New York Times Decides Kids Are Playing Too Many Video Games During The Pandemic

from the sigh dept

One of the most predictable things in the world is that if anything is going on in the universe, people will try to find some way to make video games into a villain over it. This is doubly true if there are children within a thousand miles of whatever is going on. Notable when these claims arise is the velocity with which any nuance or consideration of a counter-vailing opinion is chucked out the window.

Meanwhile most of the world, and the United States in particular, is suffering in all manner of ways from the COVID-19 pandemic. Hundreds of thousands dead. Millions falling ill. Economic fallout for large swaths of the public. High tensions due to all of this, compounded by a mad would-be-king inciting violence in the house of government. And, even for those not suffering health or massive economic crises, there’s the simple matter that we’re all more isolated, all home more often, and all mired in a severe lack of socialization and life-affirming activities.

And it’s in this environment, apparently, that the New York Times has decided to chide parents for letting their kids play video games and allowing more screen time more generally.

The article, which ran on January 16, quoted some experts and presented a lot of “scary” numbers about screentime. But it also glossed over the fact that video games and the internet have helped many people, kids and adults, stay connected and sane during this terrible time.

The whole post is also oddly bookended by a random small family that is currently struggling during the pandemic. Their son plays a lot of video games as a way to connect with his friends. His father and mother are concerned about how much time he spends in front of the screen, but also know it’s one of the few ways he has to safely socialize while covid-19 runs wild across the world. This is a hard situation I imagine many parents around the globe are going through right now. But highlighting only kids and how much screentime they are using ignores that all of us, not just children and teens, are dealing with increased screentime and a lack of real human interaction. Instead, the article goes on and on about how potentially unhealthy and dangerous all this screentime could be for kids. How kids need to disconnect more. How kids are playing too much Roblox.

This whole diatribe is off for a number of reasons. First, let’s start off with the obvious: these are not normal times. If experts want to make arguments or present data that one amount of screen time or another, or even certain amounts of video game playing, is harmful to children, I’m open to those arguments. They need to come with actual scientific data, but I’m open to them. But during a pandemic, when most children are incredibly isolated form their normal activities — team athletics, outdoor play with other children, school and after-school activities, etc. — someone is going to have to tell me how increased time playing video games or in front of a computer screen is somehow more harmful than the void of any affirming activity. There are only so many books a child is going to read. Only so many games of cards. Only so much time in imaginative play, or in discussion with his or her parents. Now is not a normal time, so why are we grading parents by normal rules?

Hell, even the experts on the matter have made their recommendations for screen time during the pandemic a moving target.

Dr. Jenny Radesky, a pediatrician who studies children’s use of mobile technology at the University of Michigan, said she did countless media interviews early in the pandemic, telling parents not to feel guilty about allowing more screen time, given the stark challenges of lockdowns. Now, she said, she’d have given different advice if she had known how long children would end up stuck at home.

“I probably would have encouraged families to turn off Wi-Fi except during school hours so kids don’t feel tempted every moment, night and day,” she said, adding, “The longer they’ve been doing a habituated behavior, the harder it’s going to be to break the habit.”

It’s also very much worth keeping in mind that discussions on recommended limits to screen time and, even more so video games, are relatively new things given the rapid pace with which technology has been developed. And those recommendations regarding screen time for children have been moving targets over the years. New studies come out all the time on the topic and recommendations from experts likewise get updated.

Moving targets upon moving targets. If you’re getting the sense that what experts say about all of this during the COVID-19 pandemic has a make-it-up-as-we-go quality to it, ding ding ding!

And instead of any nuance afforded to the fact that video games have changed wildly to become multiplayer social platforms as much as games, and what that means for children who need to socialize during a pandemic, the article instead just further vilifies game-makers.

Children turn to screens because they say they have no alternative activities or entertainment — this is where they hang out with friends and go to school — all while the technology platforms profit by seducing loyalty through tactics like rewards of virtual money or “limited edition” perks for keeping up daily “streaks” of use.

“This has been a gift to them — we’ve given them a captive audience: our children,” said Dr. Dimitri Christakis, director of the Center for Child Health, Behavior and Development at Seattle Children’s Research Institute. The cost will be borne by families, Dr. Christakis said, because increased online use is associated with anxiety, depression, obesity and aggression — “and addiction to the medium itself.”

To give the Times an ounce of credit, that quote is immediately followed by an acknowledgement that Christakis’ claims aren’t actually born out by anything other than association metrics. In other words, correlation rather than causation. So why bother even including the quote at all?

To conclude: these are not normal times. An over-indulgence of video games in lieu of other healthy activities is surely not optimal for the health and growth of children. But right now there are severe limits on those other healthy activities. And if some gaming gets children in touch with their friends who they can’t see otherwise, vilifying video games makes zero sense.

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Comments on “New York Times Decides Kids Are Playing Too Many Video Games During The Pandemic”

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This comment has been deemed insightful by the community.
Anonymous Coward says:

Re: A missed opportunity

Indeed. As one data point, I’ll say my kids have had increased screen time during the pandemic, but that has included a complete ban on any system using predatory economics — not just games, but social media and other "online" activities as well. The hardest place to fight this battle has been with the schools, which were sometimes sending kids to online services that I had already banned during "home" time.

