head phones on all the time and stares at her phone.
My ex made sure that she was addicted to tv when she was born.
I just hope she does not adopt a more harmful addiction later.

My ex tries to control everything my daughter my daughter thinks.
When I tried to get my daughter into piano, tennis, choir, chess, my ex sabotaged every single step.

Now that I no longer can claim any part of my daughter’s development, she is trying to get my daughter into a few things.

This resulted in my daughter wanting to practice tennis with me this last weekend.

I am ok with that.


Unfortunately, at this point we are talking into the air. I live in a beach resort town in Southern California. Even with all the natural beauty and people watching available, people (idiots, frankly) just will not put their damn phone down. Adults are as (or more) guilty than the kids. I think in the long run what it does to the majority is exactly the opposite of what they think they are getting–control. They simply WILL NOT look for a street, restaurant, or public bathroom without the phone.
I strongly feel a lot of this dovetailed into the coup done by Trump in 2016. This country is fucking helpless, and they are teaching the young to be helpless, I don’t feel a part of the United States of lemmings at all.


Exactly toss the gadgets, live and actually talk to real people. Get this: Depression plunges!


Me neither. When you’re in a room and adults who are two feet away are texting instead of talking to EACH OTHER then we are in big trouble.


A very timely article. We used to have a term for people that ignored you when you spoke to them … “rude”. I was out at a restaurant the other day and saw a table full of 10 year old girls and one adult. No one spoke the entire time I was there, not even the adult. They were all just staring at their phones. Kind of creeped me out. :confused:


Not even the adult- yes, society is definitely sleep walking which is one reason Dump was elected.


This is another disturbing and alarming trend that is out of control. I teach in a large state university in Southern California and as I walk across the campus,I see students with their cellphones in one hand,staring at them with no regard to where they are going. I also see them texting each other when they are literally sitting on opposite sides of a room. Conversation? Totally out of the picture…it’s as if texting is the preferred mode of communication instead of simply TALKING to each other.
It’s happening everywhere…in restaurants,movie theaters,malls,and even houses of worship. During the past 10 years,I have put notices in my course syllabi about cellphones being turned off in class,and have cautioned students about not using them when I’m teaching…I have a cellphone but I try to set an example by turning it off in class and reminding students to do the same.
We have to start with our children and give them substitutes instead of plopping them down in front of a TV screen with earphones on. Of course,they will complain but parents have to stand firm and say no. I agree with the article’s recommendations.


And people are NOT alarmed enough about it. In large part because the
parents are sitting in tables in restaurants each having an individual
conversation with their phones. From what I understand, Americans are
among the worst in the world about this. I see Germans, tourists and
students, English families, etc. who seem MUCH more mentally at ease, not
doing this. Americans are going insane.


Having a conversation with a piece of plastic IS INSANE


I’m not a Luddite (well, not completely! I relented to my wife’s urgings some years ago and accepted a cellular dumb-phone for travel and emergencies. ) But I’ve been disturbed by the broader social behaviors in this regard for years.

So I’m glad the author wrote this, but missing is any recognition that many parents will hardly be willing to limit their kids’ use of digital devices when the parents have already pretty much enslaved themselves thereby. Look in any public place.

I remember wishing I could draw cartoons, when some years back, sitting in an airline terminal, there was almost no one else besides me who wasn’t interacting with or through a cellphone. Perhaps a few dozen souls - all no doubt with something to share or to learn; but while an Einstein, an angel or MLK could’ve been sitting next to them, they wouldn’t have noticed much less engaged. Too busy texting " LOL", or sending emoticons or snapshots of what they’re eating, or otherwise engaged in similarly important (no doubt) conversation. I’d wanted to capture that in a cartoon.

I recall my late father’s reaction almost 20 years ago, when I took him out for a coffee…it was even before smart phones took off.
He hadn’t been out much. A guy at the next table was talking non-stop in his cell phone, oblivious to all around. My father’s face said it all…total disgust with behavior that would have been shunned by all as unacceptable rudeness not so many years before.

While the behavior isn’t uniquely American, it is here that so many are addicted to novelty for its own sake. That’s part of the problem. An irrational fascination with novelty, itself the product of the joined-at-the-hip forces of Commerce and Technology…both driving culture instead of the reverse. Motto: “We can, therefore we shall”…regardless of the implications.

I wish I had the answers. I’m hopeful that eventually more and more will free themselves by recognizing the unfortunate compromises they’ve accepted in their desires for convenience or simply to be “modern”; and refusing them. Given that, as a result of her job requirements including use of a smart phone, my smart wife can’t seem to extract herself from hers for very long, I’m not optimistic.

Then again, I’m typing this on my home pc, where I undoubtedly spend far too much of my own time.

Ok, enough of this then, i think there’s a basketball game on the tube!


. James Taylor sang it well about Reagan:
As if you weren’t sitting in a room alone
And there was somebody real at the other end of the phone, yeah

Slap Leather (J. Taylor)

Song was in reference to Reagan’s mindlessness, even without Alzheimer’s.
Somehow it seem germane to me all these people clinging to their phone.
What social scientist could have predicted it? And what’s terrifying, is
where do we go from here? Young people seem victimized the way my father
did by the Navy passing out cigarettes in WWII. It’s for life-I
occasionally say that to people and it draws a blank stare. Seems like


Trump is America.
America is Trump.


I see that ALL THE TIME. I actually called a family of six on it a couple years ago-I started to walk into to restaurant and I was deeply horrified, and just let go, not yelling but just looking and said "You mean you came all the way here for your beach vacation and ALL of you are at the table staring at your phones. They all simply hung their heads in shame, including the father, with the expression of “yeah you are right and it is a drag,” I am not exaggerating.
And I have similar views daily-couples at tables al fresco, with wine, not talking, just making amor with their I Phone. It is emotionally too much. Now I just look away.


Teach your kids hand crafts. They can knit while they are waiting in the emergency room while you have your gallbladder removed. Back in the day, American Indian children could tan hides and make their own clothes, process and preserve food for winter and do all the other skills needed to live by the time they reached puberty. What life skills are you teaching your kids? Certainly, children need boundaries. They will test those boundaries but in the end they appreciate the boundaries after they learn what its all about.


Chinese are doing it too. The one child family is all about indulgement. Not everyone, but close to it.


And chores, so they have independence.


China at large is both ready and not ready for it. There is a movement afoot to get back to strict Confucianism in China which goes completely against the internet, for example. That’s part of why they are where they are–as a society they are being rudely awakened by information that we’ve always taken for granted. And they do not have the traditions in place of how to handle it… Their schools emphasize rote, STEM learning. It is going to be as much of a problem for them is over use of phones is for us.


Sorry, Walter, I have to disagree.I have taught students in six different provinces, for over ten years. My students are currently coming to this university from all over China. Chinese education includes quite a lot of philosophy, from both ancient and more modern versions. The entire country is learning a second language. Logic is a strong point for them. Math and physics, as you say correctly, is where they outdo the US. Physical education is also an area where China shines, as students all run everyday.

Yes, they use rote learning, but not at all exclusively.