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Texas, United States


Should We Fear For Our Children Because Of New Technology?

I received one of those emails folks pass around that are sometimes funny and sometimes  interesting or simply boring. The quote above was at the top of one of those pass around emails and below it were a number of photos of kids in various social settings all looking at their cell phones. At first I thought..."How true!"

But when I lie to myself with compliance to someone else's perception, my annoying mind doesn't allow me to get away with it. It keeps showing me pictures of what's wrong with the instant theory I was willing to accept. The concept  nagged me until it dawned on me what didn't jive with the idea our children might be developing into a generation of "idiots" due to obsession with new technology. 

Living with a preteen and two teenagers who excel in school and other activities and keep "smart" phone's on their person almost 24/7 kept gnawing at me because I know they are no exceptions. Most of their many friends and peers do as well as they do and some even better. We have scores of A  and A/B honor roll ribbons earned over the last decade lying around in scrapbooks and these kids are all very social, involved, and have a multitude of friends, many more than I was ever able to reach. They still communicate with friends they made on vacation out of the country several years ago.

I remember how surprised I was the kids were able to pick up on computers and the Internet much faster than I did with very little instruction. They did it by trial and error, eager to see what they could accomplish. They conquered rather quickly.

At first it was just for playing games but by the time they got to fourth and fifth grades they were able to do projects and write essays using the computer mostly without help. One of the biggest advantages computers gave them was learning how to type without ever taking a typing lesson. They may not use the "proper" finger positions I was taught but they can type fast and correct it later...usually without looking at the keyboard. 

So after giving it more, I don't think we have to fear for our children because of all the new technology. They easily learn how to multitask while communicating on a little hand held device I still find annoying...and they do it extremely well. I consider my cell phone a necessity only when I travel. This generation considers it a necessary research and communication tool with great camera and music capabilities 24/7. My generation had to go to the library to do any kind of research and we were not allowed to "communicate" there at all. Strictly a quiet zone.

Idiots?...Far from it!


Jon said...

Interesting issue, Anna, It reminds me that I saw an interview recently of an author who's recent book argues that this generation that's grown up with the Internet actually have a number of very good personal qualities that come from their ways of interacting through social media. I've wondered about this often.

DMS said...

This is an interesting post! Lots to think about. With new technology there are a lot of worries, but you have made many points to combat those worries. :)

Anna Maria said...

Jon and Jess...thanks! After observing this generation growing up, I have high hopes they are going to be a lot more moderate and eager to compromise on social and political issues. They haven't had to deal with near as much segregation and bigotry as former generations and they can come up with very innovative ideas.

As soon as they can also "hear" their text messages on Bluetooth hands free while they are driving, I'll stop worrying when they walk out the door with car keys.

That worry is probably because I know how well I always obeyed my parents once I walked out the door. :)

c emerson said...

Very very nice. Couldn't agree with you more (unless the topic were to turn to gene manipulation). Cheers.

Anna Maria said...

Thank you for visiting c emerson. I'm happy we "connected" on communal blogs. Gene manipulation will not be discussed here, I assure you.