My kids seem to be handling it well. Along with increased screen time, they’ve had increased book reading time (Amazon has got rich off of us over the past year, with libraries not being an option), increased listening to FM radio time and increased "going on walks with parents" time. They’ve had decreased "messing around with other kids" time and "organized sports and extracurricular classes" time.

Kids also tend to increase their screen time as they get older, and this is generally healthy. My kids have, of their own volition, spent more time learning computer-aided things like history, computer programming, chess, politics, and art. Sure, it uses a screen… but it’s not sitting down in front of the TV for hours every evening like I did as a kid. Seems to me they’re being more creative and developing more socially than I did, and they aren’t being bombarded with continual twisted notions of what is "good" and "normal" from TV ads and kid’s soaps. In fact, they now will avoid any game with loot boxes or other predatory systems because it’s not as fun as their other activities.

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crade (profile) says:

Re: A missed opportunity

Years ago when my company was looking at monetizing our mobile app we did some digging into what made the top grossing mobile apps and at the top were free to download games targeted at very young children with very easy to access in app purchases and very hard to access refund processes…

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: A missed opportunity

That would require actual you know research and domain knowledge experts instead of grinding their axe which started as a great gleaming labris and has been reduced to a rusty hatchet. The old media have been openly deranged luddities for decades in an extinction burst ever since their cheese was moved.

Glass It LLC (profile) says:

Re: A missed opportunity

I wouldn’t say predatory. Those systems are there to sell. At the end of the day, I would check the games my kid wanted to download. If it contained in app purchases, I would tell them "do not press that or else.." to let them know it would charge us money. Eventually they pickup on what’s free and not, and well, then at that point you get "can you buy me this?". Lol like I said, there to sell 😛

Uriel-238 (profile) says:

Re: Re: "I wouldn't say predatory."

It’s predatory in that it capitalizes on the same human compulsions that gambling does (and now, after complaints from the industry we didn’t know it for certain, we have actual studies showing that human responses between gambling stimuli and microtransaction stimuli align.)

And the gaming ratings committees refuse to adjust ratings for microtransactions in games, because they like kids emptying their parent’s bank accounts trying to get a favorite footballer by lootbox purchases.

So yeah, it’s totally predatory, and the industry goes to lengths to make sure accidental purchases are easy, but safeguarding against accidental purchases is difficult.

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Tin-Foil-Hat says:

Re: Re:

I’m sure most adults who spent all their free time playing video games are functioning adults. I haven’t seen ANY convincing evidence of, and exactly how much is too much.

The "experts" have to earn their keep somehow and this is just more BS so the "experts" can look busy during the pandemic.

It would be nice if they were getting a real and relevant education but nobody ever talks about that beyond adding even more testing to the curriculum.

I pity the children whose parents fall for this nonsense.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:

If they didn’t would have demographic level problems even for something relatively minor and those who lacked the resources to afford them doing better at a population level in spite of the advantages of relative wealth and priveledge.

Look at the Opiod deaths for an extreme example – while legitimate users show some improvement like fewer of them deciding to suicide is the answer at a demographic level they were using refrigerated morgue trailers and expanding morgue size disproportionate to community size and age.

If something works or is a great problem where the hell are the rises or falls is always the ultimate question. If there is a fountain of youth where are all of the retirees who trigger social security fraud investigations because they look like college students? If swimming soon after eating leads to drowning where the hell is the death or near drowning spike from teens who try defying the rule?

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

You’re not. My doing that in the ’80s and ’90s accidentally led to a lucrative career. Although I wonder whether that would be true today. In those days, when we’d exhausted our very limited supply of video games, and the family needed the phone line, there wasn’t much to do other than learn how to use/program the computer—with very little outside help (no internet, maybe a few BBS textfiles, very rarely a book: technical books were expensive and not so easy to find). TV could command limited attention, with the small number of channels, constant ad-breaks, and lack of user control over scheduling.

Now, we have instant access to every video game, book, TV show, movie, plus a constant stream of news and gossip. Personally, at least, I feel distractions are much more of a factor. It could just be my age. I wonder whether kids still have hours of deep focus on extracurricular interests that may turn out to be useful. Perhaps that was always rare. I do still occasionally run into impressive projects done by very young people.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:

From my experience the ammount of distractions grew – including advanced knowledge and professional level tools. They aren’t /popular/ distractions as most prefer mainstream culture productions but those who do can "savant" themselves better than ever and make you at their age look like a goddamned moron in comparison because say you only managed to figure out 3D graphics in your twenties and this kid set up a 3D game before they hit double digits. The outliers didn’t start out as "more genius" than the previous generation of outliers but they had better tools than you did.

R.H. (profile) says:

Re: Re:

Between work and leisure, I still spend the vast majority of my time in front of a computer. It’s odd that parents are still wondering about screentime. Aren’t most parents of primary-school-age children in their thirties (like me)? Do they remember how much time we’d spend playing video games or watching television? Do they think that they turned out badly?

