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.
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.
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!