I’ve heard several news stories lately about kids and technology, and its brought me to wondering about how to curb the madness that has emerged.
Now I don’t picture my future children as being technologically deficient, despite the best efforts of my own parents to remain entirely in the dark about any advancement in technology. My father has only just accepted the wonder that is the world wide electronic mail system, and he still asks if we receive them as if they might have gone astray.
Life will be different for my kids. With a hardware-obsessed father and an internet-obsessed mother, I can’t expect any child of mine not to be plagued by the same addictions that I suffer. I have frittered away many of the free hours of my life on the likes of YouTube and Facebook, with not much to show for it besides a robust knowledge of internet culture and phenomenon and a distant, if not nosy, preoccupation with the personal lives of my friends.
But in teenage youth, one can find the extreme of absolutely everything that exists. Constant texting or social networking to the detriment of actual social interaction is a perversion of all that makes the internet wonderful to me. NPR reported about kids putting texting language in their school papers, and two Australian girls who were lost in a storm drain posted a distressed Facebook status with their cell phone rather than using that same cell phone to call emergency services. They wandered around lost for seven hours before someone came to find them.
Technology has exceeded my imagination. Americans aged 25 and older are the remnants of an analog age, an age where the necessity of rewinding and dial-up modems forced us into moderation in our own youth. Cousin Sharon and I were remembering the days when we raced across the room to press record when the radio played a song that we loved. Now everything is available to us at the press of a button.
But kids deserve to live in innocence as long as possible, and innocence is fostered by simplicity. This means resorting to old-fashioned measures, and I find that the exact things I hated about my parent’s rules growing up are the exact things I’ll need to resort to to ensure that I don’t have children with one eyeball glued to the cell phone and one hand glued to a computer keyboard while their brain is completely engrossed in a TV show instead of in what I am saying. No TV? But I watch TV everyday. One hour of internet? I’m sure I’ve spent one hour on the internet at least three or four times today. But I’ll follow through, because I want more for my children than a life governed by words on a screen. And I better not see LOL or BRB in any of their book reports either.