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The Poor Waste More Time On Digital Entertainment

Soulskill posted more than 2 years ago | from the rich-people-waste-time-on-golf-instead-of-entertainment dept.

The Almighty Buck 515

New submitter polyphydont writes "Children of parents with low social status are less able to resist the temptations of technological entertainment, a fact that impedes their education and adds to the obstacles such children face in obtaining financial comfort later in life. As explained in the article, poor parents and their children often waste both their time and money on heavily marketed entertainment systems. Such families often accumulate PCs, gaming consoles and smart phones, but use them only for nonconstructive activities."

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How DARE they! (4, Insightful)

crazyjj (2598719) | more than 2 years ago | (#40159229)

FTFA:

In the 1990s, the term “digital divide” emerged to describe technology’s haves and have-nots. It inspired many efforts to get the latest computing tools into the hands of all Americans, particularly low-income families.

As access to devices has spread, children in poorer families are spending considerably more time than children from more well-off families using their television and gadgets to watch shows and videos, play games and connect on social networking sites, studies show

In other words, a bunch of do-gooders gave a bunch of computers to the noble savages who live in that neighborhood that they avoid on the way to work, assuming that these ignorant natives would use this wonderful new device to rise up out of the ghettos and become good middle-class liberals. Only the do-gooders were distressed to learn that instead of getting their degrees online and reading academic papers, their beneficiaries instead chose to use their new machines to watch nut-shot YouTube videos and play Farmville. So now they're seeking a way to force these foolish ingrates to use their computers the way the do-gooders know they're supposed to.

Who would have thought that giving a computer to someone who lives in a shithole neighborhood, with little in the way of safe local entertainment, would choose to use it for online entertainment, huh? We must educate them on the proper way to use a computer before they find Facebook and start messaging our daughters instead of using Kahn Academy courses to learn algebra!

Next you'll be telling me that the kids in the One Laptop Per Child program traded their laptops for food rather than using them to learn the Queen's English!

Re:How DARE they! (-1, Offtopic)

spiffmastercow (1001386) | more than 2 years ago | (#40159327)

In your post you deride the liberal do-gooders, and in your sig you deride libertarians. If you don't mind me asking, what's your political stance?

Re:How DARE they! (5, Insightful)

eimsand (903055) | more than 2 years ago | (#40159369)

Anyone who thinks they have all the answers deserves derision. Sounds like s/he's got it figured out, IMO.

Re:How DARE they! (0, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40159587)

So if you don't give any answers and instead just bitch about everyone ELSE'S answers, then you don't deserve derision? Damn, I'm sure glad you losers stayed the hell out of society as people with answers bothered establishing it.

Re:How DARE they! (2)

MickyTheIdiot (1032226) | more than 2 years ago | (#40159399)

False Dilemma [wikipedia.org] . Learn a new concept.

Re:How DARE they! (1)

spiffmastercow (1001386) | more than 2 years ago | (#40159535)

False Dilemma [wikipedia.org] . Learn a new concept.

Quite familiar with it. I didn't ask about his *affiliation*, I asked for his *stance*. I rarely encounter people who have a stance that doesn't closely match an affiliation, and was genuinely curious what his stance is. Granted, stance is a bit of a loaded word, since you can have as many as there are topics to consider. But most people have at least a few guiding principles.

Re:How DARE they! (1)

Rudeboy777 (214749) | more than 2 years ago | (#40159623)

Moderate or pragmatist? No party affiliation for these poor souls in the U.S. but no ALL Americans have gone off the deep end...

Re:How DARE they! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40159663)

Liberalism and what Americans call "Libertarianism" (I would call them Anarcho-capitalists, the term Libertarian is more associated with Anarchism which is a branch of Socialism) are both on the right end of the political spectrum and they are very much related. If you think those are the only choices in politics then your knowledge of politics or the world is severely limited.

Re:How DARE they! (5, Insightful)

tmosley (996283) | more than 2 years ago | (#40159751)

Anarchism is as related to socialism as it is to any other totally unrelated political ideology.

Re:How DARE they! (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40159797)

What is the difference between everyone is in charge and nobody is in charge?

Political agnosticism (1)

tepples (727027) | more than 2 years ago | (#40159681)

Is political agnosticism a stance as you define "stance"? Is, for example, the claimed political neutrality of Jehovah's Witnesses [wikipedia.org] a stance?

Re:Political agnosticism (1)

spiffmastercow (1001386) | more than 2 years ago | (#40159711)

Is political agnosticism a stance as you define "stance"? Is, for example, the claimed political neutrality of Jehovah's Witnesses [wikipedia.org] a stance?

Given that the point of his thread was political, I'm going to call that a "no".

Re:How DARE they! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40159423)

To be fair, when I was a kid I busted my ass on my own to earn some money to build a cheap shitty PC. This was back around 1990. Once I had it, I dove into learning about BBSes, telephone systems, networking, being a sysop of a multi-node board, some programming, how to build a machine, how to setup FIDOnet, etc. This lead to a very successful professional career less than a decade later.

Today, kids get a computer and the idea of learning and creating and discovering and inventing with it is the last thing on their mind. They use social networking, play videogames, and chat with their friends.

