the IT city, the I.T. Baby


They Wanted to See What Would Happen If They Took Tech from Kids for a Whole Day. It Was Fake…

panicIf you’ve been around the parenting boards for a bit you might have seen a new study by a child psychologist Yekaterina Murashova that tended to confirm that kids today are psychotic tech addicts who have suicidal thoughts if removed from electronics for eight hours.

It’s completely truthy, in that it’s news you want to agree with if you somehow suspect all our ills are from being too connected or this generation, but unfortunately there are problems with pretty much all articles I’ve so far found on that, and even the study I’m pretty sure they made up as nobody can provide a source link.

First off, nobody can seem to name what her book is, which is odd since claims it’s from her book, but just claims it’s an experiement from a working hypothesis but doesn’t give any source material. Amazon claims she had a book a few years back, so does Google. Weird. I’ve got PDF copies of their pages currently in case anything changes and they provide some backing. This is four days since the first posting I can find of this study.

One of them even links to a blank source page, because they evidently haven’t invented it yet.

So we’ll start with the book. In 2012 and 2014 there was an author by the name of Yekaterina Murashova that published a book in Russian. It’s out of print anywhere I can find it listed. Odd that these little sites that make money off of link tagging aren’t trying to source it.

Secondly the premise is that deprived of electronics for eight hours 68 students exhibited the following symptoms:

  • feelings of fear and anxiety
  • hot flashes
  • abdominal pain
  • nausea
  • dizziness
  • sweating

Five reported panic attacks, and three supposedly experienced suicidal thoughts.

Still – you suspect technology is the problem so you really want to believe this.

There’re a few things that aren’t mentioned… the first is that this same study was done in the 60’s… damned if I can find a source link, I read about it in the 90’s when I was wanting to be a psychology major. Either trust me or comb through old psychology text books that I’ve since gotten rid of.

The study as outlined at mentiones that the confines of the experiement are as follows:

  • No tech (yeah, tech’s the bad guy here)
  • No TV (evil electronics!)
  • Eight hours of this (oh the agony that these kids can’t be without tech eight little hours)
  • You can do whatever you want or go wherever you want (uh)
  • Don’t talk to anyone you know or socialize at all

Wait… they didn’t really talk about that last one much… it’s sort of hidden away… you have to read this line from Brightside that contains the information about that

After the termination of the experiment, 14 of the teenagers immediately logged in to social networks, 20 called their friends on their mobile phones, three participants called their parents, and five went to visit their friends in person.

Oh that’s not so bad… wait… they weren’t allowed to talk to anyone they knew.

The experiment was not “let’s remove tech” it was “you’re alone, you don’t exist for eight hours, you can’t talk to a friend, you can’t talk to your parents.” Oh sure, they were allowed to go out and exist in a world without anyone they knew and perhaps interact with a delicatessen clerk who would affirm that they in fact, did exist. Even if nobody they knew and cared about had talked to them in the past eight hours.

Yes, these supposed kids were experiencing an attack of the cares. What’s dad doing? I don’t know. What’s my best friend doing? I don’t know. What’s happening in the world? I don’t know. Are my parents still alive? I don’t know.

There are other hints as to that something was fishy with this.

One of them is “Looked out the window or strolled around the apartment” – wait, what apartment are we talking about? Another telling bit here is “Went outside to go to the store or cafe (it was forbidden to communicate with others according to the rules of the experiment, but they decided that sellers or cashier didn’t count)” “One boy spent nearly 5 hours riding buses around the city” wait what country is this from?

A kid left alone to their own devices in a city. I remember Home Alone 2.

Yup, no friends, no parents, no one you care about, not allowed to talk to anyone… that’s the experiment. That and teenagers allowed to disappear for eight hours. Does this start sounding vaguely fishy? A little unethical? I mean I hope this is fake because I can’t imagine the psychologist keeping her license.

You put a kid out in the world for eight hours on their own with nobody they know, no way to get in touch with anyone and not fail the experiment… yeah, these feelings of unease are all the phone’s fault. A supposed child psychologist set them alone in a city by themselves with noone to talk to, no one who cares. It’s your phone’s fault. Bad television.

But all the comments and where it’s being posted are “we didn’t have this or that growing up, kids these days, get off my lawn” because they want it to be the electronics.

Yeah, it’s the phone’s fault, not that the parents can’t impose any limits. Kids were better in your day when they talked to one another… oh wait, that’s what the kids were doing before you put them in an experiment where they can’t talk to one another in any fashion whatsoever.

So yeah, take your kid’s gadgets, then tell them they’re not allowed to communicate anything with anyone they know for eight hours. Totally harmless. Not like children need to know they’re loved or cared about.

I’m sure you’re going to see this garbage repeated over and over again by anyone wanting a reason why it’s all tech’s fault. Well, if it’s tech’s fault the parents need to heal themselves first and get off the internet, or you know, set limits which are extremely easy to enforce these days.

There’s no child psychologist that should be able to graduate in a first world nation that thought “you know, isolating teens from everything they care about all day might make a good harmless experiment.”

I could start naming countries the websites that initiated this article are based out of, but that’s still not particularly the point (hint, they’re clickbaitistanian). The point is even if you believe the study to be true, it was unethical. Kids were unsupervised and let loose, the results are entirely based on isolation from everyone they knew, and the technology aspect was a minor player in the game.

Want to mimic it? Give your kid $20, take their phone and say come back in eight hours. I’m betting DCS comes with them when they come back home.

Paul King

Paul King lives in Nashville Tennessee with his wife, two daughters and cats. He writes for Pocketables, theITBaby, and is an IT consultant along with doing tech support for a film production company.