TechnoKids

Kids and Technology.  That’s the topic of this week’s spin.  Do kids today have it too easy with all the technological advances or are we setting them up for failure?  I think it’s a little of both.  Let me explain.

Those of us of the baby boomer generation did not have all the instant information of this younger generation.  We had to work to get information whether it was a telephone number or information for a research paper.  We learned patience and how to persevere and actually work to get information. We learned how to look up information and use a telephone book. We didn’t automatically expect to get information from our
house or our phone in 10 seconds flat.  You had to actually go to a library (which of course also entailed travel) and know how to use the Dewey Decimal System to find the books and research material you needed to complete a research or term paper.  You couldn’t sit in your bedroom in your undies or pj’s and in a few clicks of the mouse find more info than you could ever go through.

I think lots of kids today don’t even know how to use the Dewey Decimal System and the card catalogue, or how to add and subtract in their head or on paper instead of using a calculator.  I know if I buy something and it’s say $3.25 and I give the cashier $5.25 they will inevitably say “Uh… you gave me too much money!”  And I always have to say “This way you can just give me $2 instead of having to count out the change” and they don’t get it.  Once at a lumbar company hubby wanted to buy a hammer but the power went out and the girl would not let him give her the exact change because she couldn’t figure out the tax in her head and she didn’t have a calculator and couldn’t use her computer.  And I fear most kids today don’t know how to balance their bank accounts much less make and stick to a budget.

I think it’s wonderful that kids have that available to them now.  But I don’t like that it has created a generation of instant gratification junkies that can’t stand to wait a few seconds to find out information.  I also don’t like the fact that many of today’s youth seem to have lost the ability to communicate except in acronyms and by means of an electronic device.  And spelling has completely gone out the window along with grammar and punctuation.  It seems that kids today don’t know how to carry on a decent conversation.

This was brought glaringly home to hubby and I a couple of years ago (I’m sure it’s even worse now) when we were at Disney.  We were standing in line for the Rockin’ Rollercoaster and there was a group of about 5 or 6 tweens standing in line a few feet in front of us.  We were in line for at least a half an hour so we got to watch them interact (I use that term very loosely).  More accurately that could probably be described as NOT interact but react.  They never talked to each other the entire time they were in line but they all had shiny new smart phones.  They were all texting like crazy.  Little fingers flying like their lives depended on it.  They would all beep about the same time and they’d all read and look up and glance around the group and giggle and nod their heads and then go right back to texting!  It was obvious they were “communicating” with each other but they were not talking.  The whole group of them standing there together yet all alone.  It was quite sad and startling at the same time.

It does amaze me how quickly today’s youngsters catch on to new technology.  I thought it was amazing when #1 was about 2 years old and could figure out how to work the television and VCR.  I thought she was a freaking genius because she figured out just by watching us that the  combination had to be that you’d turn on the cable box first, then turn on the VCR and then the TV and then you’d have to put the tape into the
VCR and press play and she had it down pat.  And for her short stature it was no easy feat considering we had one of those HUGE rear projection televisions and the cable box and VCR were on top of the TV so it entailed dragging chairs over to stand on top of and then climbing down to turn the TV on and then back up again.  Nowadays they know how to work computers, smart phones, IPOD’s and IPAD’s and Kindle’s!  I have a hard time figuring lots of those out myself!  I guess it’s all in what is available and what you’re exposed to at a young age.

Take for instance my great nephew, Jovi, Monte’s grandson.  I was absolutely amazed  at how he could work a smart phone.  It took me a little while to figure out when he’d bring me someone’s cell phone and say “Want Melmo!” that he emphatically wanted someone to Google Elmo on the
phone for him and when I was too stupid to figure it out he’d do it himself.  Don’t ask me how because I still don’t know.

And it amazed me how he’d call people on the phone with Monte’s phone and he KNEW who he was calling.  I guess I first have to explain to you that my brother was a simple man when it came to keeping numbers in his cell phone.  He saved the numbers but he didn’t know how to put the names with the numbers or he just never bothered to do it so it was all just a bunch of saved numbers. No names and no pictures to go with them.  They were all “unknown”…. to everyone but him and Jovi!  Jovi would call his aunt Brenda and you’d ask who he was calling and he’d say Ti Ti which is what he calls her.  And it would be her on the phone!

When we were all up there before Monte passed my sister was giving everyone haircuts.  He (Jovi) did NOT want his hair cut and he cried and cried….until someone gave him their cell phone so he could play “Angry Birds” and then he was just as happy as a lark!  He immediately stopped crying and was cooperative.  Amazing the steps technology has made since I was in high school.

Not happy that Aunt Suzie is cutting his hair

And 2 seconds later totally enthralled in Angry Birds....

And it would break my heart that after my brother died Jovi would carry Monte’s phone around and “call” him all the time.  He’d hit a bunch of numbers and you’d say “Who are you talking to Jovi?”  and he’d get this HUGE grin on his face and say  “Papa!” and he’d laugh and talk and giggle like he was carrying on a conversation with Monte.  When you’d say “Where is Papa?” he’d point to the ceiling and say “Papa gone”.  It would bring me to tears.  And now he takes my sister in laws phone (she has a picture of Monte as the background) and turn it on so that his picture comes up and then go to her pictures to find other pictures of him and when the phone goes dark after about 15 seconds he knows to click the button off and back on to make Papa come back.  If that brings him comfort then that’s a great thing.