Re:How DARE they! (4, Insightful)

Eponymous Hero (2090636) | more than 2 years ago | (#40159555)

no, to be fair, a kid who is interested in how computers work is a nerd. most kids are not nerds. most kids are average, and will obviously do average things with objects they consider to be an average part of their lives. it doesn't matter what year it is. a kid like you in the 17th century was figuring out how printing presses worked, while the average person was reading serial novels in the newspaper. this article is profoundly irrelevant.

Re:How DARE they! (5, Insightful)

Gordonjcp (186804) | more than 2 years ago | (#40159643)

Most children just use their bikes to ride about on. One of my friends from school saved up to buy a really good racing bike, then spent all his time taking it apart and building better bits using his dad's workshop.

Now he builds racing bikes professionally, and you *cannot* afford one.

You get all kinds of geeks, everywhere.

Re:How DARE they! (2)

bhtooefr (649901) | more than 2 years ago | (#40159583)

The irony is, what is a BBS if not a social network of sorts, that you can play door games on, and chat with your friends?

(Granted, very few people are setting up their own social networks...)

Diaspora: your own social network (2)

tepples (727027) | more than 2 years ago | (#40159763)

Granted, very few people are setting up their own social networks

For one thing, people set up their own web forums all the time. For another, that could change if development of Diaspora gains momentum. Do you think that's gonna happen?

Re:How DARE they! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40159621)

You did fun things with your computer. They're doing fun things with their computers. If good games and social networking existed way back when, maybe you'd have spent your time doing those things instead.

Re:How DARE they! (1)

Bengie (1121981) | more than 2 years ago | (#40159791)

I mostly agree. I do what is fun and it just so happens what I'm good at and enjoy pays well.

Re:How DARE they! (0, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40159491)

Libertarians think they're getting freedom by eliminating the government. They're just getting corporate slavery.

Nope. If I don't like the pay, I can quit my job and go work somewhere else. If (for some far-fetched reason) my boss shows up at my home at 3 AM and demands I give him money or he'll shoot me, I can shoot him in self defense.

With the government it's quite the opposite. I can't 'quit'. If I stop paying taxes, armed federal agents descend on my property and use force to take my money and posessions. I can still shoot them, but no one will call it 'self defense'...

I can defend myself against 'evil corporations' by refusing to participate. I can't defend against 'evil government' by refusing anything--I'll be dead.

Re:How DARE they! (2)

spiffmastercow (1001386) | more than 2 years ago | (#40159591)

How you gonna get that money you need to survive when nobody is willing to pay you? Oh, right, you'll do what it takes. And when they offer you $2/hour to dig ditches, you'll do it because nobody else will give you a better deal. Yay libertarianism.

Re:How DARE they! (2, Insightful)

lgw (121541) | more than 2 years ago | (#40159705)

That's the worst argument you could have made. The market does a great job at setting prices that balance supply and demand, far better than any Central Planning Committee. Where you get problems is the stuff that's more complex than a number: contract terms. The market does a poor job of preventing businesses from cooking up ever-more-devious contract terms, that businesses then conspire to use uniformly - from your ISP agreement to Facebooks terms of use to the Win8 EULA, to every apartment complex's lease agreement, to "Whites only" diners, back in the day.

There's are plenty of flaws with thinking the market will sort everything out, but you picked the one example that's not actually a problem.

Re:How DARE they! (0)

tmosley (996283) | more than 2 years ago | (#40159823)

The US maintained a libertarian economic policy from the end of Reconstruction through 1913. A time period that coincided with the greatest period of economic growth ever seen in history, creating the first universal middle class in history.

Perhaps having the freedom to pay what you want to pay for a job to be done does not mean that you get to set non-market prices for labor? If "bosses" got to arbitrarily set labor costs, then every job would pay the minimum wage. But it doesn't. The fact that it doesn't proves that there is either a problem with your assumptions or your logic.

Re:How DARE they! (1)

h4rr4r (612664) | more than 2 years ago | (#40159651)

You can leave your country just like you can leave your job. Both are painful, and you may not actually have lots of other available options.

Re:How DARE they! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40159675)

Libertarians think they're getting freedom by eliminating the government. They're just getting corporate slavery.

Nope. If I don't like the pay, I can quit my job and go work somewhere else. If (for some far-fetched reason) my boss shows up at my home at 3 AM and demands I give him money or he'll shoot me, I can shoot him in self defense.

With the government it's quite the opposite. I can't 'quit'. If I stop paying taxes, armed federal agents descend on my property and use force to take my money and posessions. I can still shoot them, but no one will call it 'self defense'...

I can defend myself against 'evil corporations' by refusing to participate. I can't defend against 'evil government' by refusing anything--I'll be dead.

This was not a well thought out post or philosophy. Do you understand how the free market works? If you don't like your pay you can quit, but the pay you get at the new company will be close to the same for the same skills. You need to better yourself to make more because experience alone is too expensive for employeers in the current job market. And if you are educated and have a career vs. a job you don't just quit. The intangibles outweigh pay differences.

You can quit the government. Leave the country, I hear Somalia has low taxes and low centralized government interference. It's a real libertarian utopia- enjoy.

Re:How DARE they! (1)

toadlife (301863) | more than 2 years ago | (#40159719)

If I stop paying taxes, armed federal agents descend on my property and use force to take my money and posessions.

