The Discussion Around ‘Have Smartphones Destroyed a Generation?’

I have a love/hate relationship with my smartphone so was compelled to read the article Have Smartphones Destroyed a Generation? that has been widely read and debated this week.

Through her research, Jean M. Twenge found that: “More comfortable online than out partying, post-Millenials are safer, physically, than adolescents have ever been. But they’re on the brink of a mental-health crisis.”

She calls this new generation that has grown up with smartphones ‘iGen’ and there are some startling facts and figures about how they behave and feel.

“The portrait of iGen teens emerging from the data is one of a lonely, dislocated generation,” she says. “In the next decade, we may see more adults who know just the right emoji for a situation, but not the right facial expression.”

Whilst this article was interesting and somewhat shocking (though unsurprising if you’ve witnessed teens on smartphones), I found the response Yes, Smartphones Are Destroying a Generation, But Not of Kids by Alexandra Samuel more helpful and insightful.

She paints a less dire picture and asks us to “Consider another possible explanation for why our kids are increasingly disengaged. It’s because we’ve disengaged ourselves; we’re too busy looking down at our screens to look up at our kids.”

She suggests we stop paying attention to alarmist attacks on kids’ screen time and pay attention to our kids. Her research suggests the way forward is to: “Embrace our role as digital mentors: actively encouraging our kids to use technology, but offering ongoing support and guidance in how to use it appropriately.”

Sage advice, though it does feel as parents and/or adults, we’ve been sucked into the smartphone void as well and need to find ways to get it under control in our own lives first.

Top of the Lake: China Girl, Starring Elisabeth Moss & Nicole Kidman

Top of the Lake: China Girl sees Detective Robin Griffin return to Sydney (after a lot bad stuff went down in New Zealand in season 1) and lead an investigation into a prostitute that was thrown over a cliff in a suitcase.

Uplifting, I know. It’s dark and seedy but intriguing and beautifully shot. Elisabeth Moss and Nicole Kidman are both excellent. Most of the male characters are sexist and repugnant and there is a particularly disturbing scene with a bunch of young guys on laptops in a cafe that will make your jaw drop.

It’s shot in Sydney and instead of seeing an idyllic city, which is usually how Sydney comes across on screen, we are shown a seedy underbelly. Jane Campion wrote and directed the series and fun fact: the character Mary (Alice Englert), who plays Nicole Kidman’s adopted daughter, is Jane Campion’s real life daughter.

Top of the Lake: China Girl airs on BBC First in Australia on 20 August or you can watch all episodes now with BBC iPlayer.

Watch the trailer.

Watch season 1 on iTunes or on ABC from 6 August.

 

Cherry Cottage in Leura, Blue Mountains

Cherry Cottage is a holiday rental in Leura, one of the prettiest towns in the Blue Mountains. Cosy, tranquil and well equipped, the cottage is situated in a picturesque part of the town, with Leura’s galleries, shops, cafes and restaurants a brisk 10-minute walk away.

There are three bedrooms and 2.5 bathrooms, as well as a fireplace, central heating, modern kitchen, entertainment system and free WiFi. The hosts are friendly, efficient and provide great local area tips.

The biggest perk, however, is the daybed on the large decked balcony, which overlooks the stunning gardens – a perfect position for a read, wine or nap (or all of the above in one sitting).

Cherry Cottage is around 90 minutes drive from Sydney and you can stay from $295 per night – excellent value given the quality and location of the cottage.

Book through Stayz (where it has near perfect reviews) or Airbnb.

Bang On Podcast – Two Friends Talk Music, Art, Life and Stuff

When I hear Zan Rowe on ABC’s Triple J radio, I often wish she was one of my friends. She seems fun, down to earth, knowledgeable and could get you free tickets to the best gigs.

So I’ve been deepening my non-existent friendship with her by listening to the Bang On podcast she co-hosts with (bonafide) friend and equally as delightful Myf Warhurst, where they discuss what’s been going on that week in music, art, life and stuff.

