Sugestão de leitura: ""The Winter of Our Disconnection"" de Susan Maushart

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A escritora Susan Maushart, preocupada com o tempo que os três filhos passavam a navegar na internet, convenceu-os a passarem seis meses desligados da rede.
Maushart, que diz que a experiência foi "um alívio", escreveu todo o processo em livro, "The Winter of Our Disconnection" (em português, "o inverno da nossa desconexão"), ainda não publicado no nosso país. Os filhos de Maushart aprenderam "a fazer uma coisa de cada vez" e um deles mudou mesmo a sua área profissional.
A ideia surgiu em 2008, durante uma conversa com um dos jovens enquanto jogava videojogos e, confrontado com a pergunta sobre como seria a vida sem as novas tecnologias, ele respondeu que "seria uma chatice". Pouco depois, televisores, computadores e smartphones deixaram de entrar pela porta da casa de Maushart. Na universidade, era permitido o uso do computador e os telemóveis convencionais também não foram banidos. Como é que Maushart convenceu os três filhos a alinhar na experiência? Ofereceu-lhes parte dos lucros se sempre editasse o livro.

A historia contada na BBC Radio 4: "How one mother imposed techno-silence on three angry teenagers for six months - and lived to tell the tale.."

Título: The Winter Of Our Disconnect
Autor: Susan Maushart
Editora: Bantam Australia

Um excerto: para ler aqui

The winter of their disconnect - how Susan Maushart and her family lived without technology for six months

  The Daily Telegraph May 15, 2010

Susan Maushart com os filhos Bill, Sussy e Anni Christensen. foto: Richard Hatherly