Your precious money would be worth nothing without a government to back its value.

Re:How DARE they! (1)

cpu6502 (1960974) | more than 2 years ago | (#40159511)

After they get sick of the entertainment, maybe they'll wander off to an educational or news site and learn something. Besides I'd say games are pretty educational: They teach problem solving.

Re:How DARE they! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40159685)

"In other words, a bunch of do-gooders gave a bunch of computers to the noble savages who live in that neighborhood that they avoid on the way to work, assuming that these ignorant natives would use this wonderful new device to rise up out of the ghettos and become good middle-class liberals. "

Much more likely that as society has displaced manual labor, the poor are disproportionately bad at school. Since factory work no longer pays well, they are shit out of luck, and the fewer well paying jobs that are not yet automated require more intelligence.

My grandparents used to make good money despite their lack of education now that would be impossible. It has little to do with politics and more to do with needing less workers less and less as automation has replaced the need for average to below average people.

Re:How DARE they! (3, Insightful)

cpu6502 (1960974) | more than 2 years ago | (#40159771)

>>>Libertarians think they're getting freedom by eliminating the government. They're just getting corporate slavery.

(1) Thomas Jefferson was a libertarian. He represents the ideal we strive for. (2) A libertarian or jeffersonian does not want to get rid of government. That's an anarchist. (3) Since corporations are a creation of government (via issuance of a license), if anarchists got rid of government, such that it did not exist, neither would corporations exist. (4) So basically your whole sig is flawed.

Not Really a Fact (5, Interesting)

eldavojohn (898314) | more than 2 years ago | (#40159263)

Children of parents with low social status are less able to resist the temptations of technological entertainment, a fact that impedes their education and adds to the obstacles such children face in obtaining financial comfort later in life.

I didn't see anywhere in the article where they called that a fact. Conversely, the article seems to explain it to be a correlation and, if this concerned me, I would be more worried about the overall growing trend regardless of social status. From the article:

A study published in 2010 by the Kaiser Family Foundation found that children and teenagers whose parents do not have a college degree spent 90 minutes more per day exposed to media than children from higher socioeconomic families. In 1999, the difference was just 16 minutes.

The study found that children of parents who do not have a college degree spend 11.5 hours each day exposed to media from a variety of sources, including television, computer and other gadgets. That is an increase of 4 hours and 40 minutes per day since 1999.

Children of more educated parents, generally understood as a proxy for higher socioeconomic status, also largely use their devices for entertainment. In families in which a parent has a college education or an advanced degree, Kaiser found, children use 10 hours of multimedia a day, a 3.5-hour jump since 1999. (Kaiser double counts time spent multitasking. If a child spends an hour simultaneously watching TV and surfing the Internet, the researchers counted two hours.)

Perhaps people of a lower social status feel the need to escape more so than people who have an easier life? If you live in a crappy environment, are you surprised that you want to spend 10 hours a day pretending you're a valiant knight in Skyrim or being swept up in "Adventure Time" where anything can happen?

As explained in the article, poor parents and their children often waste both their time and money on heavily marketed entertainment systems.

The funny thing is that if you look it as dollar spent per hour enjoyed, it's not a waste of money. It's actually much more affordable than taking your kid on a field trip or sailing or even to the movies. Hell, football pads and gear probably cost more than a Wii with games. I agree that the kids should spend more time visiting the library but as someone who grew up underneath the poverty line, I feel like this interpretation of this study was pretty shallow. I mean, if you're concerned about poor people spending money on video games, why aren't you demanding we outlaw the lottery and gambling? Numbers-wise it's not rich people who enjoy those stupid, expensive habits.

Re:Not Really a Fact (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40159443)

If a child spends an hour simultaneously watching TV and surfing the Internet, the researchers counted two hours.)

This is the part that strikes me as very stupid. Also, the rich/poor difference may just be the "using the tv as a babysitter" effect.

Re:Not Really a Fact (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40159471)

The funny thing is that if you look it as dollar spent per hour enjoyed, it's not a waste of money.
 
True enough but if you look at it as time spent in readying a child for a job market where they already have a strong disadvantage it certainly is set back.
 
I realize that most of the working poor doesn't have a great understanding of the type of environment that they need to create to raise children beyond their current economic class but even the few resources they have are seemingly wasted.

Re:Not Really a Fact (1)

Dynedain (141758) | more than 2 years ago | (#40159657)

The funny thing is that if you look it as dollar spent per hour enjoyed, it's not a waste of money.

That's really hard to evaluate. $60 for that AAA game which gets a total of 5-10 hours of play is far more expensive than the $7-15 admission for an afternoon at a museum, or $120 for an annual pass to the zoo.

Re:Not Really a Fact (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40159767)

The funny thing is that if you look it as dollar spent per hour enjoyed, it's not a waste of money.

That's really hard to evaluate. $60 for that AAA game which gets a total of 5-10 hours of play is far more expensive than the $7-15 admission for an afternoon at a museum, or $120 for an annual pass to the zoo.

Being one of those poor kids with a computer growing up do you really think I spent $60 for that AAA game? Me and all my poor friends just became very good at buying USED video games and using cracks. P2P and BT were our friends.

