Wednesday, May 30, 2012

wasting time is new divide in digital era

According to this article in yesterday's NY Times,

In the 1990s, the term “digital divide” emerged to describe technology’s haves and have-nots. It inspired many efforts to get the latest computing tools into the hands of all Americans, particularly low-income families.

Those efforts have indeed shrunk the divide. But they have created an unintended side effect, one that is surprising and troubling to researchers and policy makers and that the government now wants to fix.
As access to devices has spread, children in poorer families are spending considerably more time than children from more well-off families using their television and gadgets to watch shows and videos, play games and connect on social networking sites, studies show.

This growing time-wasting gap, policy makers and researchers say, is more a reflection of the ability of parents to monitor and limit how children use technology than of access to it. 



  1. Maybe the reason more underprivileged kids use the technology they're given (whether it be for games, entertainment, etc.) is because it's so valuable for them compared to kids from well-off families. They see it as one resource for some sort of entertainment and it's all they think they have. Even though it seems the study holds up, I believe all kids don't necessarily use the technology they have to be "digitally literate". They use it for Facebook or iTunes, not research or discovery.

  2. I feel like where well-off kids may have just as much access to technology, unlike less fortunate kids they can afford to go on lavish vacations, drive to the beach, go shopping, explore live more in reality while they still might upload photos to facebook and instigram and tag themselves at locations. However, kids with less money are forced to find that kind of false sense of adventure and reality in the technology they have available to them. I know kids with less money who waste the majority of their days trying to achieve the highest scores in games, make constant posts about the depth of their boredom, watch every episode of 6 season show on netflix. They fill their time in the most convenient and affordable way, with technology.

  3. The internet has essentially become a world of itself were we can slip easily back and forth from. Taking off of Cambria’s comment; the poorer and less well off a person is in one world, the more likely they will try to create meaning or be successful in the other world. The perspective shifts in which world a person truly wants to live in. Do they want to digitally and replicate all modes of time usage minus the biological time needed to take care of human necessities like eating and drinking; or do they want to be successful in life and have internet and online be their crash pad?

    “This growing time-wasting gap, policy makers and researchers say, is more a reflection of the ability of parents to monitor and limit how children use technology than of access to it.”
    “Instead of closing the achievement gap, they’re widening the time-wasting gap.”

    Limiting, trying to retard the progress of, or in general restricting has been the calling card of destruction and inhumanity since the founding of the United States and onward. Limiting access to internet or any knowledge base is equivalent to The Burning of the Books in Nazi Germany and the Communist rule in North Korea. Both systems have failed by the collapse of the Nazi regime and the fact that North Korea heavily relies on the United Nations, the organization they are opposed to, for food to feed their populace.

    If we look at time wasting in the terms of the physical world success, then the author quoted above is correct. However if one looks at productivity created on either world, whether it be virtual or real, then the scales pretty much balance themselves out. Technology is however still the key to success. The next billionaires of our generation will not be the people that are successful in only one world, but of both worlds. Those who can be productive on and offline and have their skills from either world transfer into the other will be the most valuable person in the world. They will be able to connect and travel across the physical world doing their profession while online they are a database of experience and a mentor to others.

    However these people need to appear soon because in the quotes below the harsh judgment of the next generation is apparent.

    “If you just buy the computer and don’t guide them on the computer, of course it’s going to be misused,” Ms. Ross said.
    “If you already have a child who feels like anything goes and you put a computer in his hand,” she said, “he’s going to do the first negative thing he can find to do when he gets on the computer.”

    We make mistakes, we learn, and we grow. The challenge is to grow fast enough so that when the axe falls on this generation’s use of technology, the restrictors and the dictators will have to cut through a solid growing tree rather than the sapling they see us now.

  4. I agree with Cambria completely. A lot of things people want to do costs money or involves transportation. Technology is a good way to escape, these people have a larger feeling of hopelessness about them. I think parental changes can help close this gap, but it by no means represents the entirety of a solution.

    Also, I think encouraging effective ways of using technology or motivating children to do something else that is satisfying and promotes growth is a better way of handling the situation, as opposed to limiting technological use. This is just from my own experience, as my parents never really limited my access to technology as long as they didn't want to use what I was using. Instead, they belittled wasting time with technology and promoted learning with it. They also really encouraged reading and being active, and that eventually changed my mindset. I think it's easier to get people to do what you want them to do when you don't force them into anything and make it easy to rebel. What these children need is motivation to look at all the things beyond what is right in front of them or a better way to look at their world. Technology can be used well, they just don't seem to have an internal reason for pursuing that.

  5. References and fact checks or this didn't happen. I think this sounds pretty sketchy in its legitamcy. If I hand a 13 year old poor kid and a 13 year old rich kid Mass Effect, they're both gonna be playing it all week. Only the rich one is gonna have his parents buy the sequels. The appeals are the same to everybody, if that's where there interests lie, that's where they lie. This sounds like man throwing some manipulated statistics to put a slant towards the poor.

  6. Many people who get their hands on technology at a young age never know how to completely use them for their benefit. they think that 'benefit' is to be able to go on gaming sites, going on facebook, chatting with random people via webcam and that is the wrong idea. I agree with Cambria's comment as well. Many teens use technology to escape the real world and explore what they really want to be doing or be like. In order to get teens to learn how to more effectively use technology and one day have what they look at online today, adults need to show them how much technology could benefit them positively in their lives.

    Marie A.
    Per. 3

  7. Kelly and Cambria make good points. A poorer kid will value the technology he/she has more than the richer kid. Also, the poorer kid wont be able to go out as often as the richer kid can, so the poorer kid will use technology more because he/she is around it more. However, you can't ignore Trenton's claim that being poorer doesn't mean you are more apt to technology than a rich kid is.

  8. I don't think it makes a difference whether a child comes from a family that's well off or not. My family lives pretty comfortably, I squandered my time with video games and youtube videos just like my brother and sister do now. I did things I shouldn't have online, and it's because I didn't know any better. Parents shouldn't automatically not trust their kids to use technology. There has to be so sort of educating done by the parents so they can give their children a chance to earn or lose trust. And, even if the child strays a bit, that doesn't mean good habits can be learned in time. These are young children we're talking about. There's plenty of time for them to learn how to use technology responsibly and to their benefit, but only through experience.

    Marissa Tajalle

  9. I think that this may be only a temporary side effect. As time progresses, I think that they will eventually find it mundane and dull after investing so much of their time into the internet.Instead of playing games, they will figure out more productive uses for the internet or maybe even use it with less frequency. Like many others have stated, I also think that this applied to everyone not just underprivileged kids.

  10. Definitely. I agree with whats been said so far. I think that Jessica made an important point too, about about the boring factor setting in and curiosity turning a toy into a tool...for any income bracket.

  11. I don't agree with this article, but as others have said, maybe it's because privileged kids don't appriciate many things as much as others do. For privileged kids they are able to get the new gadgets that are out there much quicker than others. Like everyone else they may get tired of usings these gadgets so much that by that time, others kids are barely beginning to buy those gadgets. It also depends a lot on the interests of the kids.

    Jessica Manriquez; Per. 6