Uriel-238 (profile) says:

Re: In front of a computer as a kid.

I had to spend my time in front of other people’s computers until I was fourteen, at which point my dad got me an Apple II+, but otherwise yeah, I did that thing.

Though college I volunteered at the Computer Resource Center as tech help, because I couldn’t yet afford to upgrade my own stuff for a while.

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Anonymous Coward says:

A recreation of how things probably went down at the NYT

Manager: “Oh shit! Trump just left the White House yesterday and we need a new scapegoat!”
Writer: “Why not more news on the GO-“
M: “That’s ain’t news no more!”
W: “what about… the Capitol riot-“
M: “That’s already outdated, son.”
W: Section-“
M:”Naw, we already have a story for that tomorrow. I need something familiar, but new!”
(Suddenly a janitor walks by. Mumbling about video games)
M: “Wait janitor! Could you repeat that?”

(And so was birthed the article that chided parents for letting their children play too much video games.)

(NOTE: I actually don’t hate the New York Times. I actually like them, but like other newspapers, once and a while they produce a really stupid article like this one.)

Anonymous Coward says:

games are no longer single player, many games are online social spaces,
you play fortnite, call of duty , to spend time with friends, talk, socilaise,
in a pandemic it may not be safe to go outside,
people are working and going to school through zoom and other app,s .
this is not a normal time.
in the 80,s, 90,s kids watched tv or played games on nintendo or an xbox.
The difference now is most games have online multiplayer modes
with voice chat as standard.
before video games there were panics about comicbooks and rock and roll

This comment has been deemed insightful by the community.
Koby (profile) says:

Not Hip Anymore

Stand around the water cooler at work and talk about the sports games that happened last weekend? That’s okay!

Hang out with your friends in Discord chat while playing Fortnite because the city is on lockdown? Bad, bad bad!

My take is that the writers are jealous that their preferred activities in NY are currently closed down, and they’re hoping that everyone else is as miserable as them; but they’re not, and they’re demonstrating that they don’t need nightclubs or whatever social activities the older generation enjoyed.

Samuel Abram (profile) says:

Re: Not Hip Anymore

My take is that the writers are jealous that their preferred activities in NY are currently closed down, and they’re hoping that everyone else is as miserable as them;

I can’t speak on on the NYT’s behalf, but I can speak on my own behalf and as a New Yorker: I still have a job which never left, my gym closed down and then it reopened. I still can go to physical book stores (including my independent book store) and a physical cookware store.

So while I can currently not go to a movie theater, Broadway show, or concert, there’s still a lot I can currently do, such as the things that the NYT is so worried about. This is just the NYT acting élitist.

ECA (profile) says:


Even if we took out the child labor laws..
What the hell is there to do?
Chop wood
Hang laundry
Feed the cattle, pigs, sheep, dogs, cats, llamas?
Make chairs? there isnt enough room for all the equipment.
Play ball? Which ball? And how many ball games can keep you about 6′ apart at all times.
I know, Teach the kid how to make Cheap wine. Its done indoors, he can make more then 1 per day, and at the end of 4-6 weeks, His parents can get Drunk. Or teach him to Distill the wine to something abit stronger.

How long to teach them to clean the rooms, Wash clothing, Vacuum, sweep, play Board games, card games, Poker, backgammon, Chess, .

This dont count that the parents are probably working, or NOT.

I KNOW, lets get them out into the country, and teach them FARMING, RANCHING, FORESTRY, and how to grow MJ.(hemp, sorry)

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Uriel-238 (profile) says:

Moral panics about our children

When I was a kid, our moral guardians tried scare parents off from Advanced Dungeons & Dragons (and tabletop RPGs in general), and despite all my efforts, I couldn’t find a real Satanic cult to take me in and teach me real magic. (????????????Ia! Fhtagn!????) I still hold a grudge.

But the New York Times has repeatedly opined about evils without thinking clearly about them (including the diabolical phonograph) The New York Times, despite its reputation as a bastion of news fit to print, has demonstrated time and again it’s not willing to actually investigate the perils our children face, and instead is willing to offer moral panics for cheap scares.

I grew up a latchkey kid, as both my parents had to work, and this only redoubled my interests in the unknown and esoteric. Ultimately, without supervision, I delved unflinchingly into unlocking the dark arts???? and over years of neglect, with madness closing in, I was etched and carved into the monstrous abomination you see before you today.

However, all of the mischief our children can get into can be tempered greatly by actual parenting. If we, either a) Provided well-funded schools with highly-paid professional teachers to mind them and teach them holistically about things like critical thought (Maybe we could use Cookie Monster’s sometimes-foods idea for sometimes-activities? Moderation in all things?), or b) allow parents to earn a family-living working only part-time so they still have time and energy for rest, recreation, civic responsibilities and parenting.

This was a known problem in the seventies, and we’re still not doing it. We may love our children, but we love capitalism and profit more.

Until we, as a society, choose one of these two options (both would be swell) we’re going to have to live with future generations of dysfunctional drug-addicted cyber-kids who have to spend much of their adulthood sorting out their own psychodrama and addicted to gaming and social media.

