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Distracted-- the Coming of a New Dark Age; Rob Kall Interviews author Maggie Jackson

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Maggie Jackson:-Well it doesn't seem at all to be connected to attention and distraction. But I was really intrigued by the way the surveillance of societies that we're surrounded by have trickled into the home.- The idea of people having no privacy, people being watched all of the time in a kind of "Big Brother" way, is now absolutely alive and well in homes.-

Families watch each other to an extraordinary degree, and especially parents watch children.- They use GPS, they're putting black boxes in cars, they're spying on every click of the kids' e-mails, etc., etc., etc.- They now have little computer software in school where the parents get a readout of every potato chip or French fry that a kid bought at school that day.- And parents check every single day to see what the kids bought.- It's extraordinary; this is spreading out all over the country.- So, I wonder... that's a kind of hyper-attention, a hyper-attentiveness, in some ways, that's keeping track of kids in a way that's at the other end of the spectrum of attention.- And I think that has everything to do with the lack of bodily togetherness.-

In other words, when we don't come together face-to-face, and especially when we feel that this is a world that we can't control as parents, we feel anxious about the world, then the next step is to spy on children.- And yet trust, and obviously surveillance is not...you don't trust someone who you're spying on, as much as the parents say it's the outside world I don't trust, in a sense, they're giving the message to kids they don't trust them.-

But, what is trust? Well, trust is a risk-taking.- You have to take a risk on someone in order to trust them; you have to not be hyper-vigilant.- And I think that comes back to the idea of the deeper relationship that you were talking about.-

How can we recover depth of relationships?- Well, in some ways, we live in this point-and-click society where everything is seemingly within our control. I think that is one reason...

Rob Kall:-Control. Control is the word that I wanted you to talk about.- Can you compare control versus self-discipline?

Maggie Jackson:-Well I can say that video games are a world, a wonderfully rich, complicated world of control.- You know, control is easy.- The "do-over generation," one Dutch researcher calls it.- In the real world, and I'm speaking about the physical world outside of the digital, you can't control the end point; you really can't.- There are human limitations, there's chance, there's serendipity; it's difficult.- And I think that when we enter in this world of controlling our view of our children and also when we're entering the world of living in video games, or second life, or whatever, we're really trying to escape from what truly are our human limitations.- At an enormous cost, finally, and eventually.

Rob Kall:-Cost?

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