Re:Not Really a Fact (4, Insightful)

sjames (1099) | more than 2 years ago | (#40159699)

Perhaps people of a lower social status feel the need to escape more so than people who have an easier life? If you live in a crappy environment, are you surprised that you want to spend 10 hours a day pretending you're a valiant knight in Skyrim or being swept up in "Adventure Time" where anything can happen?

Other possible answers include that better off families are more likely to do other things that cost more money. Or that better off parents are more likely to have a day off to take the kids out somewhere (possibly somewhere educational, possibly not)..

It might even be that better schools in wealthier neighborhoods have more worthwhile extracurricular activities.

The thing about digital entertainment is that once you have the media, it costs no more money to spend another hour with it.

And... (0)

daveschroeder (516195) | more than 2 years ago | (#40159265)

...drugs, cigarettes, liquor, gambling, lottery tickets, flat screens, cell phones, junk food, etc...

Re:And... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40159375)

Yes, I believe it's called "nigger rich." Having the outward appearance of having more money than you actually do, to feel like you're socially acceptable.

Re:And... (5, Insightful)

jellomizer (103300) | more than 2 years ago | (#40159501)

People have different degrees of impulse control. The ones with good control of their impulses tend to do better then the ones with poor control of their impulses.

On NPR they were talking about the Marshmallow test. Where kids were place in front of a plate with a Marshmallow on it. They were told you can eat that Marshmallow now, however if you wait for 15 minutes you can have two.

They tracked the children threw adulthood. The ones who waited to get two on the average achieved more then the ones who just took one right away.

When you spend money on the quick fix you are trading off time for the long term goal.

If this is a genetic trait, or a learned trait is up to interpretation, however it comes down to, if you grow up in a family who is poor because the parents lack impulse control, then either genetically or as a learned habit it will be passed to the next generation, who will then live in poverty.

It isn't about how hard they work, some work very hard, much harder then the rest of us, it isn't that their are stupid either, some of them are very intelligent. However if you cannot control your impulse to buy the quick fix, you will not be saving up for higher value things.

Re:And... (1)

wzinc (612701) | more than 2 years ago | (#40159639)

Great post! I'd mod it up if I had any points; I'm a big fan if thinking ahead.

Re:And... (1)

Sparticus789 (2625955) | more than 2 years ago | (#40159545)

..... car rims, stereo systems, ^gold\ * , baseball hats, bug lights, pink flamingos, iAnything, wigs, hair/nail stuff, designer jeans, etc....

Hate Post (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40159277)

FUCK OFF asshole!!

Where is your proof. Where is your support for this baseless claim.

Gawd you are a fucktard!

Re:Hate Post (1)

vlm (69642) | more than 2 years ago | (#40159351)

As explained in the article, poor parents and their children often waste both their time and money on...

... slashdot posts

Re:Hate Post (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40159455)

oh my FUCKING god you are stupid.

Eat your HOT GRITS.

constructive activities? (4, Insightful)

vlm (69642) | more than 2 years ago | (#40159291)

Such families often accumulate PCs, gaming consoles and smart phones, but use them only for nonconstructive activities.

Find me a constructive activity to do with gaming consoles and smart phones. Stack them up like blocks? Practice marksmanship? Learn circuit bending?

Re:constructive activities? (2, Interesting)

godrik (1287354) | more than 2 years ago | (#40159367)

my son uses his smarthphone to slack off but also to check wikipedia when he encounter a concept he does not know. I do not see smartphone as just a distraction.

Though to be honest I believe it makes more harm than good.

Re:constructive activities? (1)

Xiaran (836924) | more than 2 years ago | (#40159477)

I read works of fiction and non-fiction on my smartphone. I also have an offline wiki mirror there which comes in very useful. I also listen to audio books and lectures. Most of my TV viewing(which isn't much) is via netflix and lovefilm on a PS3.

Re:constructive activities? (1)

Jeng (926980) | more than 2 years ago | (#40159495)

Practice problem solving in a simulated world.

Re:constructive activities? (1)

betterunixthanunix (980855) | more than 2 years ago | (#40159741)

Find me a constructive activity to do with gaming consoles

This guy did:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/George_hotz [wikipedia.org]

Of course, if inner-city black children were doing that sort of thing, they would probably be arrested and charged with a variety of crimes.

Re:constructive activities? (1)

Zrako (1306145) | more than 2 years ago | (#40159803)

Such families often accumulate PCs, gaming consoles and smart phones, but use them only for nonconstructive activities.

Find me a constructive activity to do with gaming consoles and smart phones. Stack them up like blocks? Practice marksmanship? Learn circuit bending?

How about being a kid and having fun with your friends outside of the 8 hours a day you are at school and the 4 hours a day you are doing homework?

In other words... (0, Offtopic)

Das Auge (597142) | more than 2 years ago | (#40159297)

In other words, those that are more likely to achieve their financial goals are better at time management. But we're not supposed to say unflattering things about the poor, or say flattering things about those that aren't.

It can't be that those in the lower financial class are bad with time management, but that electronic devices are evil.

Re:In other words... (4, Insightful)

localman57 (1340533) | more than 2 years ago | (#40159431)

The other thing is, the whole concept of what's "wasted." If you're 8 years old, your mom is either always on pot, crack, or hanging out with the new boyfriend of the week, if you live in a neighborhood where going outside is dangerous, and nobody but Elmo or Cookie Monster ever gave enough of a shit about you to contribute to helping you learn to read, be creative, or anything else, then why wouldn't you spend your time playing Xbox? If that were me, I'd welcome the escapism it offered. Playing XBox may well be the single best part of your life.

