Technology is not the ominous thing that people sometimes make it out to be. In fact, I’d go so far as to say that the computer/Internet is literally the best thing to come along since sliced bread, and if you want to make an argument for something else being a better invention, I would guess that some sort of computer technology either made it possible or actually physically created it.
It’s strange going out in the world today and seeing young kids who are playing with their parents’, or sometimes even their own, tablets or smartphones. These kids are so unbelievably tech savvy, and are quickly becoming known as the “touchscreen generation,” which is fitting being that they probably were born after touch screens were invented.
I remember I got my first cell phone in 7th grade. The design is now ancient compared to the phones now. It was a flip phone, and I barely ever used it besides to call my parents for a ride home because texting didn’t even become as popular until I was in 8th or 9th grade. The year after I graduated, the entire school district I went to received a grant to go towards the purchasing of iPads for each student. Kids in kindergarten now have iPads and are using them everyday, and I bet they are more comfortable using one and know their way around a lot more apps than I do because they have been exposed to it and are being taught how to use it by their teacher, who I’m guessing is also probably trying to learn how to use it as well, and I bet the kids might even know more tricks on it than their teachers do.
The great thing about iPads (and other tablets as well) is that they do not require a working knowledge of the alphabet to use like traditional computers do. Kids can swipe away to an infinite amount of new information in which they may not have had the opportunity to do so otherwise using various educational apps. If this means that the younger generations are going to be raised with new technologies like this literally at their fingertips, then more power to them.
People always want new things, and more and more jobs are being created as a direct result of these technological advances. The younger generation can use this knowledge and understanding that they’ve had since a young age when they want to find a career. Not to mention, you learn information in a different area of the brain when you are younger, so if kids are being exposed to technology while young, it will be easier for them to learn than someone who is 50 learning it for the first time.
I think in the long run, exposing kids to technology at a young age is only going to help them. I mean obviously, as parents, you have to be smart about it and use common sense. Don’t sign your kid up for twitter and Facebook and let him sit and read meaningless posts all day. Give them opportunities to learn and interact. Stimulating their brain at a young age is good for them; that’s why they put mobiles in babies’ cribs to give them something to look at and help generate brain activity.
Some parents are no doubt going to be like, “I don’t want my kid sitting in front of an iPad all day! I want them to be active and outside playing around so they don’t become a couch potato!” Well then, parent of the year, don’t let them. They are your kids and you can literally tell them what to do, it’s not a difficult process. Make them go outside and play or do something active besides playing games (even though they should be educational) on the iPad all day if that’s what you want. But keep in mind they can do both.
I hope schools will continue to realize that teaching computer related subjects and being able to use computers with proficiency is going to be more and more necessary because that’s what type of jobs are becoming prevalent in our society. People like Bill Gates and Mark Zuckerberg have been strong advocates for more computer science programs in schools because that is what companies are looking for.
When the kids of the “touchscreen generation” grow up, their knowledge of technology will most likely be far surpassing that of which we have now. This will undoubtedly lead to advances in whatever field uses computers, which nowadays is everything, and will only benefit you and everyone else. So when your kid asks you for an iPad for Christmas, keep in mind you could be giving the next Mark Zuckerberg their first computer.
Here you can view an article about how touchscreens and other new technologies are changing the world for kids: