No Stopping

By Leanne Fry

I quickly opened Facebook last night. It was late, I shouldn’t have, but I did. I read a few posts, and then clicked on a video. 

It was an adorable toddler who was defending a pair of maracas, obviously considered to be hers, from her dad. Every time she left the room, he shook them. She would rocket back in, grab them from him and scold him. As her language primarily comprised of ‘no, no, no’, body language got a good look in and it was hilarious.

Then the video underneath it spooled into view. It was a seal, being chased by killer whales, that was shrewd enough to clamber onto the back of a boat to avoid the predators. I’m a sucker for animals, and wanting to know whether it survived, I clicked on it.

The next video to scroll up was an otter, facing the same scenario in Canada. It was a mother otter and it lost its pup in the onslaught. It too sought refuge on the back of a boat and the skipper ferried it closer to shore and away from danger. It was too late for the pup though.

Then I stopped. Because I know how to.

But our children need to learn that skill.

Think about TV. Unless you are binge watching a series, when an episode is over you get the option of taking a break.

‘These natural breaks are called “stopping rules” and they have existed in most forms of leisure for ever. Now, though, they’re being systematically destroyed by Silicon Valley. Everything is now designed to be endless..’

As this article says, ‘impulse control for kids is still a work in progress’.  So they don’t know how to stop, and the apps and games are designed to take advantage of that.

Who will teach them stopping rules? Who will teach them to apply stopping rules to new technology?

Read: Screen Junkies