Meditation instead of a timeout

I despised timeout. Not because it was effective, but because it seemed pointless. I failed to spend the time thinking about what I did wrong. Instead, I spent the time thinking about how stupid it was. And what I could be doing or what I would do when it was over. Or playing with whatever I had around me: wall textures, things on my person, etc. This approach looks interesting.

Instead of punishing disruptive kids or sending them to the principal’s office, the Baltimore school has something called the Mindful Moment Room instead.

The room looks nothing like your standard windowless detention room. Instead, it’s filled with lamps, decorations, and plush purple pillows. Misbehaving kids are encouraged to sit in the room and go through practices like breathing or meditation, helping them calm down and re-center. They are also asked to talk through what happened.

Mindful meditation has been around in some form or another for thousands of years. Recently, though, science has started looking at its effects on our minds and bodies, and it’s finding some interesting effects.

One study, for example, suggested that mindful meditation could give practicing soldiers a kind of mental armor against disruptive emotions, and it can improve memory too. Another suggested mindful meditation could improve a person’s attention span and focus.

Smartphones and teens

5418219441_021f82e512_oVox has a good article on the effects of smartphones on the brains of teenagers:

Is there anything that tells us there’s a causal link? That our media use behavior is actually altering our cognition and underlying neurological function or neurobiological processes? The answer is we have no idea. There’s no data.

The article talks about what data we have, the limitations, why the limitations matter, and what would fix it. Science is hard. Medicine and parents are in a tricky place as they have to make recommendations with imperfect data. The news is sensationalist.

Galahad wants to discount all science on this, of course. He might be an addict. (Take his phone away from him and he goes through the typical behaviors of an addict.) The non-causal link does say there is something going on with smartphones and kids, so limiting usage probably leads to better outcomes. Enough so, that it is worth at least trying.