I’m asking this question, because when I was at my son’s school over the holidays (for a ‘winter-fest’ play; what happened to Christmas?), I noticed that many of the kids were on a mobile device of some sort. Texting, googling, FB’ing… It seems there is a whole generation of youths who don’t know how to socialize directly with people.
While the kids on stage were saying their lines, singing the songs, there was that faint blue-white glow of liquid crystal displays among the audience. Pretty much every other parent was filming the show on a smartphone.
This is all a bit pointless, isn’t it? If all of the parents are filming it, and every kid is on a mobile device, why didn’t the school just take a video and upload it to a Facebook page? Everyone is seeing the entire performance in person through the LCD display of a device.
Now, i’m not a traditional guy in any regards. I’m a nerd through and through. I got into IT during the early 90s, and even pre-windows 95. So my life and career has been running side by side with the growth and proliferation of the internet, and the general saturation of technology in our culture.
The Question Of Balance
Should kids be going through life socializing with their peers entirely through devices? Is every school report and project just going to be a regurgitation of the same wikipedia articles? This question is not easy to answer, since there are benefits and drawbacks to each side of the coin.
On the one hand, pushing technology on our kids may help them acquire the skills needed at a workplace early on. On the other, spending too much time in cyberland can render people braindead and depressed. Similarly, by pushing our kids to play outdoors, they acquire a healthy strength and fosters a more spiritual mindset.
Striving For Balance
As with everything in life, there needs to be a balance. In order for our kids to learn technology and thrive better within their social circle, allowing them the use of electronics will provide them a means to use social media and texting as a tool. Now, this may not come without consequences. Enemies, or even friends can use social media to engineer a situation to their advantage to the detriment of others. And once a Facebook status is out there, it is there for everyone to see. But of course, if we don’t allow them to use these mediums, they can feel under privileged, and this can lead to other issues as well.
Perhaps the answer is to allow them a certain amount of time on social media. Even for us adults, it is easy to spend too much time on the Internet, and not enough time on our work. Teaching kids at an early age to limit their time in cyberland will help prevent the daze we all feel when we are bombarded with too much information. Suggest some informational websites they can look at, such as Phys.org (for science nerds), or w3schools.com (for tech nerds).
The Benefits Of The Great Outdoors
There is nothing like the great outdoors to give kids a quick shot of everything that is not the media. No matter where they go, they will be bombarded with too much information. Our brains do not hold the genetic composition to handle this much in such short periods of time. This means that we must do our due diligence to help our kids maintain a healthy mindset. Otherwise, who will?
We can take our kids camping, or take a hike in a wooded area. And no electronic devices allowed! Here are some of the benefits of being on the great outdoors:
- A feeling of connection to the outside world
- Improved mental health and resiliency
- A greater connection with the parents
- Reduces stress and tension
- Gives an opportunity to exercise and fosters an interest in physical fitness
- Helps strengthen the immune system
- Helps prevent obesity
Perhaps this is what kids need to stay sane? In fact, we also need to take our own advice.
The issue of pushing technology on our kids is very complicated considering the benefits as well as the risks. Many parents would rather not deal with this uncertainty and allow their kids the freedom to do as they please since it will prevent any objections.
We think that limiting our kids’ time on the internet and electronic devices on general is the only responsible thing to do.
Let us know what you think by commenting below…