Thursday, August 18, 2011
Techie Textie Kids - what's too much?
A few years ago we all thought more technology was a good thing - kids had to know this stuff or they wouldn't be ready for "the real world", right? They had to learn this stuff young.
Now we're not so sure anymore. It feels like kids know too much of this stuff and the other stuff is starting to get lost in the shuffle. I read that the average child and teen spends over 7 hours a day in front of some kind of screen - and this doesn't include texting!
(and that most teenagers sleep with their phones ... or within arms length of their phone - just what kind of middle of the night emergency text requires this kind of diligence I am not certain, but when Jason dumps Amber everyone will know about it before breakfast .. thank goodness)
My teacher friend says kids will do anything to text during class and catches someone daily - pretend searching their backpack while checking their email and sending a fast text - aren't their friends in school, too?
When I am walking Olive around other dog walkers I am usually the only person without a phone to my ear - now this may be due to some degree to my inability to walk and chew gum at the same time (not that I actually chew gum except on airplanes) but I am always thinking who the hell is everyone talking to?
One day last spring I was in line at the post office just as the high school bus dropped off the kids right outside the post office window - every single kid getting off that bus immediately flipped open their phones .. every single one. None of the kids talked to each other (and I live in a very small town so they all absolutely knew each other).
Wrists flipped in unison like the Rockettes at Christmas.
(it was sort of amazing in a scary Stepford, robotic, the world is clearly ending so shoot me now, kind of way)
I've seen toddlers routinely given mommy's iPhone when they need to be quieted down; promoting fixation on techie devices at younger and younger ages.
(of course, I will admit to giving my daughter my car keys to play with ... ie chew on ... at such times ... and she hasn't developed a car key fixation, but I still think this iPhone thing could be trouble later as most quick fixes turn out to be ... )
School is about to start up again folks, maybe it has already where you live, and it is up parents where all of this is heading. We need to pull the plug whenever possible. Family dinners help.
Research has shown that the dinner table is one of the key places that young people learn how to engage in real conversation.
(and argue and have civilized and uncivilized debates and learn to come together after things fall apart)
Maybe family dinners can save us.
(just have 'em drop their cellphones at the dining room door)
*shut down computer print by bitso truth