8 hours without gadgets: second experiment by Katerina Murashova
Long-time readers of my column may remember that several years ago I conducted a small and, as it turned out, a dangerous experiment on friendly teens, inviting them to spend eight hours alone with myself and do anything, but not use any electronic devices. Of my 68 experimental subjects, only three of them coped with the task. The others interrupted the experiment, because more or less disturbing things happened to them. About how the second experiment was made on the same topic, read today.
Then my feeble organization and completely invalid according to the experimenter's results was simply amazingly popular with a variety of journalists. Apparently, the topic unexpectedly for me "hit the bull's eye." I hoped that someone (some real scientist) would repeat my experiment in a more rigorous way, but so far I haven’t waited.
When discussing the results with me, most of the interlocutors talked about gadgets and their impact on children (only yesterday I read some research that, on average, English preschoolers use four gadgets today). But several interlocutors turned my attention to another.
“Katerina,” they said, “for eight hours you deprived teenagers not only of electronics, but also of communication with people. In this case, the very essence of adolescence - communication with their own kind. So it is completely unknown what your experiment showed deprivation. Most teenagers do not know how to be alone with themselves - this seems to have come to light clearly. But what have the gadgets and their influence on children? After all, they are pretty much just a way of communication. Would they have the possibility of non-electronic communication ... "
"It is a reasonable assumption," - I thought, and decided, on occasion, to conduct another experiment. Today, I present to you his preliminary (out of 60 announced participants today 49 were shown) results.
The essence of the new experiment
So: in my new experiment, 49 adolescents participated, from 11 to 20 years old, including 26 girls and 23 boys. The task that they received from me on the eve of the summer holidays was, as always, quite simple: they had to choose one (any) person from their usual environment, get his consent to the experiment, and then spend at least eight hours talking with him , doing any work, but not using any electronic devices.
The algorithm of actions during these eight hours can be discussed with a partner in advance, and you can improvise - this was left to the discretion of the participants. When a pronounced discomfort occurs, the experiment was ordered to immediately interrupt, mark the time and describe the reasons in as much detail as possible.
I currently have 49 reports. Someone came to my clinic (I worked until mid-July), someone sent a report by mail, with two families I talked on the phone and two more on Skype.
The experiment was completed by 13 participants.
Nine of them were younger teenagers (from 11 to 13 years old), who chose one of their parents as partners for the eight hours. They either built something at the dacha together, or went for a walk - to the forest, to the lake, or together they walked around the city. One girl with her father just drove all these eight hours in a car along the Murmansk highway (first there and then back) and talked.
Two more are older teenagers who have chosen their boyfriend and their girlfriend as partners, respectively. They talked, ate, made love, and then just slept.
A twelve-year participant in the experiment together with an older brother (16 years) for eight hours with a break for food and bathing built a dog house at the site. (I will note an interesting thing: they do not have a dog. But after the labor achievement of the sons, the mother finally agreed to start her.)
And finally, the last one, a 14-year-old girl, went to the other end of the city and met there a former classmate, whom they had not seen for a long time. Girlfriends all eight hours just gossip, sipping tea with rolls, and did not even notice how time flew by.
Gadgets are pulling not only children, but also parents
And what about the other 36 people?
The absolute majority of them have chosen to partner with a peer experiment - a friend or girlfriend. Almost everything was discussed in advance: we will do this first, then this, and then this ... In 16 cases (that is, almost half) the experiment was interrupted at the request of the partner. In the rest, it was stopped by my correspondents themselves. Why?
In twelve cases, everything was formulated very clearly: the gadgets put aside to the far corner before the beginning of the experiment, like the Tolkien Ring of Absolute power (the expression of one of the experimental subjects), strongly pulled my teenagers to themselves - someone urgently needed to check the mail, someone waited for a response for something, someone was afraid to miss an important call ... At some point (usually at three or four o'clock), the call became simply unbearable and the experiment was interrupted.
Quote: “Listen, it’s even embarrassing to me somehow. You are my beloved friend, here we are talking to you, and I always think that I wrote there in the PB. ”
Another 16 people (who also chose friends or, which is especially piquant, “their boyfriend” and “their girlfriend”) interrupted the experiment, because they did not know what to do next. Unexpectedly, it turned out that their usual joint pastime largely consists of sharing some Internet jokes, listening to music, computer games, or watching movies. To spend eight hours together without all this, teenagers were not under force.
Quote: “We first became very bored, and I even got angry at him. And he, probably, on me. And then it became so ... sad, I guess. And we both thought and said to each other: what kind of friendship is this? It turns out that we, on our own, without a computer and play-out, are each other uninteresting at all? ”
Three couples (apparently, who came to about the same conclusions as the boys from the quotation above), broke off the relationship according to the results of the experiment. Quote: “It's good that I understood it now. Now I will look for someone who has something to talk about. ”
Four experiments were interrupted by the fault of the selected partner partners. In one case, the mother was called to the grandmother's hospital, in the other, unexpected guests came, and in two other cases, it seemed to me, the parents themselves were irresistibly drawn to all kinds of electronics.
And, finally, four more teenagers, as in the previous experiment, described directly neurological symptoms: “I’m used to the fact that all the time music or television. And here is a straight ringing in the ears. Dimka says something to me, but I don’t seem to hear him, I don’t understand the words. And such rainbow circles diverge. Dimka says: let's finish this case then. ”
They still want you
From surprises: eight thanks from parents. Quote: “Thank you so much for this experiment. I almost spent the first time with my daughter so much time in a row. We managed to talk about so much, I think I know her much better now, and she clearly understood something about me, and our relations in the family as a whole improved right away. And how stupid it is that for such a natural thing such an artificial reason is needed! ”
“How great it was! We didn't even need many words. We, it turns out, really understand each other well. And then we sat together on the beach with fishing rods and watched the sun go down. Just me and him. At some point I froze, and he noticed, silently brought a jacket and threw it over my shoulders. You know, I almost had tears in my eyes, and I almost realized for the first time: I have my son, and here he is, next to me! And he is almost an adult ... "
On the reverse side: “I haven't talked so well with my mother for a hundred years and have not spent time! It is a pity that this is only one such experiment was ... "
Pay attention, dear parents, complaining about teenagers who are buried in gadgets! They (at least the younger ones) actually want you! But they want, of course, not formal questions about their studies, but full-fledged communication, just being attentive to each other ...