Jean M. Twenge: "Nearly all phone activities are linked to less happiness, and nearly all non-phone activities are linked to more happiness."

What Do Happy Teens Do? Hint: It doesn’t involve their phones.

I was surprised to see how closely happiness maps to non-phone activities, and unhappiness maps to phone-related activities. The author notes that this is a study of correlation, not causation. When I went through moody phases as a teen, I wrote, or worked, or did theater, or church youth group activities.  When I was busy, I had less time to write. When I didn’t feel like going out, and chose…

Russian trolls ‘spreading discord’ over vaccine safety online

The good news is that there are fewer Americans think vaccination is a government conspiracy than your social media stream makes it appear that there are. The bad news is that somewhere out there is an organization that believes it will benefit from you believing that more people doubt vaccinations than really do. “The vast majority of Americans believe vaccines are safe and effective, but looking at Twitter gives the…

Small child propped on her elbows, using laptop computer.

Kids Whose Parents Limit Screen Time Do Worse in College, New Study Shows

  “Parents normally set these rules to promote their children’s scholastic development and to make sure that they invest enough time in schoolwork. But that evidently can also backfire,” commented Hargittai. But why exactly? The study can’t say definitively, but I emailed Hargattai to see what hypotheses she might have. “One possibility would be that such parents also create other rules or different contexts for their children while they are home…

America’s Real Digital Divide

If you think middle-class children are being harmed by too much screen time, just consider how much greater the damage is to minority and disadvantaged kids, who spend much more time in front of screens. |  According to a 2011 study by researchers at Northwestern University, minority children watch 50 percent more TV than their white peers, and they use computers for up to one and a half hours longer…

Your Students Learn by Doing, Not by Listening

Today one of my students gave a final presentation in the form of a branching hypertext (akin to the “Choose Your Own Adventure” novels). On the opening screen, the voice of the professor welcomes the students to the course, announces a the major term project, and then immediately dismisses the class. During the Q&A afterwards, I noted that instructor sure didn’t waste much time on lectures, and asked whether the…

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Bill Murray Admits A Painting Saved His Life

During a February press conference in London, where Murray was promoting “The Monuments Men,” he said: “I thought, ‘Well there’s a girl who doesn’t have a whole lot of prospects, but the sun’s coming up anyway and she’s got another chance at it.’ So I think that gave me some sort of feeling that I too am a person and I get another chance everyday the sun comes up.”