From a harm-reduction perspective, leaning on video games isn’t terrible. We’ve taken parents and actual social engagement from our kids. Taking away their video-game coping methods will probably result in them seeking out (and finding) other coping methods, say, getting baked every day, or exploring abandoned industrial parks, or torturing animals, or a bit of the old ultraviolence.

If your kids are leaning heavily on video games, they’re not leaning heavily on something else. Ia! Cthulhu! Fhtagn????

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Toom1275 (profile) says:

Re: Re: Moral panics about our children

You need to use the right font, though:
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̷̨̥̘̯̦̽̌͂́͐͑̐͘͝Ị̸͇̪̣͈͇͑̑̎͋̋̅̎̏̒͘͝n̸̡̨̦͖̤̲̦̩̗͔̯̯̞̯̲̔̊̎̓v̴̢̬̣̥̺̹̝͍̫̠̱̹͑̑̽̈́̀o̴̢̝̪̩̞̮͚̭̯̥͔̲͆͗͑̓̑͊̀͜͝k̷̡̨̛̳̙͔̗͍̬͒̏͗̇̃̒̊̒͠͝ḯ̵̡̥̦̘͔͚͈̘̰̦̠̯̰̿̎̿̾̓̇͌̕͝ͅņ̸̲͈͎̜͚̪̥̻͑̄̆̅̒̀͝g̷̡͉̥̮̰̭̰̒̍̋͗͗̓̈̐͜ ̸̧̬̗̫͉̺̤̞̣͍͖͔͈̉̏͐ṯ̴̨͍̗͙̗̠̭̱̲͚̰̟͕́̿̀̏̑̌̇͐͘̕̕̕h̶͇̦̖̠͉̙̽̒̎̔̓̈̃̿ȩ̵͖͕̲͓̩͔͚͔͙̲̊̎̂͂̍̆̀͐̀̚̚͝ ̴̻͊͛̍̎͛͗͂̌̔̏͠͝f̴͈̲͕̞͎͔̤̣̗̹̟̏̒̔̾̑́̅ȇ̸̡̡̛̞̙̭͎̙͐̐ͅè̸̡̧̛̲̺̳̬̲͇͚̹̟͈͇̺̈̋̀̃̉͐̆̂̔̑̉̕͜͝l̸̡̤̟͎̺̜̅̾̔̅̓̆̇̎̿̈̊̂̌̐̕ͅi̶̥̬̫̝̞͔͈͕̹̠͑̒̒̒̓̀̕͜n̸̦̘͖̣̝̩̙͉̲̱̳̅g̸̡̢̧͇͓͔̪͈̥̹͇͔͔͎͔̿ ̸̡̧̫̭̟̩̅ố̵̧̨̢͖͕͓̖̦̗̞̲̙̘̫̏̏̊̔̐͒̒͌̇͘͠f̷̧̧̨̨͎̲̮̞̼̹̰̘̫̑ ̴̘̣̳͙̖͇̫̲̲͉͖̦̿͊̉̉̀̈̂̐̾̈́̈́̆̽́͜͠ć̵̝̣͖̲̝̥̣̞̜̎̄̇̿̈́̑̂͒̽̋̄̂̉͝ḩ̴̧͔̞̜̺̹̞̬̱̖̙̤̳̮̊̈́̀̆̽̊̔̄̽̔̅̈͘a̵̛̠̭̪̥̰̜̪͇͉̝͇͍̋̌͌ͅͅo̷̢̦̼͚͕̩̝̥͓̘̬͍͇͐̂s̷̡̯̙̍̈́̽̾͒͛̇͘̕͝.̸̨̦̖̭̪̻̘̜̭̻͇͈̫͖̅̉̓̎͗̐͗͂̊̚͜
̴̧̛̠͓͈̘͓̣̙͚͊͝ͅẄ̵͓̯͍̞͚́̓̋̀i̴̧̙͙͛̈́̂̈́͐͋͝ţ̵̧̢̘̜̣̣͎̤͓̲̱͎̲̓̎͂h̷͕̲̠̯̞͈̻̹́̎̆̕̚o̵̱̞̖̬͉̬̮̕ͅǘ̸̧̖̩͎̪̞̥͆̈́̈́͘ͅt̸͉̮́̈́̏̍͗̔̑͊͑͛͘͠͠͝ ̵̛͎͓͎̤̺̝̗̹̠̙̩͖̖͒̃͆́̂͛͆̑͂͛̓o̸̧̘̪̬͑̉̇͐͐́̓͜͝͝ŕ̶̢̡͓̬̣̲͎͍̂̌̓̊̈́̓͌̈́͊̓͝ͅd̸̠̥̟̠͉̖̃̔̇͊̓̓̂͋̂̋ḛ̷̡̡̢̢̥̮̩̯̠̬̬̔̍̿͌̾̽͘͝͠r̸̨̡̨̦̟̓͗̀͋̃̈.̴̛͙̬̑̈́̔͑͆̾͝
̷̗̯͍̩̯͉̺̟̎̓͌̈́̀͑̒̂Ţ̴̛̘̠̠͐͂ḩ̴̡͎̪͇̫͖͇̭͈̹͚̹̔͜e̴̪̽̀͛́́̀̑͛̂ ̸̛͔̮̪̘̩͋͆͋̓̃̓̅͗͆̇̒̃͆͝N̸̢̛͖̜̱̪͖͔̳̱̘͇̯͗͐ͅę̷̢̬͙̗̺̼̗̖̙̋̃́́͛̇́̽̔̀̇̎͘͜͜͠z̷͚̳̝̭̩̲̺̀̾͛̄̐̃͜͝͝p̷̛̭̀̆̿̿̒̅͐́͝ė̶͈͖̱̳̩̗̘̖̽̆̓͛̍̇̇̕̚͝ͅŗ̴͇͚͙̠͇̞͚̻̣͔̪̉̌́̀̉̐̒d̷̛̩͙̀͐́͊̑̃͛̽̓̕̕i̷̧͙͑̀͊́͘ȁ̵̛͓͕̠̰̜͂͌͑̉n̸̡̨̤̥̳̳̫͂̅̌̈͑̾͛̎͛̓͜ ̶͍̦͚̝̫̪͉͇̳͉̙̬̘̫̿̄̆͑̂̈͌̋̓͘͝h̵̛͎̣̫̫̮̫̞̟̘̞͉̉̅́̃̎̌̏͗̅̈́͊̇̂̊i̸̧̛̛̠̫͎͑̌͌̿́̓v̶̧̧̼͖̉͒̒͌͘͠ĕ̷̯̺͉̲͚͔͖̣̫͇̗̳̤͓̄͋̈́̅̃̅̚̕-̶͕͚͖̲͆m̵̨̭͇͚̰̮̚i̷̟̰͙̥̥͔͍̖̙̘͎͚̅̉͂͑̔͊̅̈́̚̕͜͝n̷̡̮͔̯͓͇͇̻̝͎̆d̴̨̮̭͛͛̊̆͂͒̽ ̴̱͉͕̫̬̈́̈́̽̇̌͘ͅỏ̸̧̡̺̫̟͙̗̃̑̍̽́̾̀͂̇̚͜ͅf̸̡̹͇͖̟̝̼͍̝̝̝͕̽͋̽͝ ̴̤̭̖̲̥̜̯̃̉̀̆͐̀͌̕͝c̷͉̣̯̦̓̓̊͒̑͠ḧ̸̛̛̜͖̹͍͖͙̣͖͇̗̱̲́̓̉̏̃̀͘͘͝ͅạ̶̇̓̀͐͛͗̆͠ȯ̵̗̓̑͠s̷̛̛͕͇̎̎̈̐̒̈.̸̢̧̦̼͓͉̤̞͖̈̽̽̈̆̏͒͛̀́͒͌͜͝ ̷͇͆Ẑ̴̧̳̦͙̯̱̝̞͕̣̼͈͓̩̰͐a̴̛̛̱͍͙̘͚̼̗̯̙͎̗̱̱͛̑͋͋̿̏̈́̈́͝ḻ̷̡̛͉͈̠͛̀̐ͅg̴̘͉̹͕̼͇̳̽͌̔̉o̸̢͍͓͉͖̠͙͙̬͓̮̻̽͌́͑͋̍͆̐́͑́̏͑͌̚͜͜ͅ.̶̡̡͉̺̼̹͍̦̮̰͆̂̐͌̓͒̒̿̾̚͘ͅ
̶̣̫̞̭̹͚̟̹̥̺͚̤͉̂̾͊̔̂͛͜͠Ḩ̸͚̮͎̳͇͕̖̗̜͔̻̞͈̈́̋̈́̂̀͗̀̓́͋͘̕͘͜é̶̡̨̧̡̧̛̪͚̫̝̫̥̲̻̈́̓͐̏͂͝ ̶̰̈́̀͊̽̅̒͂̿̎̓͘͘w̷̰̲̥̬̱̱̆̅͌̋͋̂̉͆̄͆̀̏̕͝͝h̵͎͓̥͍̖̘̖̃ͅo̶͔͈̝̩̮͍̺̦̬̹̪͈̽͂̀͌͠ ̶̢͚̖̮̥̖͎̹͔̣̭͚̯̈́̅̈́̃̆̂̎̋̔̃͆͜͜Ẃ̴̺͕̰̭̘̟͓̹̘̈å̸̢̟̰̆̈̀í̴͖͕͂̓͌̑͌̇̚t̷̢̩̰̼̭͙̠̋̽͂̀s̵̡̢̩̳̙̝̫͒̓͗̍͑́́͊̒̇̇͜ ̷͎̣̪́B̷̛̝̟̞̱̪̯̺̦̘̈́̀͊̽͋͌͜ȩ̷̥̭̫̝͙̺̗̯̹̂̃̊̉͒̑̓ḧ̵͔͙̺̝͒͂͋̑͐͒͐̔̈́͋͘͠͝i̷̧̢̢͚̟̙͓͔̥̤̥͛̽̈́́̋̐͋̈́̿͒͗̇̈́͜͝ń̵̮̺͙̳͓̞͇̱͆́͒͊̏̕̚͝ḑ̴̡̠̉̌͊͛̄̚͠ ̴̛̬͖̩̙̼̽̀͋̇̈́͆̀͛̕͝T̵̢̺͒̀̑̃͒͐͌͗̓̔̎͊̚h̶̜́̉͆͊̋́̀̾̌̾̏̕͝e̶̘̱̬̞͇͌̆́̏̌̑́́̃͌͝ ̴̨̡̭͍͎̰͍̭̝̬̝̠̮͆͐́̋͛̎̈́̈́̑̋͗̿͐̃͝W̴̞͚̣̭̩͇̉̄͐͝a̸̢̨̨̜̝͔͉͓̞̖͍͉͈̯̍̒̃͌̓́l̸͉͐̄̀̋͠ļ̴̺͇̱̲͖̟̟̳̲͕̮̞̥̗͆̍̽͐͊͑̔͋̊͆̾̆̔͠ ̴̦̥̫͈̪̲̘̤̤̹͑͌ͅͅö̶̡̧̲̹̗̤̙̫̣̽̐̊͆̿̋͐̂͂̚̕͜͜͝͝͠f̴̡̥͍̻͎͎̖̠̮͖̘͍͔̑͂͑̌̉̈̅͐̀̃̈́̈́̀͜ͅ ̷̡̺̪͓̰̥̩̐̈̓̍̆̑͊͌͌̓̏̒̎̓͝t̷̢̻͚͙͕̞͗̒ơ̶̡̡̨̻͈̻̪̦͙̗̥̯̗̂̆̈́͆͆̎́̕͝r̸̮̯͔̭̩̺̲̙͙̮̬̪͕̩̉̇̏̌̎̉ṱ̷̡̹͖͎͈͍̰̰̇̀̈́͋̂̈̇̓̑u̷͉̗̙͈̙̍̈́̊͐͌͛͑̓̂̅͛͜͝͠r̴̨̼̖̱̪̺̯̰̣̥̝͕̝̥̝̈́͌̋̀̍͊͒̽̏͗̕e̵̩̰̖̬̝̅͗̈́̄̊̾͛͆̓̂͂̿̏̕d̸̡̨̧̡̞͉̩̬͍̝̥̓͒̒̓̈́̎͛̍̊͝͝ ̸̧̺̪̣͈͖͒̈́͂͗̐̄̎̂́͝͝g̶̡̝͚̱͔̘̞̗͇̻͚̺̈́̉̉̒̄̀̂̿̌̐ͅĺ̴͍͉̱̲̝̻̖͎̲͍̬̑̄͝a̷̖̯͖̖̥͕̤̼͙͋̉̂̇̓̎̉͌̓̈́̇ͅs̵̟̦̺͈͕̩͕͖̹͉͐̐͒̿̌̈s̴̤̺̠͐̃́̓̀̔̉̔̌̏͑̓̎.̸̨̰̰̰̈́̔̍̉̎̆̄͘͝͝
̴̣̪̙̜͍͚͓͈͖͎̫͛̀̅̉̄͂̔͠ͅͅH̸̨̠͙̞͕͔͎͚͇̗̜͚͋̏̆̆̐͊̔̚̕͠o̷̧̙̰͎͑̃́̈́̍̿͗̍́̏̕͠ḷ̷̡͚̤̳̪̻̈́̌͂ͅd̶̫̱͕̩̳̖͍̜͚͖́̂̏̚ę̵̫̺̠͎̺̱̹̰̗̝̝͈̓͂͑̿͂̎̏͗̓̈̓͠͝ŕ̵͚̤̣̅ͅ ̷̨̟͙̺͍̼͓̔͜o̶͓̓͆̈́́̆̈́̑̀͌͒̊̕͠f̴̡̝̠͔̪̼̣̯͖̟̪̔̄̿̀̕̚ ̸̗̭̦͉̼̪̞̼̙̹͓͇͆͒͜ẗ̸̢̡̢̤̺͙̳̱̣̜̦̩̫́h̷͇̙͔̳̗̰͇͍͔͈̓̽̒͒̊̀̆̃̀͌̆̍̂ͅe̷̛̹̯͉̪̙̒̄̊͆̀̒͝ ̸̡̲̦̼͈̬̰͍͚͍̯̜̤̰͗̔͌͜͝c̵̡̛̱͕̟̫̼͉̓̑̽̈̏̀̿͂̿̈́̆̓͗̈́ͅã̸͇̗̫̪̦̔͊̎͝n̸̡̝̫̻̣̯̩̯̞͎̝̱̯̱̞͌̃́̏͗̔̽͝d̵̤͓͔͇̟̗̼̝̪̹̬̲̜̪́̋̑͂̑̓͗̌̈́́̕l̸̻͐̽e̴̼̻̘͕̤̓̓̏̈́̌͜ ̷̡͔̠̜̲̼͈̖͖̘̠͉̟͆͊̂̌͗̇̌͊̒̆͆͑͜͝w̵̢̳̯̩̩͈͆̍̏̀͐ȟ̶̨̙̲̘͈̖̠̲͕̪̫̹̟̪̊͋ö̷̢̱̮̫̱́s̸̫̪̣̅̀͆͗̉̓̿̚̚͠͠e̵̢̤͓͓̣͖̞̭͍̺̩̓̆̅̆̅̿͋̋͋̍͐̚ ̴̨̘̠͓̟̫̉͛͑͛͆ļ̸͈̯̱̦͊̇̑̍̈̅̑̈͐i̶̢̩̹̜͓̗̳͍̹̗͙̰͋́͒́͌̈́͌̓͘ͅg̶͙̤̳͙̏̍̈́̅͋̚͘͜ḩ̴̨̰̳͉͉̙̭͙͓͉̠͒͂̉̔͝ͅt̷̢̧̫̠̹͕̠̖̻̹̜͔͌͝ ̴̨̧̛̯̗͓̬̭̲̖͐̄̒̌̈́̀̉̓͛̉͜͜ǐ̵͔͇̜̦̱̈͆̒s̶̨͔̬̹̈́̏͗͑̉̈̇̓͗̌̌̐̈́̒̕ ̶͍̰̘̗̺͒́̍̆̆̋̿̓̃̍̀̇͐̀͠ś̸̨̮̣͎̦̮͚̜̺͉̦͖͕̤͓̂̀̾̀̀̉̓̂͐͆͛̋̏̏ḩ̴̖̞̱̞̬͕͒͛̋̌̽͌̒̇̍͑̂̕͝a̷̡̛̤̝͓̯̒̀̃͛͋̔͒̌̍̾̕͝͠d̸̪̤̹̖̔̃̒̀̿̏̃̑̌͌͌͛ö̵̰̣͈̻̠̝͎̱͍̗̈́͂̅̋̓̈̂͂̌͂͜͝ẃ̴̠̠̦̂.̴̡̨̬͈͉̖̲͔͐̍́͛̈́̑͗̚͝ͅ
̶̛̻͔̦̗͇̼͉̙͖̅̓̂͊̎H̷̨̢̛̞̭̹̥̰̥͍̱͚͛̐̂̃̌͌͌̈̑̍̊̈́͋͜͝e̷̱͚̘̠̥̽̈́͊̄̓̈́̈͐͗̈́̅̑̋̅ ̴̣̼̗͓͉̤̥̱̯̺̺͔̯̥̂C̷̡̡̤̬̟̹̬̓̓ó̴͖͈̘̦͖̎̋̑̊͒͗͊̈́̉̊̇̀̕m̵̧̡̗̹͈͍͇̫̼̫̩̣͕͒ͅe̸͕̱͝s̷͚̞̣̮̯̩̠̬̦̮͎̠̑̅̓̈́̐̌ͅͅ.̶̢̭̹͕̱̹͆̇̇̉͗̒̎̍̐͑̽͘͝͝ͅͅ

