Unicycle #16 - Kids vs Internet
Hello dear friends :-)
The challenge of attention
Raising children in the era of the internet is hard in new ways. I regularly notice the bad example I’m setting for mine: they don’t get much screen time, yet I’m constantly doing stuff on my phone. Even when I’m playing with them and trying to give them my full attention, I’m distracted by thoughts of things to look up, messages to send, outstanding tasks I could do. That made me wonder if I’m training my kids to more annoying. After all, they’re competing for my attention against the internet, and the internet is very compelling.
Before our technology was so optimized to grab our attention, life was more boring. Playing with kids was among the most fun things you could do. Now it’s “scribble on paper” vs “see what’s up online”, and the tradeoff is harder to make. But Facebook can’t compete with “loud screaming”, so that’s how the kids win now.
I’m not saying there’s anything malicious here. It’s not my kids’ fault. If anything, it’s on me to give them the attention they need. I’m just making an observation about the unintended consequences of the incentives we create.
My theme of 2020 was writing. I wanted to build a writing habit and try with new ways of communicating. This newsletter is a part of that, and so is my experimental return to Twitter. Twitter’s changed a lot, and it’s become a great medium for consistent output. If you ignore the platform’s defaults and use it mindfully, it’s wonderful.
As the year draws to an end, I set myself the task of writing 50 Twitter threads in the next 50 or so days. Here are the first two:
Follow along this is your jam. I’m collecting them all in this thread (of course).
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