In order to tell me that time was wasted, you have to tell me the opportunity cost of what (realistic, achieveable) activity could otherwise have been done.

Re:In other words... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40159493)

I think you're missing the point...

It isn't that the electronic devices are evil, it is that the introduction of these devices sans proper parenting and supervision results in the undesirable side effect that they are a convenient time waster - perpetuating a cycle of poverty.

There are merits of providing this kind of equipment to those below the poverty line, but it doesn't address the root problem of poor parenting resulting in children that will also grow up to be poor parents.

Re:In other words... (2)

MickyTheIdiot (1032226) | more than 2 years ago | (#40159523)

Introduction to such devices and the information they can access might lead to FREE THINKING!

Baaaaaad.

They also might become curious about how it works which leads to learning what is under the hood... and that will prevent them from being mindless consumers of corporate informational garbage and they might even become PRODUCERS of information. How can you convince them that Obama is a communist then??

Re:In other words... (4, Insightful)

localman57 (1340533) | more than 2 years ago | (#40159617)

It's a nice thought. But we're mostly talking about people playing Madden and Halo all day on a console, and watching YouTube and texting other people with similar interests on their phone.

Shocking (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40159313)

People with limited income and access to non-screen entertainment tend to waste money (or rather, easy-to-obtain credit) on highly marketed frivolities instead of investing their money in something long term. Who would have thought that impoverished households would be prey to such things?

Re:Shocking (3, Informative)

MalachiK (1944624) | more than 2 years ago | (#40159473)

Isn't that one of the key characterisrics of the middle class? Deferred gratification leading to inter generational wealth transfer is the reason why some of my friends have had houses bought for them by their parents. I don't think this story has anything to do with technology - just the different attitudes to money that exist at various levels of society. On the other hand, this is a huge generalisation. I also have friends who are far less well off than I am who are carrying a fraction of what I am in unsecured debt due to their traditional working class aversion to borrowing money.

It's normal. (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40159315)

People watching lots of advertisements buy all that advertised crap.
Film at 11.

Waste? (5, Insightful)

bananaquackmoo (1204116) | more than 2 years ago | (#40159337)

Waste and spend are two entirely different things.

Re:Waste? (5, Insightful)

GodfatherofSoul (174979) | more than 2 years ago | (#40159437)

Yes, it's a waste apparently when poor people do it, because they're poor. For the rest of us, it's good old fashioned American technology-based entertainment.

Re:Waste? (1)

MickyTheIdiot (1032226) | more than 2 years ago | (#40159479)

It's wasteful when it is something you don't like.

It's spending when it is on you.

Re:Waste? (1)

sudonymous (2585501) | more than 2 years ago | (#40159513)

Yeah, look at the alternative to spending all that money on entertainment: they could waste it paying off those 18% interest credit cards, instead of just paying last month's interest.

Re:Waste? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40159787)

Yeah, look at the alternative to spending all that money on entertainment: they could waste it paying off those 18% interest credit cards, instead of just paying last month's interest.

If you ever spent a life with no entertainment, just working in order to get your next paycheck to "pay off those 18% interest credit cards", you might just realize that a really quick way of getting rid of that debt would be killing yourself. Debt gone.

Entertainment is the single most important thing we do. That's why we live. You're suggesting people just work to feed themselves to sleep to work the next day. Why the fuck would they do that?

So the majority use it for... (1)

Mattygfunk1 (596840) | more than 2 years ago | (#40159341)

So we waste technology for entertainment eh? Isn't this just the tip of the iceberg of the technological revolution? I call bullshit. Where's the percentage who use it to expand their minds?

..and the lottery (2)

MickyTheIdiot (1032226) | more than 2 years ago | (#40159343)

Don't forget the lottery!

It's the math tax, you know.

What a load of shit. (1)

gallondr00nk (868673) | more than 2 years ago | (#40159363)

This is nothing more than thinly veiled lifestyle snobbery. Why is it even on /.?

On the flip side.... (0)

Dega704 (1454673) | more than 2 years ago | (#40159373)

Perhaps they are poor BECAUSE they waste so much time doing unproductive things. Depends on your definition of poor, though.

Poor... (4, Insightful)

jaymzter (452402) | more than 2 years ago | (#40159385)

You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.

Such families often accumulate PCs, gaming consoles and smart phones

and again...

At home, where money is tight, his family has two laptops, an Xbox 360 and a Nintendo Wii, and he has his own phone.

Being poor in America is definitely a weird thing...

Re:Poor... (2)

GodfatherofSoul (174979) | more than 2 years ago | (#40159527)

I think I know what you're implying. It's a very common refrain to claim that the US doesn't really have much poverty based on metrics like TV ownership. But, the cost of luxury tech items in relation to salaries is far different today. Fifty years ago, owning a TV was like buying a used car. Hell, I can get the big screen I bought 5 years ago at 1/4 the price and much higher quality (damn it!). Never mind the depreciation of buying these items used. Same with a PC.