ECA (profile) says:

Re: Moral panics about our children

Love capitalism.
When even Both parents need to work, Just to pay rents from land owners making a small fortune, and living in another state.
The optimization of Profits to befit those that get to GO HOME, Get Days off when they wish, get medical as they wish and can afford a Vehicle purchase About every 2-5 years.
It would be remarkable that persons that DONT worry about money, NOT to have money.

Yes, I lived in a small town(14,000) and in the farming areas, and in the past it was interesting that IF’ you had an idea there were Allot of people with TIME, to give and help abit. You could even find abit of metal or wood to do interesting things. NOW days you cant even find a Skein of yarn to make anything to make a Blanket at a reasonable price.
Its fun to look at the things around you happening. Like everything made of Cotton, converted to Cheap Plastic(rayon, polyester, and so forth) and NOW those plastics cost more then Cotton, if you can find cotton.
The problem with the capitalists tends to be DOING things as cheap as possible, and selling it at prices WE cant afford, until its on sale at 1/2 off. Its not that pollution is a problem, its that THEY dont want to change HOW they do things. Ask the oil corps Why, and they will answer "ITS CHEAP".
But after you have created/bought something Cheap and selling it, HOW do you make More money. Cut every corner you can. Take out the 100 stores in a metro area, and make 1-2 LARGE ones. Still not allot of selection, just allot of CHEAP stuff. After all those stores are closed, you have gotten rid of 100 stores of employees, bills, rent, utilities. THEN what?
Everything gets Cut except those top wages? but what of the Stockholders? Arnt the corps SUPPOSED to buy those back? NOT any more. its a long term Cheap Loan that lasts forever.
The Corruption of capitalism.
If anyone has problems with this, Go look at what France has done. Even most of the EU, has less hours working, Less days working, Higher wages, and DAYS OFF, you would not believe. But how do they do that? WHY arnt the corps taking over(they are trying). Does it have anything political happening?
I wont post the info, just give you an idea of whats happening compared to HERE.

cattress (profile) says:

