Readings: Jean Twenge, “Have Smartphones Destroyed a Generation?” & Katy Waldman, “Frontiers of the Stuplime”
It’s easy to see why the bizarre, meandering class Waldman sits in on is controversial in academia. While there is debate over its usefulness and whether students are actually learning anything, one student notes, “The redemptive thing … is that no matter how hard we try to waste time indefinitely … we always make something of it. Mindlessness assumes, demands, spawns mindfulness.” Waldman is skeptical, writing, “Moment to moment, it submerges you in a dull wash of useless noise.” Twenge, meanwhile, claims smartphones carry great risks to mental health and adolescence overall, but that teenagers continue to use them anyway. At the same time, she writes, “I saw hopeful signs that kids themselves are beginning to link some of their troubles to their ever-present phone” even though “when [Athena] does spend time with her friends in person, they are often looking at their device instead of her.” Use these ideas to consider:
How can modern technology and its time-wasting be a productive source of fulfillment and self-reflection?
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