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May 6, 2019 / philosophermouseofthehedge

Winner of Best Phrase ever

Winner of the Best Phrase ever in the “Impacting Society” category is:  “Can’t we listen will all our face?”

No it’s not Shakespeare, Franklin, or any current political idiot person. Much more of the “common man”: a small boy trying to compete with his parents’ smart phone.

Kids learn early when adults are simply throwing stock phrase place fillers at them instead of actually paying attention. Dogs notice it, too.

Small girl dressed with hat, red jacket, and sword (1911. suffrage postcard/USPD.artist life,

“Who knew you’d have to fight to experience real life? Anyone want to pirate some time and actually play?” (USPD/

With all the superficial fake concern about how to address the escalating rage and violence in society, maybe there’s a simple starting point.

After running in to try and find out why a news helicopter was repeatedly circling the school complex around the corner, (That turned simply a bored reporter looking for something other than traffic. But you always worry.) I was halted by a show – and dodged in and out to catch it while readying the things for an expected deluge. (which is something for me as if it’s not raining, I’m usually not tuned into phone or TV)

Obviously screen time on smart phones and computers are changing brain functions, society and behavior in society.

Children and adult are talking face to face less which means less time to practice communicating ideas, less acquiring and use of rich vocabulary of specific words to share thoughts accurately, and less time to participate cordially in give and take exchanges of differing views – without resorting to yelling, name calling, character assassination, or hitting out of frustration from inadequacy with face to face encounters.

While familiar with the research data, actually watching the kids during these studies is, well, it’s disturbing.

One boy, Jensen, obviously was mirroring the phrases his mother used to keep his attentions in other situations. No response despite his efforts 7 times.

Heart breaking was the little girl in pink, Hunter, who tried just about everything – good and bad – to get her mother to respond during one study session. Finally the child, realized it was hopeless – mom not available – simply gave up. Sat dejected down in a chair.

More significant to me is that when the 2 minute “only look at the phone” period was up and her mother put down the phone and tried to interact with the child, the little girl really didn’t respond to mom – refused – out of anger or resentment? What lessons learned so early.

Parents are the training ground for all future social interactions.

Here’s the introduction video with links to the rest of the show, “ScreenTime” below.

Part I. The scene at the aquarium is really familiar. How many times have you seen that yourself? Also the astute observation by a performer on stage: “If you’re looking at me through your phone, you’re not looking at me.” Meet the family with teens they follow in the show. Can they stand being only in real life?

Part 2. Ah, the babies and the little ones. Back and forth; back and forth human interaction – that’s how children learn…no matter how cute the program/app is, it’s not as good as eye to eye contact and feedback. Another concern is a child with a screen focuses on one direction: straight ahead which means the muscles that move the eyes left to right and back and forth are not getting plenty of exercise to gain strength that will be necessary for learning read. Out of shape muscles make reading much more tiring – less fun and more like hard work – so some prefer to not read unless forced.

Part 3 “The war for your attention.” Ah, the wonderful, old phones . We flipped over the tiny flip ones – before Apple, 2007. Then came the savvy marketers..and behavior designers.all by design. Serious manipulation not even noticed by users. Compulsive habits or addiction – all by design. Scary, yet?

Part 4 “What about schools.” And teenagers and their parents. Great shot of instructor grabbing student’s phone and asking parent to stop interrupting his class. What is working (like a low tech “Phone Home”) or not working in high schools. What teens themselves say. Is screen awareness an antidote for Facebook, social media bullying, and depression in teens?

So maybe there’s answers to so much rage and anger around these days.

Can we each re-learn how to listen with all our face – or is it too late?

Phil, the Philosopher Mouse of the Hedge

girl on ice.(Heath?Snow Queen. Hans Andersen's Firy tales 1913/USPD.pubdate, artist life/

Who needs volcanoes, asteroids or climate change? Humans seem capable of creating a cold, dark world of isolation all on their own. (USPD/


  1. RKLikesReeses / May 6 2019 1:34 pm

    What a mess. I couldn’t watch all of that. It was too painful. Saw young woman who was wrangling 2 kids and a shopping cart on Sunday. Did she ever get off her phone? I doubt it. She was talking and texting. But she still pretended to pay full attention to the kids.😥
    What are we creating???


    • philosophermouseofthehedge / May 6 2019 2:22 pm

      The first generation of kids raised with smart phones is in progress. Have to wonder what people/research/analysts will have to say in 15-20 years about all this.
      It’s true parents have always had a lot to do and couldn’t pay attention all the time to their children, but this constantly luring and intruding device is a game changer. Mastering eye to eye contact and the ability to read/understand body language is so critical…can alter behavior…maybe violent /frustrated behavior. Worth a try – low cost – you’d think everyone would be on board with that.
      Thanks for screening a comment

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Maggie Wilson / May 6 2019 2:10 pm

    I couldn’t even click on the video – I knew it would be disturbing. It breaks my heart.