Eating breakfast with his Papa and making sure he has the TV on the right channel!

So to answer the question…. I think it’s a double edged sword.  I feel badly that today’s kids seem to have lost the “art of conversation” and the ability to communicate except through electronic devices.  On the other hand, I am thrilled to be able to communicate instantaneously with people across the country and the world for that matter, at will, and free of charge! To borrow a slogan from a 70’s commercial “We’ve come a long way baby!”  And that applies to all sexes and ages.

As an addendum I have to add to this post.  I had already finished this and had it ready to post when this afternoon my cell phone rang.  I looked at it and it was an “unknown” number.  I recognized that it was a Northern Virginia number but didn’t recognize the number.  I answer and this little voice says “Hehwo?”  I recognized that the little voice was Jovi!  I told him hey and I loved him and he gibbered something unintelligible (I;m sure he was probably saying  how much he loved and missed me!) and hung up.  I called the number back and sure enough it was Jovi’s dad.  I have no idea how he found my number in Andrews phone but he did!  Made my day!  I told you he was a smart kid!

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About pegbur7

South of the Mason/Dixon Line
This entry was posted in Spin Cycle, Uncategorized and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

20 Responses to TechnoKids

  1. SuziCate says:

    Losing Papa has been so hard on little man Jovi, I’m glad the phone gives him comfort and his own sort of connection to him.

  2. I like how Jovi is using it in a good way to feel close to his Papa. Sprite is very savvy with John’s iPhone and her own iPod. Yes, she has her own iPod now. We let her use it on long car trips since the new car doesn’t have DVD, but it also has games and John disabled the Youtube and connection so she can’t do face time with anyone. She’s definitely better at it than me!
    You’re linked!

  3. Michele says:

    I agree that there are some good and bad connected with emerging technologies. Not sure what to do about it though. I like the fact that I can live in Houston and visit with my son and daughter-in-law using skype. Sometimes you just need to hear their voices and see their faces. Now, if I can just get my mom to figure out how to use it. I guess teaching her 4 times is not quite enough. 🙂

    • pegbur7 says:

      I understand that part Michele. Both my sister and I have given our mom computers and taught her to use it and set her up an email address but she still hasn’t used it even once that I know of!

  4. Ron says:

    “I think lots of kids today don’t even know how to use the Dewey Decimal System and the card catalogue”

    OMG…YES! YES! I DO remember those!!!!!!

    “I also don’t like the fact that many of today’s youth seem to have lost the ability to communicate except in acronyms and by means of an electronic device.”

    I soooooooooooo agree with you, Peg!

    Listen, I’m all for advanced technology, but it DOES have it’s negatives if not used consciously. So many kids now-a-days have totally lost the ability to actually open their mouths and TALK.

    You’re right….it’s a double edged sword.

    Love the photos and story of Jovi. It brought tears to my eyes.

    ((((( Jovi )))))))

    Great post, dear friend. Very thought-provoking. Have a FAB day!

    X

  5. VandyJ says:

    The card catalog no longer exists. It’s all on computer now.
    I have a DS and my oldest loves to play it but I only let him on long car trips. I know he will be asking for one of his own one of these days, but I think we are going to wait a while. Let them be kids that go outside and play and interact with their friends face to face.

    • pegbur7 says:

      I agree. All these outdoor games we used to play as kids that actually required imagination have gone by the wayside. They are not violent or dangerous enough I guess!

      I guess you can see how long since I’ve been to the library! RIP card catalogue!

  6. Angelia Sims says:

    Sydney is a creature of these devices (and generation). I was convinced she couldn’t spell for the longest, turns out, she mis-spells on purpose. Lol. But you are right, most kids have no clue!

    Love Jovi’s story. What a precious babe!

    • pegbur7 says:

      I love the convenience myself but hate that now I can’t keep a single phone number in my head anymore because I’m so unused to having to remember them anymore! Jovi is a sweetie and he loved his Papa.

  7. NikNik says:

    I miss card catalogs!!! I used to like the smell of them, like the smell of an old book!

  8. Katie says:

    You are right Peg, about the double edge sword. I work in a training center and I just went outside and there was a group of guys, all under 30 standing in a semi-circle looking at their smart phone, or texting on the smart phone, or talking on their smart phone. None of them were aloud to each other. Though I wouldn’t go so far to say they were communicating with each other. Conversation is going to become a dying art. However, that being said, I enjoy the technology myself. The e-mail the blogs, the skype. I get to have breakfast with my grandson most weekends with the skype, It is amazing.

  9. CaJoh says:

    I think that a lot of kids do not learn the “Why” behind their answers. This makes it very hard for someone who learns by wrote to come up with a similar, yet just as correct answer. I tend to think conceptually, so I am able to fully grasp the question and ponder several answers. Someone who figures out how to play the VCR may not be able to play a VCR from another household because they learned only one way and never figured out what each step means.

    • pegbur7 says:

      Very good point. And valid. Goes back to the kids nowadays wanting instant gratification. They learn the shortcuts and one way and when it doesn’t work many times they get frustrated and give up!

  10. I agree it absolutely is a double-edged sword. And how cool that Jovi has the phone all figured out so he can not only ‘call’ his Papa and see pictures of him, but call you, too! 🙂

    Spin: Technological Kid

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