Re: Re: Moral panics about our children

Ok, so I can agree that too many businesses fail to ensure living wages and good benefits for most of their workforce. And shareholders shouldn’t be insulated from the effects underpaying and under insuring the workforce. And while the US should look to other Western countries to model more equitable compensation laws, we have to be careful not widen the chasm between the rich and poor from unintended consequences and failing to account for the inevitable resistance.
But I don’t understand the rest. I’m a very crafty person with very, very little disposable income. Usually just $10-20 a month, which I also have to stretch to cover things like a new item of clothing, make-up, or shoes. Sometimes I have to wait for a special occasion or carefully budget to get something like a tool, but overall I have an abundance of supplies and materials for a range of projects. I get a significant amount of cheap stuff at the big box stores you are decrying, like the dollar store, and Walmart. And I reuse/repurpose all kinds of, well, trash basically, into some damn cool stuff. Heck, Bernie’s famous mittens are made from old sweaters!
And cotton is not the end all, be all fabric fiber, which I have no trouble finding either. Synthetic fibers are not just (or always) cheap either. They have specific qualities that cotton doesn’t, such as resistance to shrinking, moisture wicking, or can be spun into incredibly soft material like Minky. The oil companies have been allowed to get away with far too much for too long, and they should be held to account. But we don’t have alternatives developed yet to just cast these synthetics aside.
It’s not the corruption of capitalism for the bigger more successful companies to devour the littler ones. Capitalism is corrupted when the big companies lobby for laws that protect them from competition and the natural process of creative destruction.
Also, one of the most significant causes of wage stagnation in the US comes from the rise of healthcare costs. After WWII, the government instituted wage caps to try to combat inflation. Unions turned to securing benefits packages, including health insurance, creating the horrible employer based insurance system we have today. In addition, the government created insurance for the elderly and poor; in exchange for restrictions on the number of new doctors able to complete school and enter the field, in order to keep doctor pay from possibly dropping, the AMA agreed to let doctors accept reduced rates for Medicare and Medicaid patients. However, the increased life expectancy, baby boom, and innovation in safety and medical care stretched doctors too thin, leading to malpractice and the skyrocketing costs for malpractice insurance, causing doctors to increase their fees while the quality of care decreased. So there’s plenty of corporate greed, but that’s not the only reason people struggle to earn a living wage.

Michael says:


It’s also very much worth keeping in mind that discussions on recommended limits to screen time and, even more so video games, are relatively new things

I suppose by "relatively new" you mean "things that have only been happening since the very early ’80s," since that’s when I got Atari and my mom — and the media — started bitching about kids spending too much time watching TV and playing video games.

Whatever the case, forty years isn’t really "relatively new."

I don’t really care enough to do the real research, but here’s a Times article from ’83 that references the fears of video game addiction:

Anonymous Coward says:


You’d think, considering how widespread gaming is (moble games anyone?) that if it caused all these massive society wide ills we’d, you know, see evidence of that?

Yes of course there can be issues with people playing games to an unhealthy degree, and there are major issues in gamer culture and the way games are being marketed (loot boxes, predatory microtransactions) but games aren’t intrinsically harmful and it’d be lovely to see major publications stop hand wringing over nonsense points about them.

There are real issues with games and gamers that need real effort, ffs NYT focus on those.

Anonymous Coward says:


You’d think, considering how widespread gaming is (moble games anyone?) that if it caused all these massive society wide ills we’d, you know, see evidence of that?

Yes of course there can be issues with people playing games to an unhealthy degree, and there are major issues in gamer culture and the way games are being marketed (loot boxes, predatory microtransactions) but games aren’t intrinsically harmful and it’d be lovely to see major publications stop hand wringing over nonsense points about them.

There are real issues with games and gamers that need real effort, ffs NYT focus on those.

cattress (profile) says:

Moving target

Maybe instead of research money being spent on studies that are predetermined to find that yes, whatever activity children are interested in today that isn’t the same as what older generations did, (or seem to have imagined they did, when in fact, they were not doing those idealistic childhood activities of bike riding and climbing trees, they watched TV and talked on the phone like everyone else because it was the 70s and 80s, not the 50s and 60s) and therefore a destructive force of evil that is precisely the reason for what’s wrong with kids these days, we could actually study the best ways to teach kids how to self regulate and moderate themselves. Probably adults could use some tips, we are overindulgent too. The solution of "turning off the wifi during non-school hours" doesn’t teach kids anything but that you are an authoritarian dick, and a hypocrite that doesn’t trust them (hypocrite because all parents take their phone to the bathroom and play games or scroll social media, kids eventually figure out it doesn’t take that long to poop).
Better advice would be, before arbitrarily determining that all screen time not related to school work is inherently bad and rotting your kids brains, have an open mind, and try to cultivate a shared interest by asking your kids to show you how to play (and don’t ruin it with your adult lameness). Instead of setting strict limits, aside from bed time, and time to complete chores and school work, offer to introduce your kid to something you enjoy not screen related, or to take up an activity that you both might enjoy, like yoga or stargazing, or geocaching, which is kinda like Pokemon Go (of course based on your available time and money) and see how it goes. If you decide to put strict limits in place anyways, be prepared to come up with and put together pandemic safe activities that everyone will actually enjoy; normally a parent shouldn’t be responsible for constant entertainment, but the pandemic puts so many limits on activities that it makes you an asshole to take away the main source of entertainment left without coming up with viable alternatives.

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