    Liked by 1 person

    • philosophermouseofthehedge / May 6 2019 2:25 pm

      Intervention needed! HaHa. OK it’s not funny, But with awareness there’s hope. The show isn’t as much about guilt tripping everyone, but simply saying take a look at this and consider. (and the privacy/marketing developing stuff was pretty stunning). Thanks for slipping by to chat

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Kate Crimmins / May 6 2019 2:15 pm

    Glad I didn’t grow up with this. Sometimes my mother tried to hide from me. (So many questions) I always found her.

    Liked by 1 person

    • philosophermouseofthehedge / May 6 2019 2:28 pm

      That’s so true – my mom had a rule about we had to stay quietly in our rooms for an hour + after lunch during the summer to read or anything but not bother her. She was on break. Funny we never questioned it…we had lots of books – no TV. Thanks for adding a big giggle

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Spinster / May 6 2019 3:51 pm

    Might anger myself by watching, so let me leave well enough alone.

    Liked by 1 person

    • philosophermouseofthehedge / May 6 2019 4:03 pm

      As a student of human behavior, parts of it would be interesting to you. Such weird animals – gotten so far away from the wilds that unable to recognize destructive behavior. Parts were interesting to see how people were combatting the head-down-to-screen trend
      On second thought traveling is so much more fun…unless you run into human behavior HaHa (Glad you survived. Whew!)

      Liked by 1 person

      • Spinster / May 6 2019 4:08 pm

        Good point re: student of human behavior. Will watch after work and report back.

        We run into walls… sorry… human behavior all the time in daily (and other) travel, don’t we. Surviving that daily is a feat in itself, especially depending on where one lives.

        Liked by 1 person

        • philosophermouseofthehedge / May 6 2019 4:13 pm

          The ability to fast forward is so wonderful – that and being able to “Mute” (where you can really see what it happening)
          I always wish the remote worked that way in real life! HAHA

          Liked by 1 person

  5. sustainabilitea / May 6 2019 6:04 pm

    Just reading the post and then the comments, I don’t think I could watch, either. I see so many moms walking with a child in the stroller while the mom is on her phone. Hey, wake up! You’re outside, your child is there. Look around, talk to your child, stop and show your child things. Another peeve: people sitting together at a coffee shop/restaurant/etc., all on their devices and not looking at each other or looking at each other but then always looking back at the phone. How many people walk along while looking at their phones, even in crowds? Grrrrrr!



    • philosophermouseofthehedge / May 7 2019 5:46 pm

      Oh, skip the babies and little kids ( you’ve probably already seen the same on America’s Funniest Videos anyway). The show isn’t meant to be a guilt trip, but an examination of what’s happening under our noses. The segments with the older kids were the most interesting – their comments offer some hope. (Glad the program pointed out that the CEO’s and big management people of Silicon Valley and similar areas send their kids to schools without technology and use pencil and paper. Many do not let their kids have smart phones (despite the tantrums) – one tech company management mom said she wasn’t giving her kids phones until 16-17 yrs. Should tell people something.
      When we were looking at brain scans of kids/young adults over 10 years ago, we noticed how differently areas of the brain lit up, which different unusual areas lit up, and to what intensity they lit up when subject was allowed to use smart phone and social media. We said then that this was going to be a real game changer for the species.
      I know what you mean about the bent neck and oblivious to those around them syndrome – it’s annoying.
      Thanks for sitting down to chat for a bit


  6. Ally Bean / May 6 2019 6:06 pm

    i dislike seeing parents on their phones while their [cute + smart] children are right there, ready/hoping to connect. I can imagine the emotional pain that being ignored will do to the next generation. We don’t have to live like this, yet many people do. No one on the other side of a screen is ever more interesting to me than the person in front of me. It all makes me sad.


    • philosophermouseofthehedge / May 7 2019 5:51 pm

      Your second sentence is the critical point. Lured into isolation – into a pale world – not gaining experience and skills with real communication or probably getting to know people who can become friends and be a real safety net in crisis. Frustration and anger when confronting real life (without spell check or delete) – could be a major problem for society as a whole. Screen worlds say they have a lot to offer, but it falls flat when compared with actual experiences with real things. It is sad, but the teen’s comment give some hope – maybe they will manage technology better as parents.
      Thanks for grazing these fields

      Liked by 1 person

  7. shoreacres / May 6 2019 6:13 pm

    This reminded me of a post I wrote ten years ago. I included a New Yorker cover drawn by Chris Ware, titled “Unmasked.” It was published just after Halloween. The man was prescient.


    • philosophermouseofthehedge / May 7 2019 5:33 pm

      What a fabulous cover! Astute for sure. Wish you’d consider reposting your writing on this topic.
      You know what research is: carefully controlled, repeatable experiment that shows clearly in no uncertain terms with indisputable facts what you suspected to be true/already knew to start with (and punctuated with a PhD’s name for PI…or it doesn’t count).
      Thought the comments by the older kids pretty interesting – there’s hope.
      Thanks for adding the perfect illustration.

