What's spoiling the kids: the big tech v. bad parenting debate
Without an extended family network, modern parents have sought to raise happy kids in a "hostile" world. It's a tall order, when youngsters absorb the fears (and devices) around them like a sponge, writes Julián de Zubiría Samper in Colombian daily El Espectador.
A 2021 report from the United States (the Youth Risk Behavior Survey) found that 42% of the country's high-school students persistently felt sad and 22% had thought about suicide. In other words, almost half of the country's young people are living in despair and a fifth of them have thought about killing themselves.
Such chilling figures are unprecedented in history. Many have suggested that this might be the result of the COVID-19 pandemic, but sadly, we can see depression has deeper causes, and the pandemic merely illustrated its complexity.
I have written before on possible links between severe depression and the time young people spend on social media. But this is just one aspect of the problem. Today, young people suffer frequent and intense emotional crises, and not just for all the hours spent staring at a screen. Another, possibly more important cause may lie in changes to the family composition and authority patterns at home.
Firstly: Families today have fewer members, who communicate less among themselves.
Young people marry at a later age, have fewer children and many opt for personal projects and pets instead of having children. Families are more diverse and flexible. In many countries, the number of children per woman is close to or less than one (Singapore, Taiwan, South Korea, Hong Kong among others).
In Colombia, women have on average 1.9 children, compared to 7.6 in 1970. Worldwide, women aged 15 to 49 years have on average 2.4 children, or half the average figure for 1970. The changes are much more pronounced in cities and among middle and upper-income groups.
Of further concern today is the decline in communication time at home, notably between parents and children. This is difficult to quantify, but reasons may include fewer household members, pervasive use of screens, mothers going to work, microwave ovens that have eliminated family cooking and meals and, thanks to new technologies, an increase in time spent on work, even at home. Our society is addicted to work and devotes little time to minors. [...]
— Read the full El Espectador article by Julián de Zubiría Samper, translated into English by Worldcrunch.
• U.S. strikes Iran-backed facilities in Syria: The U.S. military carried out multiple airstrikes in Syria on Thursday night against Iran-aligned groups blamed for a drone attack that killed an American contractor, wounded another and hurt five U.S. troops at a coalition base near Hasakah in northeast Syria. Both the attack on U.S. personnel and the retaliation were disclosed by the Pentagon at the same time late on Thursday.
• Charles III’s visit to France postponed as protests against pension reform continue: Amid growing anti-government protests, French President Emmanuel Macron has postponed King Charles III's visit to France slated for Sunday, which would have been his first trip abroad since taking the throne. More than a million people took to the streets across France on Thursday against the controversial pension reform, with 80 people arrested across the country, and another major strike and protest slated for Tuesday.
• North Korea’s new nuclear-capable underwater attack drone: North Korea tested a new nuclear-capable underwater attack drone, as leader Kim Jong Un warned joint military drills by South Korea and the U.S. should stop. During the test, the new North Korean drone cruised underwater at a depth of 80 to 150 meters (260-500 feet) for over 59 hours and detonated a non-nuclear payload in waters off its east coast on Thursday.
• U.S. and Canada reach deal to reject asylum seekers: The US and Canada have reached a deal to block asylum seekers at unofficial border crossings. The move closes a loophole created by Ottawa’s 2004 asylum agreement with the U.S. where migrants have to make their asylum claims, which prevented Canada from turning away people trying to enter at unofficial crossing points. As a part of the deal, Canada will now also create a new refugee program for 15,000 migrants fleeing persecution and violence in South and Central America.
• Netanyahu vows to continue with legal reforms: Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has said he will press on with controversial reforms to the nation’s justice system that critics say undermine democracy. One piece of the reform was passed on Thursday making it harder for courts to remove a leader deemed unfit for office, which coincides with Netanyahu currently standing trial for corruption.
• Fugitive “cryptocrash” boss arrested in Montenegro: South Korea police say that Do Kwon, the fugitive cryptocurrency boss behind the $40 billion collapse of the terraUSD and Luna tokens, has been arrested in Montenegro. Charged with fraud by U.S. prosecutors, Kwon is also being pursued by Seoul authorities who believe his company, Terraform Labs had violated capital market rules.
• Orbán v. AI rap battle: Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán has found himself at the center of an unlikely rap battle, after a German member of European Parliament, Daniel Freund, turned to AI-powered conversational chatbot ChatGPT to compose a takedown track about corruption in Hungary.
Demonstrations intensified across France to protest against the government's reform which raises the legal retirement age from 62 to 64. French daily Sud Ouest features the “anger that set Bordeaux ablaze,” as demonstrators in the southwestern city set off a fire in front of city hall.
Ford Motor Company announced its electric vehicle unit has lost $3 billion before taxes during the past two years, and is expected to lose another $3 billion on EVs in 2023. The U.S. company says its unit called “Ford Model e” will be profitable before taxes by late 2026, and should be viewed as a startup within Ford. “As everyone knows, EV startups lose money while they invest in capability, develop knowledge, build (sales) volume and gain (market) share,” said Chief Financial Officer John Lawler.
Russian leak reveals extent of country’s anti-war protests that Kremlin was hiding
Independent Russian media Vazhnyye Istorii/Important Stories has obtained a major data leak from the top Kremlin information agency that reveals the scale and extent of anti-war protests across the Russian Federation.
🇷🇺🔍 Since the beginning of the invasion of Ukraine, Russian government information agencies have repeatedly published public opinion polls showing that the overwhelming majority of Russians support Vladimir Putin's domestic and foreign policies, especially the war against Ukraine. However, an unprecedented large-scale leak of data from the Russian federal propaganda and surveillance agency shows that protest movements in 2022 were expanding across much of the Russian Federation.
✊ The most frequent protest causes were anti-war sentiments and the fight for ecology. Nearly half of all protests in Russia are one-person pickets. Only one in five protests gathered more than ten people. So-called "flower protests" were notable: Russians in various cities secretly brought flowers to places associated with Ukraine in solidarity with the victims of the missile attack on the apartment building in Dnipro.
🗺️ It is worth noting that the fewest anti-war protests were registered in the border regions of Russia, the only areas affected by military actions. On the contrary, the Bryansk and Kursk regions, close to the border with Ukraine, had the most activities supporting the war. Local activists and representatives of the communist and liberal-democratic parties of Russia are among the organizers of the protests.
➡️ Read more on Worldcrunch.com
“Thank you, Mr Chew, for bringing Republicans and Democrats together.”
— Rep. Dan Crenshaw’s quip came during a Congressional hearing of Tiktok’s CEO, Shou Zi Chew, over the social media platform’s alleged security threats. Chew’s evasive answers during the hearing, which was meant to assess the handling of U.S data and the effect of such platforms on children’s mental health, failed to convince lawmakers on both sides of the political spectrum that Tiktok did not represent a security threat. The Chinese social media risks being blocked in the U.S.
Demonstrators have draped the national flag of Israel and copies of the Israeli Declaration of Independence on the walls of Jerusalem’s Old City, to protest Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s judicial reforms. — Photo: Matan Golan/SOPA Images/ZUMA
✍️ Newsletter by Ginevra Falciani, Anne-Sophie Goninet, Inès Mermat and Renate Mattar