I am reading Sherry Turkle’s book, Alone Together: Why We Expect More from Technology and Less from Ourselves. Turkle is a professor at Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Last Friday she was Ira Flatow’s guest on the NPR’s Science Friday program. Professor Turkle explained how she interviewed more than 300 children and teens who described feeling immense frustration when their parents use technology gadgets at the same time they are supposed to be interacting with their kids.
The Alone Together author, quoted in a January 31, 2011 Washington Post article, AnyBody: Parents are Ignoring their Children for their BlackBerry, points out, “It’s now children who are complaining about their parents’ habits…” During the Science Friday interview Turkle identified five times when children want their parents to put away their phones, Blackberries, and other gadgets and to pay attention. They include:
- A the dinner table
- When picking kids up after school
- At sports and school events
- When playing at the park or taking a walk with a child
- When playing a game or reading with a child
After so many interviews, with children and adults, Professor Turkle concluded that the immense cultural changes in digital life now require a course correction one that encourages everyone, including parents to focus on the importance and quality of non-digital, person-to-person interaction.
The author is @STurkle on Twitter. The book, of course, is also available for Kindle.
N.B. Thanks to a teaching colleague, Nicole Cingiser, for reminding me about the above Washington Post article.