      Liked by 1 person

  8. easyweimaraner / May 7 2019 12:00 am

    I like the modern things, but I’m glad I had a real childhood…


    • philosophermouseofthehedge / May 7 2019 3:46 pm

      Those who don’t run in the mud as kids seem to always be interested in dishing out the dirt when older? HaHa
      Nothing better than choosing natural entertainment. (and we have plenty of mud from all the storms..rainwalk and splashes for everyone!)
      Thanks for adding a smile

      Liked by 1 person

  9. The Coastal Crone / May 7 2019 2:07 pm

    Interesting study. I wonder about very small children – babies to me – being given devices as if to get them out of the way. Would I have done the same when I was a young mother if we had had them? I don’t know. I hope not.

    Liked by 1 person

    • philosophermouseofthehedge / May 7 2019 5:21 pm

      30 min of Mr Roger’s Neighborhood was developmentally appropriate – and useful while fixing dinner – but other than that, available time better spent outdoors messing around. Kids won’t appreciate/feel at home in nature if they don’t experience it or the quiet outdoor sounds if they don’t connect when young. Listening and watching nature on screens doesn’t do the same job.
      Nothing wrong with technology, but society has to find a way to use it carefully.
      Thanks for clicking along


  10. Robin / May 8 2019 3:40 pm

    Scary, yes. Makes me so glad the parents of my grandsons decided on no screen time except for some face-to-face computer time with us once in a while. I don’t even think about my phone when I’m with them, but have to admit I’m bad about it when I’m at home by myself.

    I was raised on (and almost by) television. Makes me wonder what the difference might be. Great post. 🙂


    • philosophermouseofthehedge / May 8 2019 5:27 pm

      I spent most of my time outdoors – or reading when it was too hot – we had 3 libraries we could access (city, county book mobile, school) and checked 4-6 books out of each. It’s a miracle mom kept up with what books when where – she had boxes labeled for each library. We rarely watched Tv once we got one – and only after homework was done – but, boy, we loved the Sat. morning and afternoon shows!
      We unplugged the TV with little kid and limited it later, but she was too busy to really watch it. We like to do stuff rathe than sit around.
      Today’s marketing is so complex – old tv programs are so straightforward and simple by comparison ( and some of those show had show positive messages – surprisingly diverse and showing strong women long before their time – or those may be the ones we were allowed to watch. Parents did control what was viewed back then as well as the networks.
      I guess I’m an unphoned person – have a nice smart phone, but don’t lug it around all the time, won’t answer it if with a person or eating, and it is often out of charge. People laugh but know to leave me a message or text and I’ll get back when here’s time.
      I do worry about grand kid whose parents seem far too much like the smart phone ones in the studies.There will be a price to pay. Sigh. I was interested in the comments by the teenagers and high school kids – maybe having grown up with the lure and traps of social media/technology/gaming they will understand the pitfalls and therefore be better parents for their kids.There’s hope.
      Thanks for musing along

      Liked by 1 person

  11. LordBeariOfBow / May 13 2019 7:32 pm

    My daughter and my two granddaughters came down last week and stayed with us for a couple of days before heading back up to “the farm”. I don’t suppose my daughter went one minute without that damned mobile phone thing in her hand, fingers flying over the ‘keypad; sending very important messages and in disgust

    I asked if she ever put the damned thing down.

    I was told that she was getting the news she gets all her news on her phone. I suggested perhaps a newspaper my be better, thinking it would be good for the girls to actually see their mother reading something.

    I suppose that the next time they are down Ruby who’s now at school and is learning to read will have her own machine so that she can converse with her mother, which means also that I won’t get a chance to talk to her, as I do not will not use the damned things except to call people to actually talk.

    That video got me, I actually watched this one right through, I usually turn them off as I can’t follow the talking,( my bad hearing makes it very hard especially as the Yanks seem to speak very quickly) those mothers with their children I found disgusting, their babies wanting and needing them and being ignored because of this insane obsession with mobile/cell phones.
    Thank you Phil, I’m going to email a link to that ABC broadcast to my daughters

    Liked by 1 person

    • philosophermouseofthehedge / May 14 2019 8:52 am

      I’m one of the Un-phoned a great deal of the time – it doesn’t get carried around (too afraid it’ll get dropped in the dirt assorted messes outside and inside, well if I’m inside I’m trying to get whatever annoying thing needs to be done done so I can go do something else) And it doesn’t get answered if I’m with a real person. Not to mention it’s always running out of battery and not telling me. People laugh and know to leave a message or text and I will get back to them in a timely fashion – on my schedule: it’s my object to use, not the other way around.HA HA
      Might be a nice activist movement to ignite? There is something to be said about sequence of letters on paper – developmental for humans;/human brains.
      Glad the video played – I always worry about CR in different countries.
      Cheers so visit time happened with grandkids – (we played hop like a kangaroo among other things after weather related issues banned the planned fun.
      Take care (and will be over to finish that looooong piece later – great so far!)

      Liked by 1 person

      • LordBeariOfBow / May 14 2019 4:06 pm

        Thanks Phil 🙂 Always enjoy your posts and an convinced that you really are a true philosopher and that the mouse bit is thrown in to placate RC Cat


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