Tuesday, 18 May 2010

Generation Tech

Just about every family I know owns a Wii, XBox, iPhone, PSP, Ninetendo DS etc etc. All of these or a combination of these. We do not own any of these. And I would bet a million pounds that The Tweenager (aged six) is the only kid in his class whose household doesn't have these, that's shocking-yeah? But shocking because he's the only kid starved of technology or shocking that 29 of his peers have been given an expensive gadget for birthdays and Christmas? It's all down to me - I'm having a hard time separating the intelligence of this technology from the laziness it brings and I pretty much agree with JK Rowling: "Never trust anything that can think for itself if you can't see where it keeps its brain".

On one hand I accept that the planet is going digital and it's probably going to divide me from my children eventually. I'm clueless about the technical world they will inhabit. But I don't want to submerge them in gadgets and virtual games when just plain reading a book or playing in the garden brings just as much fun. They're children! There's plenty of time for them to get tech-savvy in the future. They like paper books. They like building dens. The scariest thing is that The Tweenager is going to be surpassed by The Toddler who will experience the world in a radically different way. The Toddler will view all those gadgets as everyday household objects. I understand this, but it frightens me to think that The Toddler will "know nothing other than a world with digital books, Skype video chats with faraway relatives and child-friendly video games on the iPhone".

The other day my friend said that they'd had a fun Sunday morning playing bowling with the kids on the Wii. We had actually taken our kids bowling that same day. I can't get my head around bowling or bike riding on a computer - just take your kids out! And I can't stand it when children are inside on the computer when it's nice weather outside. We live in England! Sunny days are few! So kick the kids out with a ball. Children are getting so much information all day long that they are losing the ability to amuse themselves and just play.

Alright, alright I'm not totally against technology - I'm just in a mood because I can't get an iPhone for another fifty years (stupid O2 contract) but I don't want to invite the negativity into our home that these computer games seem to bring. I've seen kids crying because they can't get to the next level, I've seen the competitiveness it brings, I've seen The Tweenager's friend ignoring him for hours because he was so enthralled in the DS. And the other day we were out for dinner and although it was a nightmare with the kids behaviour, I would much rather that than the table next to us whose four children each had their heads in their PSPs.

Ha Ha get me mouthing off today- but better to be on soap box than Xbox, right???

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