RAISING three teenagers as a single parent is no Contiki Cruise at the best of times. But when I decided we should all set sail for a six-month screen-free adventure, it suddenly came closer to The Caine Mutiny, with me in the Bogart role.
There were lots of reasons why we pulled the plug on our electronic media ... or, I should say, why I did, because heaven knows my children would have sooner volunteered to go without food, water or hair products. At ages 14, 15 and 18, my daughters and my son don't use media. They inhabit media. And they do so exactly as fish inhabit a pond. Gracefully. Unblinkingly. And utterly without consciousness or curiosity as to how they got there.
They don't remember a time before email, or instant messaging, or Google. Even the media of their own childhood - VHS and dial-up, Nintendo 64 and "cordful" phones - they regard as relics, as quaint as inkwells.
They collectively refer to civilisation pre-high-definition flatscreen as "the black and white days".
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My kids - like yours, I'm guessing - are part of a generation that cut its teeth, literally and figuratively, on a keyboard, learning to say " 'puter" along with "mama", "juice" and "now!". They're kids who have had cellphones and wireless internet longer than they've had molars. Who multi-task their schoolwork alongside five or six other electronic inputs, to the syncopated beat of the Instant Messenger pulsing insistently like some distant tribal tom-tom.
Wait a minute. Did I say they do their schoolwork like that? Correction. They do their life like that.
When my children laugh, they don't say "ha ha", they say "LOL". In fact, they conjugate it. ("LOL at this picture before I Photoshopped your nose, Mum!")
They download movies and TV shows as casually as you or I might switch on the radio. And when I remind them piracy is a crime, they look at one another and go "LOL". These are kids who shrug when they lose their iPods, with all 5000 tunes and Lord-knows-what in the way of video clips, feature films and "TV" shows (like, who watches TV on a television anymore?). "There's plenty more where that came from," their attitude says.
And the most infuriating thing of all? They're right. The digital content that powers their world, like matter itself, can never truly be destroyed. Like the Magic Pudding of Australian legend, it's a dessert bar that never runs out of cheesecake.
There's so much that's wonderful, and at the same time nauseating, about that.
The Winter Of Our Disconnect - aka The Experiment (as we all eventually came to call it) - was in some ways an accident waiting to happen. Over a period of years, I watched and worried as our media began to function as a force field separating my children from what my son, only half-ironically, called RL (Real Life). But, to be honest, the teenagers weren't the only ones with dependency issues.
Although a relatively recent arrival to the global village, I'd been known to abuse information too. (Sneaking my iPhone into the toilet? Did I have no self-respect?) As a journalist, it was easy to hide my habit, but deep down I knew I was hooked.
The Winter Of Our Disconnect started out as a kind of purge. It ended up as so much more. Long story short: our digital detox messed with our heads, our hearts and our homework. It changed the way we ate and the way we slept, the way we "friended", fought, planned and played. It altered the very taste and texture of our family life. Hell, it even altered the mouth-feel.
In the end, our family's self-imposed exile from the Information Age changed our lives indelibly - and infinitely for the better.
At the simplest level, The Winter Of Our Disconnect is the story of how one highly idiosyncratic family survived six months of wandering through the desert, digitally speaking, and the lessons we learned about ourselves and our technology along the way. At the same time, our story is a channel to a wider view into the impact of new media on the lives of families, into the very heart of the meaning of home.
"Only connect," implored EM Forster in his acclaimed novel Howard's End, published a century ago.
Ninety-nine years and one trillion web pages later, "only connect" is a goal we have achieved with a vengeance. So much so that our biggest challenge today may be finding the moral courage to log off .
Today, some 93 per cent of teenagers are online. Three-quarters own an iPod or MP3 player, 60 per cent have their own computer and 71 per cent a cellphone, according to figures from the 2007 Pew Internet & American Life Project. But the most provocative statistics are those that show
how intensely our children interact with their media.
In a large-scale study of young people who use media, conducted in 2005 - ancient history already - up to a third told the US-based Kaiser Family Foundation they were using multiple electronic devices simultaneously "most of the time".
An average American teenager spends 8 1/2 hours a day in some form of mass-mediated interaction. That's more time than he or she will spend doing anything else, including sleeping. Because media use in families is directly correlated with income, the figures are higher still in households at the more affluent end of the socio-economic spectrum, and where parents are more highly educated.
For Generation M, as the Kaiser report dubbed these 8-18-year-olds, media use is not an activity, it's an environment: pervasive, invisible, shrink-wrapped around pretty much everything kids do and say and think. How adaptive an environment is the question - and the answer, not surprisingly, seems to depend entirely on whom you ask.
The Pew Project found that, among teens, 88 per cent are convinced that technology makes their lives easier. A decidedly more ambivalent 69 per cent of parents say the same - although two-thirds also make some effort to regulate their children's use of media in some way (rules about safe sites, file sharing, time use, etc.).
Yet an astonishing 30 per cent of parents believe media has no effect on their children one way or the other.
Maybe that's wishful thinking. On the other hand, maybe it's not wishful enough.
I happen to believe that the possibilities held out to us by media are hugely exciting. I am not a Golden-Ager, lamenting the decline of the candle in a neon-lit world. Not in the least. I love my gadgets. I think my life is enhanced by technology. And I know the world at large is.
Yet the idea that there might be a media equivalent of what micro-finance guru David Bussau calls "an economics of enough" continued to occupy my thoughts.
It was an intriguing set of questions, but how could I test my hypotheses/hunches?
That's when I remembered Barry Marshall - the Australian microbiologist who won a Nobel Prize in 2005 for the simple but astounding discovery that stomach ulcers are caused by bacteria. Not stress, or spicy foods, or excess acid. Germs. Plain old germs. In retrospect, it seems so obvious. In the early '80s, Marshall's theory was dismissed as outlandish - especially by the pharmaceutical companies that underwrite the clinical trials by which medical research is tested. Frustrated but undaunted, Marshall decided to take matters into his own hands ... indeed, into his own stomach lining. He swallowed some of the bacteria in question and waited to see whether he would develop an ulcer. He did. And the rest - give or take a decade of intensive further research - is history.
So it occurred to me: if Marshall could use his own life as a petri dish, why couldn't I? (Gulp.)

* this is an edited extract from The Winter Of Our Disconnect by Susan Maushart, published by Bantam Australia.

About the author:
Columnist, author and social commentator Dr. Susan Maushart is a mother of three teenagers - and still finds time to be a control freak. For over a decade, her weekly column has been part of a balanced breakfast for readers of the Weekend Australian Magazine. Maushart is heard regularly on ABC Radio's popular online series Multiple Choice, and is a Visiting Fellow at the Institute of Advanced Studies at the University of Western Australia. Her four books have been published in eight languages, and her essays and reviews have appeared in a host of international publications. She holds a PhD in Media Ecology from New York University, but puts it down sometimes to do the vacuuming. Maushart's first book was the award-winning Sort of a Place Like Home, a history of the Moore River Settlement (later depicted in Philip Noyce's 2002 film classic Rabbit-Proof Fence). The bestselling The Mask of Motherhood (Penguin 2000) was hailed by the London Times as "a feminist classic," and Wifework: What Marriage Really Means for Women (Bloomsbury 2002) started arguments right around the globe. Her latest book, What Women Want Next (Bloomsbury 2007), looks at the question of feminine fulfilment in a postfeminist world. She is currently writing a book about the impact of digital media on family life - LOL!!! - and believes passionately in apostrophes.
E-mail: susan.maushart@gmail.com

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