Dot Complicated: Holiday Media Management

Nov. 19, 2013 Ditch the tantalizing Instagram food shots and showy status updates. Halt turkey tweeting. Spare the live streaming of the family fest. MAYbe use the Pinterest prep cheat sheets if you must, but “may I so boldly suggest that this Thanksgiving, we focus on one-on-one conversations, instead of broadcasting our lives to the masses,” says (wait for it) Randi Zuckerberg.

Randi Zuckerberg’s “Stop Sharing on Thanksgiving” post halted me in mid-keystroke as I’m already halfway through her new book Dot Complicated: Untangling Our Wired Lives and it only just arrived. She’s also written a children’s book called “Dot” about media mindfulness and life balance that encourages kids to get outdoors, can’t wait to get ahold of that one.

Without a doubt, incredulous media mavens will note the irony that the former Facebook Marketing Director and older sibling of “anything for a buck, Zuck” is trying to untangle the giant hairball of social media’s encroachment on family face time sans digital distractions which they helped CREATE.

Some will add that the two siblings are monetizing from both ends of the media spectrum, others will feel the parenting tips to leverage the positives and dodge the negatives are ESPECIALLY timely given the escalating race for kids’ mobile mindshare as reported by Common Sense Media’s recent research showing the average amount of time children spend using mobile devices has tripled.

“72% of children age 8 and under have used a mobile device for some type of media activity such as playing games, watching videos, or using apps” reported Common Sense Media.

…(Wonder how many were biding time at the Thanksgiving “kids’ table” sharing these giggles and finds, considering use has almost doubled since just 2011)

I’m just thankful Randi Zuckerberg is using her TV air time and social media clout to add a strong shoulder shake to every snap-happy detailed-documenter out there to get a grip on media management and keep devices from causing divisiveness over the upcoming holidays. Best of all, no one can trot out the “must be a Luddite” dismissive trope, or “they don’t get social media” finger wag…

Even though it was Richard Louv who wrote, “The more high-tech we become, the more nature we need,” in Last Child in the Woods, and echoed again in The Nature Principle, it’s more than a little ironic that the same digitally savvy insight and parenting premise is put forth in “Dot” and Dot Complicated.” (both of which I’ll cover in a separate post)

Is it me or does it seem like tech titans and media industry pros who have children  themselves suddenly ‘get it’ very fast and often emerge as seasoned spokespersons and voices of reason within parenting communities? (A generalization I realize, but nonetheless a noteworthy pattern, especially with new parents or toddlers on the scene)   

From Randi Zuckerberg’s Thanksgiving post:

“This year, let’s take a day off from sharing our every thought and feeling with the world. Give thanks for the people in your life by giving them your undivided attention. The most meaningful thing we have to give is our time. Stop broadcasting and start listening.”

Amen and wow. Powerful words I could’ve written myself (and actually have in previous posts; see related reading at the end)

At the conclusion of her post she adds:

“Initially, I was going to suggest a total Internet black-out for Thanksgiving, but a tech boycott isn’t the answer. Our devices and our social networks do keep us connected, when we use them thoughtfully. It’s pretty amazing that I can see a relative’s face from across the country, or see photos instantly from a special event I wasn’t able to attend. Tech connects us when we use it mindfully. Enjoy your Thanksgiving (and, for some of us, Hanukkah) celebrations with the people– not the things– that matter most.”

Slow clap. It’s  just SO refreshing to hear that it’s not just naturalist heroes like Richard Louv, or media-focused parents like me who are hoping for a resurgence in shared autumn walks and outdoor fun playing catch football over hunched co-viewing of a stuffed face Snapchat or who posted what about whom on grandma’s wall or the teen’s Tumblr.

Finally, as we head into the holiday season with ads touting “Tech the Halls” (copywriter salute to Radio Shack for that cleverness) remember that when you give…you also receive. (distraction from being ‘in the moment’ in many cases) So here’s to media mindfulness…

Thanks for letting me share this little ‘public service announcement’ for some holiday cheer…Happy Thanksgiving!

A Silly Screen-Staver Jingle

by Amy Jussel, Shaping Youth

Tech the halls to make them jolly,
Fa la la la la, la la la la.
Eyes are now on screens, oh, golly!
Fa la la la la, la la la la.

Gone we now are, but we’ll share well,
Fa la la la la, la la la la.
Trolls and comments sometimes feral
Fa la la la la, la la la la.

See amazing fools before us,
Fa la la la la, la la la la.

Back to screens, the convos bore us,
Fa la la la la, la la la la.

Follow me for Twitter treasure,
Fa la la la la, la la la la.
While I tune out for my leisure…
Fa la la la la, la la la la.

“Pass the iPad” call of masses,
Fa la la la la, la la la la.
Fail to see without my glasses,
Fa la la la la, la la la la.

Ping! We’re joyous, any weather,
Fa la la la la, la la la la.
Birds all of a flock together
Fa la la la la, la la la la.

A few related holiday/media mgmt posts by Amy Jussel, Shaping Youth

Table Topics & Dinner Dialog Builds Intimacy With Kids

Deconstructing Thanksgiving Stereotypes: Media Myths with the Mediatrician

Behind the Scenes at the Macy’s Thanksgiving Parade (Journal of a 12-Year Old Dancer Participating)

Toy Joy or Consumption Junction? The Black Friday Hype Fest of the Holidays

Wrapping Up the Gift of Time in a Media Package

Games That Nourish Kids’ Minds, Souls & Tummies: Thanksgiving Food for Thought

The Future of Food & Media to Digest About Food for a Healthier Planet

Fed Up with Food Marketing to Kids? Nosh on Food Mythbusters New Short Film

Shaping Youth Through Philanthropic Gifting Fun

Clamping the Digital IV Drip

Media Slave, Reshaping Habits For More Fun

Amy Jussel On Kids Media Management & Childhood Matters Radio

Media Savvy Kids and Nature Deficit Disorder

Nature Rocks: Reconnecting Families with Planet Earth!

Toys R Us Throws Mother Nature Under the Bus

Media Management: Addiction vs. Agency Pt 1

Media Addiction vs. Agency: The Context of Control Pt2

Media, Medicos & Critical Thinking: Addiction Series Pt3 

The Nature of Tweens: Wired Worlds & Outdoor Ed

Generation Digital MIT Review &  Six Degrees of Susan Linn

Get ‘Em Outside!

Visual Credits: Craftminders Lead graphic


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