No, you can't compare poverty in sub-Saharan Africa to poverty in the worst of Detroit's slums, but it's poverty nonetheless.

Re:Poor... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40159733)

What does poverty mean to you?

Re:Poor... (1)

Kenja (541830) | more than 2 years ago | (#40159713)

Its called "credit". Sure, at some point you'll need to pay it off or go bankrupt. But that's in the future, which may not even happen! Besides, but then I'm sure to have won the lottery.

Re:Poor... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40159715)

"Being poor" in America has been redefined often so it looks like we have more poor people. I grew up under the poverty line, but my family had two cars, a house, two TVs, a cable TV subscription, gaming consoles, computers. We had no problems getting food on the table, but I qualified for free or reduced school lunches every year.

We also recently redefined "going hungry" to make it sound like more people don't get enough to eat. They introduced a new survey question "Have you gone to bed hungry in the past 3 months?" And then said that you struggle with hunger if you said yes. But there's lots of reasons someone would have said yes to this question besides not being able to afford food. Between my wife and I, we make 6 figures. I "went to bed hungry" the other night because it was late and I didn't feel like eating.

Lies, damned lies, and statistics.

Re:Poor... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40159799)

Being poor means that they have less wealth, but they still have wealth. It just so happens that the poor tend to tie up what wealth they do have on depreciating entertainment devices, such as gaming consoles, clothes, or expensive cars (which they park on the street because they have no garage in the row-home they rent). This usually happens by living paycheck-to-paycheck, and receiving the occasional windfall, such as an income tax refund, which they promptly spend on something they don't really need. As a result, of the $10,000 in wealth that they have (just to give an example), $9,000 of it is in these depreciating entertainment devices.

The rich, in contrast, tend to invest their wealth in ways that grow their wealth. This may be in the form of a savings account, bonds, stocks, a house, a company, etc. For example, a rich person may have $500,000 in wealth, but $450,000 of it is invested in these appreciating assets.

Sporting goods and going out and doing things.... (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40159395)

I've observed that many affluent people spend great deals of cash on sporting goods, expensive hobbies, and out-of-home entertainment.

It's not like they're all buying computers and then using them for productivity.... it's just that a great deal of more productive, healthy, or useful activities are still much more expensive than cheap TVs, cheap computers, and cheap video games.

It's not like the rich people stare at the wall all day instead of playing video games.

Seriously - while the ghetto dad is playing with his $200 XBox, the rich dads are riding $2000 bikes with $3000 worth of shiny spandex.

Re:Sporting goods and going out and doing things.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40159461)

The difference is that they can afford it.

See, when they were kids, "poor" kids played with sticks. "Normal" kids had a real baseball and real gloves. "Rich" kids had uniforms.

What is this XBox?

Re:Sporting goods and going out and doing things.. (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40159571)

Seriously - while the ghetto dad is playing with his $200 XBox, the rich dads are riding $2000 bikes with $3000 worth of shiny spandex.

Your prices are out of whack:

XBox 360 + accessories + a few games = $650
Felt S22 triathlon bike ($1200) + shiny spandex ($150) =~ $1350

But point taken, nonetheless.

A possible explanation (1)

DaMattster (977781) | more than 2 years ago | (#40159401)

I noticed the same sort of trend with people that are driving cars that barely run, yet have the latest and greatest smart phone from one of the big carriers. I wonder if it is just because the poor might wrongfully think that respect is earned through how much one owns, sports, and shows off. Some of it is the bling factor, some of it is just buying the toys out of cynicism and resignation. They might be resigned to never leaving their current socio-economic status so they buy gadgets to make life a little more fun and less unbearable.

Media consumption and the use of free time (3, Interesting)

davecrusoe (861547) | more than 2 years ago | (#40159403)

While what Matt Ritchel writes in his NY Times article does raise an issue worth discussing, I have two issues with what he writes. The first is that he fails to mention that this pattern mirrors long-standing patterns of media consumption. Media reports, including those by Pew, the Kaiser Family Foundation (and many others) indicate correlations between consumption and SES (socio-economic status). The presumption is that exposure to media is counerproductive. Which brings me to my second point: the assumption that exposure to media is counterproductive. Matt mentions several students in his article; they indicate that they're falling victim to "media overuse", missing homework and not getting enough sleep. But what's much harder to measure is the value that media users ARE gaining from using media, including Facebook, for their activities. As an example, we see a workplace shift toward hiring workers with 'social marketing' and 'online' skills; and it's no question that big companies are betting on "Social CRM", including the king of CRM, Salesforce. So, it's absolutely possible that using Facebook - overusing, some might say - is actually aiding its users gain in the online social skills they'll need to succeed in the future. But all of this doesn't detract from a central point about media consumption, and that is, that it's at the expense of Other Things: like playing hide and seek, running, gardening, etc - many of the active things that help humans be socially, physically and mentally healthy in ways that interaction with a computer can't. So, all in all, it's a thick question -- Matt does do something important by raising the issue, so KUDOS for that. The question, now, is what we all learn from the dialogue. Cheers, --Dave / PLML

No surprise there (2)

cpu6502 (1960974) | more than 2 years ago | (#40159415)

They make poor decisions (such as spending $110 a month for unlimited cellphone service) and thus continue to be poor. While those who make smarter decisions, like investing the $110 in a business, and climb up the income ladder to middle class.

