Do our conversation skills weaken as we continually connect — virtually and physically — with our digital devices? How does this always-connected environment affect our children and youth? Are conversational and empathy skills developing as they should?
Sherry Turkle describes these problems in Reclaiming Conversation, a book that relates how the individuals in many of her interviews note — uncomfortably so — that they are less and less able to carry on a conversation confidently. More worrisome, children, in general, appear to be less able to converse, put themselves in another individual’s shoes, and empathize with that person. Turkle backs up her assertions with evidence.
In her presentation, Professor Turkle illustrates several of the most compelling issues from her recent book, Alone Together. Shepoints out that technology may give us an illusion of togetherness with others, but she challenges us to understand that digital connectedness is not a substitute for person-to-person interaction.
Are we hiding from each other even as we are connected?
With fewer face-to-face conversations with one another are we less able to learn how to have conversations with ourselves?
Do feelings that no one is really listening to us make us want to spend more time with machines that make us feel like these devices are listening to us?
Are people increasingly willing to settle for the pretend empathy of devices and robots?
In New Ways to Think About Online Privacy, Nina Gregory shares what she heard at TED Long Beach where some major technology thinkers and innovators (some speakers, some attenders) shared their thoughts about what Gregory calls “privacy hygiene” (and about what they might be teaching their kids about the subject).
You may not have heard of some of the companies represented, but the thoughts about privacy are worth reading.
We’ve all seen them. Perhaps people have seen one of us. The temptation to use a phone or smart device, no matter where we are or what we are doing — even when we are with our kids — is way, way too strong.
I keep seeing children being pushed around by people (parents?) on telephones. Sometimes children are playing along in yards or parks, not watched over because the parents are tapping or merely talking on their smart phones. The trouble is, this used to be quality time – enjoyable and relaxed interaction — pointing out dogs, discovering leaves, and learning new words for all sorts of things.