Anya Kamenetz: "What The Times got wrong about kids and phones"

Fri Nov 16 2018 (58:10)

At the end of October, the New York Times ran a series of articles on kids, parents, and screentime. It looked at trends among parents, largely around the Silicon Valley in California. When I read Anya Kamenetz's response in the Columbia Journalism Review, titled What the Times Got Wrong About Kids and Phones, I had to reach out and see if she'd be willing to talk. I think her perspective on this issue is extremely important.


Anya Kamenetz is NPR's lead education blogger. She joined NPR in 2014, working as part of a new initiative to coordinate on-air and online coverage of learning.


Kamenetz is the author of several books. Her latest is The Art of Screen Time: How Your Family Can Balance Digital Media and Real Life (PublicAffairs, 2018).


Her previous books were Generation Debt; DIY U: Edupunks, Edupreneurs, and the Coming Transformation of Higher Education, and The Test.


Kamenetz covered technology, innovation, sustainability, and social entrepreneurship for five years as a staff writer for Fast Company magazine. She's contributed to The New York Times, The Washington Post, New York Magazine, Slate, and O, the Oprah Magazine, and appeared in documentaries shown on PBS and CNN.


It's worth noting that in addition to the rock stardom above, she's a parent, and someone who, admittedly, is dealing with the stuff in real time. If you take nothing else from this episode, if you don't read her book or the many links that I drop in the show notes for this episode (available on our facebook page facebook/nosuchthingpodcast) pretty please, use your instincts as a parent, consult educators and specialists who know technology on this topic, talk with doctors who really want to dig in about what's fears are real and which are not. Take the time to do your homework, and make plan that fits what you're looking to each achieve at home, in your classroom, or with the young people you serve, wherever that is. And talk to the young people in your life. Preaching tech abstinence comes from a good place - we want children safe and productive - but don't be suckered by the temptation to conflate all that's changing for us culturally, don't trust non-expert voices because they seem elite, and don't miss out on all that's there in the upside.


Links from this episode:

Columbia Journalism Review - What the Times got wrong about kids and phones: https://www.cjr.org/criticism/times-silicon-valley-kids.php

THE ART OF SCREEN TIME: HOW YOUR FAMILY CAN BALANCE DIGITAL MEDIA AND REAL LIFE: http://www.anyakamenetz.net/

NYTimes, A Dark Consensus Begins to Emerge About Kids and Phones in Silicon Valley: https://www.nytimes.com/2018/10/26/style/phones-children-silicon-valley.html

Silicon Valley Nannies Are Phone Police for Kids: https://www.nytimes.com/2018/10/26/style/silicon-valley-nannies.html?module=inline

Anya's Newsletter: https://tinyletter.com/AnyaKamenetz/subscribe

Anya on Twitter: https://twitter.com/anya1anya