In the latest episode, they discuss:

Listen to Double J‘s Bang On podcast on the ABC Radio app, or via iTunes, RSS and other podcast apps.

Salt, Fat, Acid, Heat – A New Cookbook by Samin Nosrat

Salt, Fat, Acid, Heat is a new cookbook by chef, writer and teacher, Samin Nosrat. Designed to be your compass in the kitchen, the cookbook demystifies the four elements of good cooking – salt, which enhances flavour; fat, which delivers flavour and generates texture; acid, which balances flavour; and heat, which ultimately determines the texture of food – and shows that if you can master these, anything you cook will be delicious.

I can cook but I’ve largely been a follow the recipe type person.  I have high hopes that this will be the book that transforms me into one of those people that say: “I’ve only got these three obscure ingredients at hand but I’m going to whip you up something sensational.”

Trace – A New True Crime Podcast from the ABC

Trace is a new true crime podcast from the ABC. Mother of two, Maria James, was stabbed to death in the back of her suburban Melbourne bookshop in June 1980. Her killer has never been found.

Presented by ABC investigative reporter, Rachael Brown, Trace sifts through evidence to see whether police missed anything at the time, revisits suspects, and finds a new one of its own.

Two episodes in and I’m gripped. Warning: it’s gruesome and terrifying in parts.

Listen to the preview and podcast episodes.

Billabong Retreat – Yoga, Meditation, Nourishing Food, Only One Hour from Sydney

The vision at Billabong Retreat (located around one hour from Sydney CBD) is to create a healing space to reconnect with nature, ourselves and others, with the idea being that you will find peace of mind, contentment and discover wellness.

I know… it sounds trite (read about the wellness epidemic) but I did return home feeling more chilled and I credit that to:
(1) Getting out of town with a couple of girlfriends who rarely get the chance to drink tea and talk, uninterrupted
(2) Not having to get out of my activewear the entire weekend
(3) The beautiful organic vegetarian food
(4) Our enlightened, calm and wise yoga/meditation teacher who managed to convince us to carry on with meditation and gave excellent tips for how to incorporate it in our day. I’d go back just to be in her presence
(5) No wi-fi, patchy mobile coverage and alcohol being “strongly discouraged.”

There are plenty of accommodation options. The day spa offers a wide range of treatments if you want to amp up the experience. Check out the upcoming programs and book your stay.

Malcolm Gladwell’s Revisionist History Podcast Season 2

Revisionist History is Malcolm Gladwell‘s journey through the overlooked and the misunderstood. Every episode of the podcast re-examines something from the past – an event, a person, an idea, even a song – and asks whether we got it right the first time.

Season 2 is here and even if you’re bored by the idea of golf or “crack for rich white guys,” you will find the first episode (‘A Good Walk Spoiled‘) interesting and amusing.

About Revisionist History podcast.

Hungarian Paprika-Spiced Cauliflower Soup Recipe

This flavoursome cauliflower soup recipe is perfect if you’re bunkering down at home for the afternoon as much of the prep can be done ahead of time. I had no idea what nokedli were prior to eating this soup (they are Hungarian mini dumplings that are fried in butter and scattered on top of the soup) but I am delighted they are now in my life.

The following serves 4-6 people, involves around 40 minutes preparation and 80 minutes cooking time.

You will need:

  • 110 gm butter, coarsely chopped
  • 1 kg cauliflower, cut into florets
  • garlic cloves, finely grated
  • 2 tbsp thyme
  • 1 tbsp Hungarian paprika, plus extra, to serve
  • ½ tsp cayenne pepper
  • Finely grated rind of 1 lemon
  • onion, finely chopped
  • 1.5 litres (6 cups) chicken stock
  • To serve: sour cream and lemon wedges
  • ¼ cup each (loosely packed) flat-leaf parsley and dill 

Nokedli

  • 150 gm(1 cup) plain flour
  • eggs, lightly beaten
  • For tossing: olive oil

View the full recipe.

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