Techie Textie Kids - what's too much?

My local school is lobbying for our kids attention this year by embracing technology in ever increasing ways - homework on the computer, iPads in the classroom, classroom Facebooks.

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


KJ said...

You said: had to know this stuff or they wouldn't be ready for "the real world"...

Having picked up a PC when they were rare I can tell you kids don't really know this stuff. They can maneuver through parts of applications to get the basics done. (I am not including games) When something goes wrong or they need a more comprehensive knowledge they are lost. Software manufactures have dumbed down applications to point and click- which makes them useful out of the box. Unfortunately, as a result, we are not challenged, we fail to explore and learn.

Just my $0.02

btaylor said...

My friend's daughter says she doesn't want an iphone, because she texts under her desk at school without looking at the phone, and wouldn't be able to without the actual keys to feel. One thing's for sure, kids can multi-task pretty good.

Catherine Ivins said...

agreed KJ and I think some parents who boast of their kids techie skills are really talking about their kids ability to maneuver around the web or use certain applications quickly- damn those kids fingers are fast!

I know Briana and when you try to catch one texting while you are talking to them and ask them to repeat back what you just said- they always seem to be able to do it...amazing

Julie Boyles Journals and Books said...

This subject is so near and dear to my heart. My kids are 16, 14 (boys) and an 11 yr old, might as well be 16, daughter.

In my experience here, too much media (especially tv and video games) turns my kids into lethargic slugs that erupt - volcano style -fights and arguments about every 15 minutes.

School started here last week and by Sunday I'd had enough! I instituted a No TV rule for the entire week. It works beautifully and peace has returned to our house.

Don't even get me started on the phones... oy

Happy you're back posting again. I missed reading while you were gone. I'm glad your shows went well, and I have to say how brave I think you are to do them! You go!

Catherine Ivins said...

hey Julie- I bow to the fact that you can get 3 kids to give up tv for a week! I bet so many of our kids outbursts and eruptions are caused by their stifled creativity-that energy having no where else to go! The hardest thing for me about doing the shows is being around people because I am a total hermit at heart ...

sherry truitt said...

I think most kids learn by their parent's examples.

Who is buying those iPads, phones, video games for the kids? Parents who are talking on the phone while driving? Hmmmm.

We live in a home without cable TV or a single video game. Somehow we manage.

20 years of cable TV will pay for a year of college, maybe more. Can anyone even remember what they watched last week?

DancingMooney said...

I am pretty old school when it comes to most technology... mostly by choice. I do have a cell phone, but it doesn't have any bells and whistles on it... just a phone, with caller ID and voicemail. simple. I still use a regular old and I mean old as in, old, computer... I don't have a laptop. I'm not on facebook, but I'm guilty of twitter... though I can walk away from it when I walk away from my computer... it doesn't come with me wherever I go.

I think the rate that technology has taken over is quite ridiculous in most cases, though I can also see how it's become more handy too. But it's taken the personable conversation out of life, you are totally right about that.

Thank goodness houses are still being built with dining rooms in them. :)