*
*I used the example based on someone I know. Doesn't even know how to use the internet, but still "had" to have a $110/month plan. Meanwhile the credit cards go unpaid.

Re:No surprise there (-1, Flamebait)

MickyTheIdiot (1032226) | more than 2 years ago | (#40159499)

All poor people are stupid?

Newt Gingrich, get the hell off of Slashdot. You're not welcome.

Liberal Judo (1)

SuperKendall (25149) | more than 2 years ago | (#40159609)

He didn't say all poor people were stupid. He said they were not making as many smart choices, trapping them where they were.

There is a vast difference between your statement and what he actually said; as per the typical liberal stance there can be no grey areas so you flamed him without thinking.

Not a smart choice, and the collective choices like these that you and people that think like you have made over the years are finally catching up to you.

Re:Liberal Judo (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40159747)

So we can let them trap themselves into being our slaves then? This angle makes perfect sense.

Re:No surprise there (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40159659)

Straw man.

Re:No surprise there (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40159707)

Part of the issue is with peoples' expectations that they should have these things. My parents live in a rural area of the US where the average gross income is pretty low. My mother spends her limited (fixed) income on buying crap for my sister and kids because they "have" to have it. God forbid any of them should be without air conditioning, smartphones, new clothes, soda or potato chips. Oh wait--my mother doesn't have to buy the soda & potato chips--my sister gets those with her food stamps. It amazes me that people who are "scraping by" spend money on these things that a couple decades ago weren't even part of the average person's life where I grew up. Do I sound a little frustrated? Damn right--I'm a contractor and have been working my ass off for years giving 40% of my gross income to support the military and social programs I don't agree with. Everyone in the US could stand to learn the meaning of the words austerity and responsibility. And while I'm at it, disband the bloody TSA as the biggest waste of taxpayer dollars and drain on efficiency since....I don't know--the drug war.

Of course they spend more time on soc. networking (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40159475)

Social networking is for airheads. It's the new form of hanging out at the mall.

I must be rich! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40159487)

Such families often accumulate PCs, gaming consoles and smart phones, but use them only for nonconstructive activities.

I only use PCs, gaming consoles and smart phones for porn.

Title is backwards (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40159505)

People who waste money on digital entertainment are more likely to be poor, not the other way around. Being poor doesn't lead these people to waste money on digital entertainment - it's their bad decision-making (ie: wasting money on unproductive digital crap) that makes them poor.

Only one reason for this report (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40159521)

The new divide is such a cause of concern for the Federal Communications Commission that it is considering a proposal to spend $200 million to create a digital literacy corps. This group of hundreds, even thousands, of trainers would fan out to schools and libraries to teach productive uses of computers for parents, students and job seekers.

Re:Only one reason for this report (1)

MickyTheIdiot (1032226) | more than 2 years ago | (#40159599)

Ok.. I am no nutball conservative and I believe in a certain amount of social spending, but this will be a corps of people with masters degrees in communications or some such that don't have the knowledge and ability to do anything but teach people how to do a Google search.

There are bad government programs and this would be one of them.

How else... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40159547)

Can a failing authority keep the underclasses and oppressed from revolting? Rome had its bread and circuses, America has food stamps and Modern Warfare 3.

Nigga technology (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40159579)

From The Boondocks - written by an African American. So fuck off with your white shame...

Gin Rummy: Basically, nigga technology is asomething that doesn't plug into a printer. Does that plug into a printer?
Ed Wuncler: No
Gin Rummy: Wanna know why?
Ed Wuncler: Why?
Gin Rummy: 'Cause niggas never have nothin' to print.

Too lazy to get ahead (2, Insightful)

registrations_suck (1075251) | more than 2 years ago | (#40159601)

In other words - people who are too lazy to "get ahead" will spend some of their laziness on electronic doodads when they have the opportunity to do so. Who would have guessed?

And before you jump on the "too lazy" part of what I just said - if you're poor or down & out, and you're playing XBOX instead of going to the library to learn whatever, or you spend the money on an XBOX instead of something that would provide you with the knowledge to get ahead, then yes, you're lazy.

For most people, getting ahead takes hard work. It's a lot easier to seek out entertainment than the knowledge and skills required to get ahead. This article seems to be right in line with what most people would expect.

Re:Too lazy to get ahead (1)

coldsalmon (946941) | more than 2 years ago | (#40159781)

For most people, getting ahead takes hard work. It's a lot easier to seek out entertainment than the knowledge and skills required to get ahead. This article seems to be right in line with what most people would expect.

That's why I spend all of my free time reading important news on Slashdot instead of wasting time on unproductive digital entertainment.

Duh (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40159613)

This is because the poor have higher rates of time preference - that, incidentally, is also why they're poor. In western countries at least.

It's not because they don't have enough OPM showered on them (and their welfare turdlets).

Well duh! (1)

s.petry (762400) | more than 2 years ago | (#40159645)

What were they supposed to do? Write a novel? Yeah, that's pretty easy to do when you are starving, worried about the landlord kicking you out, and dodging bullets on your way to and from school.

Manage their bank accounts they don't have? Oh wait, maybe use western union on line to pay bills with the cash they have.. Oh wait, you need a bank account for that.

