FCC Elbowing Its Way Between Teens and Their Gadgets

by Liz Colville

The FCC is holding a panel in D.C. next Tuesday to discuss the effect that technology is having on teenagers, a bold move considering that all of the concern about how technology is melting us has so far been confined to the New York Times (where news of this forum also happens to live, and, ha, which apparently “inspired” the FCC to hold the panel.) People like Jane Lynch will be participating, and the Pew Internet and American Life Project will be presenting its macabre recent study, “Teens and Mobile Phones.”

What will come out of the day’s events? Hopefully action, because some of the stats are worrying enough to drop the jaws of even the most complacent non-teens and non-parents. For instance, “a typical teenager texts every 10 minutes during waking hours.” What.

But why the FCC, which regulates things? A spokesperson for the commission confirms that the panel is “not about considering regulation.” In fact, the FCC is still actively pursuing more computer and broadband Internet access in schools, says the Times’ Bits blog. The panel is really about “balance,” that gentle word, and it will also look at how to “steer” children toward “more educational content” online. But…”steering” is not something anyone on the Internet is capable of doing.

Incidentally, while writing this our buddy MoonBat sent a link to a Psychology Today piece on how young people needs to “take their heads out of their apps,” so to speak. The older lady author who wrote the post says her own grown-up children are nearly as bad as her grandchildren, eeek! She writes that people of her generation, on the other hand:

…still stroll through the park gazing at the beautiful leaves turning color, the awesome color of the sky in the early morning, while others, at 7:00 a.m. are already palm to ear, listening, responding, searching.

Big deal! Our increasingly empty brains are scary and dark! While looking for things in them we just keep bumping into walls and falling down manholes. The Internet feels like a warm beacon shining a light on the ever-expanding emptiness within. Look, the Paris Review even has a whole series about smart people doing just that! So it must be cool.