Benumbing young brains

My friend Adrie Kusserow of St. Michael’s College in Vermont, whom I met at the Gross National Happiness USA conference there this summer, is currently in Bhutan working with Pek of the Bhutan Centre for Media and Democracy on the very important issue of media literacy. This story in Kuensel looks a bit at what they’re doing and how they’re being received:

“After a three-year research in South Korea found that internet addiction was a psychiatric disorder, professor Jon Hyde said some parents took their children to a media-free school to recover from internet addiction. “More and more of entertainment makes youth numbed out and overwhelmed but not empowered,” he said.

On education, professor Adrie Kusserow said that there has been an over romanticisation and saturation in the digital media.

She said school principals in US are building websites to communicate with students and parents. “There is a Walt Disney fixation of learning because it’s assumed that children won’t learn if it wasn’t done another way,” said Professor Adrie Kusserow.

She explained how her 11-year old daughter played the super princess speller, an online spelling game where, if misspelt, she fell down from the castle into an ugly man’s arm. “The princess was of course blond and thin and sexually mature like no other 11-year old girl,”professor Kusserow said.”

Of course, it’s not just kids who are digitally addicted….I fight it all the time. Just before I noticed that virtually everyone around me at the farmer’s market was on their smartphone.


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