Be the parent, please: Stop banning seesaws and start banning Snapchat - AEI



Event Summary

In the past decade, children have been spending more time looking at screens and less time interacting with society. The new “screen” culture is leading the next generation down a path of attention problems, corporate monitoring, and physical and emotional harm, with horrific consequences ranging from cyberbullying to sex trafficking.

On Friday, AEI’s Naomi Schaefer Riley led a panel on how to respond to the rapidly growing problem, based on her recent book, “Be the Parent, Please: Stop Banning Seesaws and Start Banning Snapchat” (Templeton Press, 2018). The panelists discussed what happens to children in the digital age, how we can prepare our children, and how to correct the problem.

Data increasingly show the mass usage of smartphones and the potential harm on children. Media corporations are using vicious algorithms to control attention and collect data, exploiting vulnerable young people. Social technology is specifically tailored to draw people in and keep them from the outside world, and it is targeted directly at children. To ensure the well-being of our children and our future, the panelists called for the regulation of media corporations, community organizing through parent networks, and attentiveness to the problem at hand.

— Xavier Adomatis

Event Description

One year after the release of Naomi Schaefer Riley’s book, “Be the Parent, Please: Stop Banning Seesaws and Start Banning Snapchat” (Templeton Press, 2018), there seems to have been a turning point in American families’ relationship with technology, a kind of tech-lash. Large-scale studies such as the one recently launched by the National Institutes of Health are showing significant learning deficits for kids who spend hours on screens. Meanwhile, the deleterious effects of screen time on family life have become clearer than ever.

Silicon Valley has begun to respond with new tools to help parents, but there are serious questions about whether technology can undo the harmful effects of technology. Legislators are demanding answers, but is there really a role for Washington to play here? Please join AEI to discuss what the next year holds for families and tech.

Join the conversation on social media with @AEI on Twitter and Facebook.



11:45 AM
Registration and lunch

12:00 PM
Welcome and Introduction:
Naomi Schaefer Riley, AEI

12:15 PM
Panelist presentations:
Christine Emba, The Washington Post
Christine Rosen, The New Atlantis
Brooke Shannon, Wait Until 8th
W. Bradford Wilcox, AEI; Institute for Family Studies

12:55 PM
Panel discussion

Christine Emba, The Washington Post
Christine Rosen, The New Atlantis
Brooke Shannon, Wait Until 8th
W. Bradford Wilcox, AEI; Institute for Family Studies

Naomi Schaefer Riley, AEI

1:30 PM

1:45 PM

Event Contact Information

For more information, please contact William Kessler at [email protected], 202.8627193.

Media Contact Information

For media inquiries or to register a camera crew, please contact [email protected], 202.862.5829

Event Speaker Biographies

Christine Emba is an opinion columnist and editor for The Washington Post. Previously, Ms. Emba was the Hilton Kramer Fellow in Criticism at The New Criterion and a deputy editor at the Economist Intelligence Unit. She earned an A.B. in public and international affairs from Princeton University.

Naomi Schaefer Riley is a resident fellow at AEI, where she focuses on child welfare and foster care issues. Specifically, her work analyzes the role of faith-based, civic, and community organizations in changing the foster care and adoption services landscape. She also studies how socioeconomic factors affect foster care placement and services and the impact of the opioid crisis on child welfare. She is concurrently a senior fellow at the Independent Women’s Forum.

Christine Rosen is a senior editor of The New Atlantis, where she writes on the intersection of society and technological change, as well as bioethics and the history of genetics. She has authored several books, including “My Fundamentalist Education: A Memoir of a Divine Girlhood” (Public Affairs, 2005) and “Preaching Eugenics: Religious Leaders and the American Eugenics Movement” (Oxford University Press, 2004). Dr. Rosen’s essays and reviews frequently appear in The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, The New England Journal of Medicine, and The American Historical Review. She earned a Ph.D. in history from Emory University.

Brooke Shannon is the founder and executive director of Wait Until 8th, an organization that encourages parents to delay giving their children smartphones until eighth grade. She has a master’s in integrated marketing communications from Northwestern University and a B.A. in political science and communications from the University of Miami.

Bradford Wilcox is a visiting scholar at AEI, where he directs the Home Economics Project. Inaugurated in the fall of 2013, the research project explores the links between family structure and economic growth in 20 countries around the world — more specifically, how marriage and a strong family life foster free enterprise. Dr. Wilcox is also an associate professor in the department of sociology at the University of Virginia, where he directs the National Marriage Project. He is a fellow at the Institute for Studies of Religion at Baylor University and has been a research fellow at Yale University, a research associate at Princeton University, and a Civitas Fellow at the Brookings Institution. He is the coauthor, with Kathleen Kovner Kline, of “Gender and Parenthood: Biological and Social Scientific Perspectives” (Columbia University Press, 2013).

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