Most of our lives are played out on the internet. Here I am at my computer typing this so it can go on our blog, post to our Facebook, our Twitter and more. My business is web-based. I think it’s fair to say my life is centered around technology and the internet. But should high tech also be this prevalent in our children’s lives, and in the classroom?
Let’s be honest, technology and the rate it is expanding is extraordinary. It is interesting and even natural for our kids to use technology. Their careers will most likely have to do with it as well, to a certain degree. Our children increasingly work on projects on computers, make their homework in Microsoft Word and use apps to study for their projects. I am all for being an active participant in learning: it will be more likely to stick in their head that way. The internet is a treasure trove of knowledge for those who know how to use it.
This all sound brilliant, and most schools now offer PC’s and internet access for nearly all the kids. However, there is a negative side to the rise of technology… This was highlighted to me when a mum said “I’m thinking of letting him have a Facebook account so he can learn to be more social”. Call me old-fashioned, but this shocked me: the idea that giving her child a profile in cyber space could improve his communication skills in the ‘real’ world!
And here lies the problem: our kids’ communication patterns are changing. I think this can be hard to understand for their parents who might feel as if their little ones are not developing essential social life skills and the ability to communicate face-to-face.
Another problem that has arisen from the increased use of the internet (and often Facebook specifically) is cyber-bullying. The fact that they are always in close proximity to a device that can connect to the internet, such as a phone, a tablet or pretty much any other electric device these days can leave them vulnerable to cyberbullying. The bullies can have (relative) anonymity and hide behind a computer screen, making it hard to find the culprit.
Another issue: I hate to use this saying but ‘in my day’ we didn’t have this method of communication at all. If we wanted to play, we would go to our friend’s house and knock on the door! Simple. We didn’t sit in front of the TV: we were out on our bikes, climbing up trees and falling out of said trees. And apart from the bent and bruised limbs we enjoyed the social aspect of meeting this way.
Technology is taking this away from us. We are more connected than ever before, yet we spend less time seeing people face to face. It’s slightly worrying what the future will hold for the next generation, unless they get to working with robots…then they’ll be fine!