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DAVIDSON: Kids Are Too Wired, But It’s Not the Government’s Fault — Opinion

Whose is it?

Jeff Davidson

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Kids today unknowingly are virtual slaves of technology, even if they are content. It would be easy to uncork a fastball aimed at local, state, and federal government, accusing them of abandoning today’s children, and caring very little for their welfare. When you examine societies around the world, however, it is apparent that the phenomenon is occurring all over the globe.

The rise of the internet, which has its origins in U.S. military communications dating back 70 to 80 years, was inevitable. Television, which achieved critical mass in 1951, is an entertainment monster of which we’ve all been aware for decades. Today, in America, 10 times as many radio stations exist as when radio was first introduced.

Wired, Day In and Day Out

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The onslaught of communication technology has long been in formation; sufficiently long for our populace to have adjusted to the level of potential intrusiveness. Have we adjusted, however? More specifically, have parents adjusted so as to be effective parents?

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A study of 2000 children conducted by the Kaiser Family Foundation years back confirmed what we have all suspected: Today’s youth, ages 8 to 18, outside of school, are “wired” all day long. Young people today are connected to the Internet, use their cell phone, watch television, or listen to music with an MP3 player virtually all day that they are not in school or otherwise in a no connection zone such as church, underwater, or the dentist chair.

The Kaiser Family Foundation study also found that half of these young people are invested in electronic media “some” or “most of the time,” while they’re doing their homework. How well do these children perform when attempting to multitask in this manner? Those who earn the poorest grades in school and exhibit behavioral problems are the ones most likely to have engaged in time-consuming electronic media.

Disconnections and Distractions

Good parenting might help. The study found that a scant 30% of parents actually set time limits on the use of their children’s electronic devices. If parents once knew little about what their kids were doing when out of sight, they’re more removed today than ever before.

So, what of this current generation’s ability to engage in extensive, deep level thought? Will they have any capability for reflection? Will they be able to grapple with the philosophical questions that have perplexed humankind for at least two millennia? On a social level, can they converse with one another free of electronic media? Signs are evident that they increasingly do not, but it is unclear whether they cannot.

Observe any group of school-age children who hangout together during leisure hours. One or more will be immersed in text messaging, taking photographs, talking via cell phone to someone outside of the immediate group, or employing other gadgetry.

No Generation is an Island

Okay, it’s their world, and that’s how they interact with one another. What’s the big deal? For one, no generation exists exclusively and apart from other. People born before them, not just their parents, but employers, instructors, trainers, coaches, and teachers are going to be a part of their world for the foreseeable future. The people who are born after them might be even further drones of electronic media, or perhaps not.

Concentration levels have been falling among all age groups as electronic media infiltrates more and more aspects of people’s lives. Who can sit with a 320 page book, watch an intelligent author lecture on C-SPAN, or grapple with the intricacies of foreign-policy, none of which can be conveyed in 280-character Tweets, 10-second sound bites, or thumbed-out text messages?

If you find that your children are distracted, unable to focus for more than a scant amount of time, and not able to concentrate when it’s required, don’t blame your teachers. Don’t blame the administrators. Don’t blame government officials. Look to your own parenting; that is where the problem lies.

Take Charge or Take Cover

No outside help is on the horizon, the issue is squarely on your shoulders. The sooner you jump in, and take control, the better off your offspring will be, even if there is initial resistance and rebellion. Few avenues exist for empowering your children to use technology and not be abused by it.

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Swing State Getting Serious, Dumping 100K Off of Voter Rolls

This is the first such cleanup in YEARS.

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Over the course of the next several years, America is going to be taking a good hard look at how she handles elections, and things are likely to get somewhat ugly in the process. That’s because we’ve allowed the false dichotomy of the two-party system to stake claims to how we vote.  On the left, a free-for-all.  On the right, a far more serious application of election laws that could be commandeered by ne’er-do-wells looking to massage the electoral results. So, as we head to the polls in 2022 and 2024, we will do so under the auspices of angst, almost undoubtedly, after having seen a great deal of fussing and fudging of the system itself. In Georgia, a massive cleanup of the voter rolls are now underway, for example. Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger intends to remove 101,789 “obsolete and outdated” voter files from the state’s voter registration rolls, his office announced. “Making sure Georgia’s voter rolls are up to date is key to ensuring the integrity of our elections,” Raffensperger said in a statement. “That is why I fought and beat Stacey Abrams in court in 2019 to remove nearly 300,000 obsolete voter files before the November election, and will do so again this year. Bottom line, there is no legitimate reason to keep ineligible voters on the rolls.” The more than 100,000 voter files set to be removed include 67,286 voter files linked to a National Change of Address form submitted to the U.S. Postal Service; 34,227 voter files that had election mail returned to sender; and nearly 300 that had no contact with elections official for two general elections. This is the first serious sanitation attempt since 2019, and has already seen over 18,000 dead Georgians removed from the rolls.

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CREEPY: Texas Power Companies Remotely Adjusting Home Thermostats

That’s not okay.

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When we first began to suffer the beginning of the “smart home” era, there were, (as there still are), plenty of Americans who found themselves wary of just what this interconnectedness could mean for us.  Was this going to allow us to better serve ourselves, or would this merely provide a conduit for some malign overlord to further tighten their grip on our every move? Many of us were already concerned about the increase in the amount of cameras that were being placed around the country, and we were suddenly also signing up, (and paying for), listening devices to be installed in our homes, which connected directly to the retail megaliths of Amazon and Google. Now, in a remarkably unnerving move, power companies in Texas are digitally sneaking into homes to adjust the temperature. In Texas, power companies are reaching into homes remotely to turn the temperature up, USA Today reports. People who have noticed the surprise adjustments have pointed them out on social media. But the companies can make them if the customer joined energy-saving programs designed to reduce the strain on the state’s power grid. The nonprofit that runs the Texas grid—which had a bad winter— said last week that it’s worried about getting through the current heat wave. And yes, that’s just as ridiculous as it sounds. “During summer peak energy demand days, we may briefly adjust your thermostat settings by a few degrees,” CPS Energy says on its website. “We’ll do this only as needed.” Under the rules for utilities, the changes can be in effect for one to four hours at a time, on any weekday that’s not a holiday, from June 1 through Sept. 30. Of course, users can opt out of this specific program if they’d like to, but it would preclude them…

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