Kids & Tech

Yesterday brought up something I had thought about previously, and that is the role of technology in raising a child.

I was sitting at a high school for work, when a student approached me to place their order.  The student stood there with ear buds in their ears, not fully paying attention to our conversation.  A teacher, similar to my age walked by, and said, “Hey man, this is important stuff, take your ear buds out and give this man your full attention.  Would you at like this in a job interview?  What if this man was to have a job opening in the future, do you think he’d hire you like this?  When you interact with adults you need to show respect and give them your full attention.”  He then sent a wink my way as the student removed their ear buds and completed their transaction.

A couple minutes later, the same teacher returned as I was sitting there by myself.  We had a short conversation about how student use technology in school.  He is of the thought that students need put away cellphones, laptops, tablets, etc. and “learn how he learned in school.”  I didn’t full debate him at the moment, but I believe in students using technology as it was intended to be used to enhance their ability to learn.

Technology is continuing to shape our world and how we interact with it.  To deny students the ability to use the technology they will face in the real world is a mistake.  There isn’t a day that goes by that I don’t rely on google to find the answer to something. I regularly watch youtube videos to expand my circle of knowledge.  The resources available are unlimited and to deny them from the classroom because “you” previously learned on an overheard projector with a book is cutting students short.

Seth Godin, best-selling author, help shaped my thoughts on technology and education.  Godin says students need to solve interesting problems, not memorize facts.  So many facts can simply be googled, but you can’t google problem solving.  You can google creativity.  We need to give students a problem and say, use whatever resources you have available and come up with a solution.  Step outside the box and come up with something creative.

Back to parenting, I think technology has it’s place in raising your child.  Steve Jobs made the tactile screen so simple, infant can pick up an ipad, iPhone, and interact with it in minutes.  This technology will only continue to increase to where our eyes are the mouse, our voices give the commands.  The children of today will grow up knowing no different.

The area that worries me, and that many studies have been done, is on the use of the iPad/iPhone as a strictly entertainment and gaming device for lazy parenting.  For parents to hand kids an iPhone to keep them quiet in the corner.  While it may work for that purpose, there are a couple problems. Children in the corner on a device, are not interacting with the world around them.  They are focused on high speed sequencing in games and videos they watch on the device. I can’t quote the exact study, and don’t feel it’s necessary to be 100% accurate, but they looked at the rate of speed at which cartoons are being made with today, compared to years ago.  The gist of the studies say that current cartoons change scenes at must fast rates now than the days of Sesame Street and Mr. Rogers.  The high speed sequencing of events leads to lack of impulse control and low levels of patience.  Outside of the device, if we look at the outside world, the speed at which life happens is much slower.  The developing human brain it not adapted to the speed at which the games and cartoons children are watching today are played at.

In practice, it has some come down to balance, just like all things in life.  Children need to understand and use the technology to the degree that they are learning.  They need equal, if not more, of human to human interactions, play dates, outdoor recreation, and creating with their hands (art, lego, music, etc).

Let’s see how I do in practice…………..



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