Best of the Web: Instant gratification behind teen anxiety, and more

The role of instant gratification in teen anxiety, the shallowness of skim reading, and no time to be a more productive parent.

Our selection of thought-provoking and useful articles from around the web on educating and raising children.


Instant gratification behind teen anxiety epidemic, but parents can help

(Madonna King, ABC News)

This report begins with a telling anecdote. A group of teen girls at school is practising breathing techniques. The school counsellor frets they only have a couple of minutes with them – because if the girls don’t master it in two minutes, they will consider they have failed. The author, who wrote Being 14, says our teen girls are living in a world of instant gratification, which is fueling an epidemic of anxiety. And parents are modelling the behaviour.

Skim Reading the New Normal

(Maryanne Wolf, The Guardian)

How are you reading this page? Did you sample the first line, then word spot through the rest of the text? If so, you are skimming, what is becoming the new norm in the digital age. In doing so, you’ve reduced the time allocated to deep reading – and your brain is unable to grasp complexity or create your own thoughts. This popular post from The Guardian looks at what humankind stands to lose.

No, I don’t have a minute to be a more productive parent

(Marie Holmes, The Washington Post)

Life hacks are being offered everywhere, with expert advice about how to be a better you. Parents are a favourite target: do this and you’ll have more time for that. The author, who has two kids and a life she likes, is rebelling, admitting that she is squandering time. ‘I sleep. I exercise. I read long news articles. I am a terrible thief, stealing time from myself.’ And she has no intention of changing.

Do Young Kids Care About Your Success or Your Heart?

(James McConchie, Greater Good Magazine, Berkeley)

In the adult world, we are all familiar the prestige that comes from high status. As the article notes, we admire, for example, world leaders, athletes and movie stars. A recent study looked to toddlers to better understand we behave this way, using a puppet show for different role play scenarios. The findings show that toddlers prefer high-ranking people – but only if they don’t hurt others.

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