Hmm, go to online courses that they can't afford to get that MBA? Purchase publishing software or graphic art software? Learn to write Java for Enterprise level businesses on their own? Oh, I got it.. they could buy Autocad and become famous designers for the automotive industry that moved overseas... Dang, not those things either..

Maybe the concept of giving someone money or a PC and forgetting about them is not the way to solve the problem. Maybe they need jobs, education, safe areas to live in, and opportunities that go beyond a 500.00 tax write off for someone.

Computers are a means to an end, not an end (4, Insightful)

imidan (559239) | more than 2 years ago | (#40159653)

There is this idea that "computers", as an abstract concept, are a way to improve education. We see this all the time; most recently, states are pouring huge amounts of money into putting laptop computers into the hands of every student. It seems that people seldom ask why we're doing this. Why are we doing this? Well, it's self-evident that computers make education better, right? At least, that's the way we've been treating the issue. We don't have enough people asking in what ways, specifically, computers will improve education.

So this article is about the result of that way of thinking. Today, even the poorer kids have access to technology in their homes. And, obviously, they play video games with the technology instead of sitting in front of the computer and thinking great thoughts and composing essays and multimedia presentations in their spare time. But the article is full of people who express surprise at this. They are mystified that putting computers into kids' hands didn't magically make them into better students and deeper thinkers.

As has been said in this forum many times before, a computer is merely a tool. There is absolutely no reason why you should expect a student to suddenly become a great learner simply because you handed him a computer, any more than you would expect him to complete his education on his own if you handed him a pile of K-12 textbooks. Someone in charge has to stop and ask the right questions, if we want computers to really help in education. Someone has to stop and ask why and how we expect computers to help, and then implement a plan that actually makes that happen. Because right now, we're just funneling a lot of money into facebook machines for students.

Re:Computers are a means to an end, not an end (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40159819)

There is this idea that "computers", as an abstract concept, are a way to improve education. We see this all the time; most recently, states are pouring huge amounts of money into putting laptop computers into the hands of every student. It seems that people seldom ask why we're doing this. Why are we doing this? Well, it's self-evident that computers make education better, right? At least, that's the way we've been treating the issue. We don't have enough people asking in what ways, specifically, computers will improve education.

So this article is about the result of that way of thinking. Today, even the poorer kids have access to technology in their homes. And, obviously, they play video games with the technology instead of sitting in front of the computer and thinking great thoughts and composing essays and multimedia presentations in their spare time. But the article is full of people who express surprise at this. They are mystified that putting computers into kids' hands didn't magically make them into better students and deeper thinkers.

As has been said in this forum many times before, a computer is merely a tool. There is absolutely no reason why you should expect a student to suddenly become a great learner simply because you handed him a computer, any more than you would expect him to complete his education on his own if you handed him a pile of K-12 textbooks. Someone in charge has to stop and ask the right questions, if we want computers to really help in education. Someone has to stop and ask why and how we expect computers to help, and then implement a plan that actually makes that happen. Because right now, we're just funneling a lot of money into facebook machines for students.

Computers are a tool, but really I think the idea was to provide curious kids with a way of exploring subjects that interest them quickly. The problem is these "liberal do-gooders" ( really people? I've never heard the phrase conservative do-gooders; probably because the went extinct with Teddy Roosevelt) is that they grew up in environments that valued education where poorer families have to make the choice between schooling and meals

Cause = "OMG I've got to have that" (1)

Kittenman (971447) | more than 2 years ago | (#40159759)

FWIW - I suspect a whole subgroup of our species is more susceptible to advertising/meme following/trends (call it what you will). A new Ipad is out - that's it, I've just got to have it. A new Beamer, a new TV, a new household accessory, a new holiday destination, a new school, a new suburb, a new pair of shoes ...

Used to be called keeping up with the Joneses. Nor sure what it is now. Marketeers just love these people.

Bite the snob bait. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40159765)

Just raise the salaries of "the poor" into the several millions a year and we'll be able to flee/evade taxes as well as waste more time on non-digital entertainment, such as, travelling on our yatch to golf courses around the world, driving hypercars in racing tracks around the world, hunting around the world, eating at 5+ star hotels and resorts around the world, fucking high class hookers around the world, and so on.

Untill then, fuck the authors/snobs of this article/study/insult/stating the obvious as if "the poor" couldn't understand their life style without the "enlightment" of the non-digital entertained, ah ha ah ha ah ha, so delightfull to ocasionally stop by and remind the poor how poorly entertained they are, now back to our orgy at the mansion.

And don't forget, we don't descriminate or socially exclude the poor for being poor, our prices and market segmentation do it for us. AHa HAa! So funny to watch the poor struggling for the dream to ultimatly end up working for us for spare change. Oh the joys of non-digital entertainment.

Isn't it the other way around? (1)

hobarrera (2008506) | more than 2 years ago | (#40159779)

The article implies that people that are poor waste more time (and likely, a greater percentage of their already small income) on Digital Entertainment.

Isn't this really the other way around?
I think people that waste lots of time watching movies and buying gadets they don't need end up being poor. (Of course rich people are an exception, but I'm talking low/middle class here).

Same as it ever was (1)

istartedi (132515) | more than 2 years ago | (#40159789)

"Work is the curse of the drinking class" --Oscar Wilde.

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