Mixed Signals: Banning time

No. 38 – 4th of June, 2023

Change feels slow. Especially where we need it most.

Yet change is happening all the time. It wasn't too long ago, at my first proper job, that I would spend the entirety of my 10 hour shift answering the phone, and reading out the bank account balance on my screen for each customer.

That now seems like a tale suitable for a Dickensian adaptation.

Change requires outsiders. Mavericks. People who do things differently.

Here's to the outliers.

Enjoy! ~ GKT

Ban the veto

In the UK, the number of registered childminders has fallen by 80% since the 1990s. Part of the reason for that is the endless supply of red tape and regulations:

...a childminder today has to register with the Food Standards Agency and keep a legally-required “food diary” recording what food products you have bought, who you bought them from, the quantity and date, and log incidents like having “found a pack of sliced ham out of date in the fridge”.

Sam Bowman explores what causes supply constraints on the “big four” (housing, childcare, transport, and energy), and suggests a solution whereby only small groups of people most directly affected by new developments are the ones who can actually vote on those developments.

+ Democracy is the solution to vetocracy

Ban the smartphone

Oh, won't somebody please think of the children?

I'm not a big fan of moral outrage when it comes to tech. I spent much of my teenage years learning to code, and loved it. However, this was the early days of life online. There was no Instagram, or Snapchat, or TikTok. There was no endless scroll.

Not all screen time is created equal. Four hours of mindless 10 second videos is not comparable to the same time spent discovering how nuclear power is generated.

We also need to think about what tech displaces. I've no doubt that if my foster children didn't have screens, they would spend more time playing. They would be more active. They would spend more time with friends. They would be outside more often.

If it were my choice, I would be with this teacher. Or, I could just move to Ireland.

+ I’m a teacher – and this is why I’m not giving my son a smartphone yet

+ Irish town unites in smartphone ban for young children

Ban the cane

I believe we should understand children, not control or punish them. Today, these views are controversial. They go against what society believes. They're not supported by many schools, or social services, or others.

It can definitely feel like swimming against the tide.

It's worth remembering that corporal punishment in British state schools wasn't outlawed until 1987 (and not until 1998 for private schools). And it wasn't an easy battle. Grace Campbell had to take her case all the way to the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg, and was met with fierce opposition every step of the way.

+ How two parents stopped corporal punishment in UK schools

+ Related thread from Suzanne Zeedyk

+ Vaping & cigarette trends for teenagers

+ Body transfer illusion (always blows my mind)

+ Power of branding in one photo