It was fun. They laughed a lot. "I have worked with many groups, but this one was particularly engaged and motivated", shares Alex Melnikova, a co-facilitator at Focus Inside ethical tech hackathon that happened on Thursday. Instead of a boring pitch, one group decided to impersonate their solution.
This is the most burning question for parents of all children. Should I allow my children to use technology (hint: Steve Jobs did not allow his kids to use iPads and many Silicon Valley executives send their kids to a low-tech school)? How much tech is too much?
This was the question we've asked UK's leading parenting experts - bestselling author Noel Janis-Norton, journalist and author Liat Hughes Joshi, founder of Kinfo app that helps parents explore non-digital activities for kids Isabelle Delmas, and founder of Consciously Digital and organizer of Focus Inside Anastasia Dedyukhina.
First, Anastasia talked about why it's important to control kid's time online. She explained the four stages of "hooking" our brain on technology and why our devices are so irresistible. She mentioned research showing that tech overuse may make them overweight, create sleeping problems, interfere with developing communication skills and slow down the development.
In the second half, the panel moderated by Liat Hughes Joshi focused on how and what to do to help children balance their behaviour. One of the key messages from the panel was that parents should not be children's entertainers. They must set up very strict time and place boundaries for using tech, and require that children do more things that create natural source of dopamine, like sports, to avoid digital addiction. They also recommended that parents should hold schools accountable for how tech exactly is being used there and not simply accept the suggestion to use more technology in the classrooms.
Feedback from participants has been overwhelmingly positive.
In the morning, we had a workshop taught by mindfulness expert Davide Neri, who talked about the importance of focusing on your own dreams and ignoring digital distractions if you want to stay true to your life purpose. Attention is what matters in the age of digital distractions. What you pay attention to, becomes your life.
Davide is founder of y-ourway.com and is on a street tour around the world, coaching people in the streets on how to be happier and live a life with a purpose.
Attendees said his workshop was "not for the faint-hearted", and "incredibly inspiring". Congrats, Davide! (in the picture with Focus Inside founder Anastasia, whose purpose is to help people have a healthier relationship with tech)
More events at Focus Inside are here.
Focus Inside launch night and panel on how tech is changing us was sold out. Very inspiring tips from our panelists. Award-winning photographer Anna Radchenko suggested to leave your phone away from you if you want to be creative, when working. NHS psychiatrist Henrietta Bowden-Jones recommended to do more sports to get the "natural" pleasure that helps substitute the one our devices give us. UCL's Rob Smith, a specialist in AI with 30 years of experience, encouraged everyone to get your news from humans, not bots or software, as much as possible. And Kwame Ferreira from impossible.com told us he doesn't use any social media, and thinks it doesn't interfere anyhow with his life or business (Kwame is a kind of a celebrity so he knows what he's talking about). Five more days to go. Check our workshops and full program here.
Our Wednesday event on Perils of technology is almost sold out. Bringing together UK's leading experts in parenting, we will talk about how parents can get back in charge of their children's screen and why it's important to do so. Featuring TEDx speaker and author Anastasia Dedyukhina talking on the neuroscience of digital distractions, best-selling parenting books author Noel Janis-Norton from Easier, Calmer, Happier Parenting, founder of Kinfo app Isabelle Delmas, and journalist and writer Liat Hughes Joshi.
Last tickets here