I am in my mid 30’s; Computers and internet became popular when I was in my older teen years. I will admit I am pretty tech savvy but I have had some time to learn. What I can’t get over is when I see my 2 year old niece navigating through a smart phone, picking out movies and games like she has been doing it for years. She is only 2, she has not been doing it that long! The other day she was watching Mickey Mouse on the phone, my sister took it away to make it louder. NOT a good idea, she was not having that. She took it out of my sisters hand and in the process closed out the show. Was that a problem for her? No she knew which app to hit, used her finger to scroll through the shows and picked the one she was watching. I know this is quite normal now, but man at 2 I was lucky if I knew how to turn on the TV.To tell you the truth I actually do not remember what I could do at 2, but I know it was not that!
3 year old children can beat grown adults at video games. I played my share of Mario growing up and if I must say I was pretty good, but give me those new video game remotes now and I am lost. I think it is amazing how the minds of children are like sponges. They soak all of this information in. Yes I believe it is essential that children learn these skills at an early age, since this is now the world that we live in, but I do believe that is has its negative sides as well.
When I talk to my mom or my friends about my childhood and I reminisce about all of the good times I had growing up it was always about things that I did outdoors. The sports, the bike rides, playing hide and seek and just running around being a kid. There was always laughing, healthy competition and a huge group of children playing together. I never wanted to be inside. A normal summer day consisted of me waking up, eating breakfast, playing outside until lunch, coming home to eat lunch then going back out until dinner. After dinner I would be allowed to play outside until dark and had to come in. If I was not allowed outside I would cry, literally.
Now a days, it is hard to get a child off of the computer and get them to the dinner table never mind getting them to go outside. I know times have changed and it is not as safe as it was 20 years ago. It would not be the best idea to allow your 10 year old to run around the neighborhood, but getting out to have a good time is not even a priority for children anymore.
I also believe that all this technology is not allowing children to learn the correct way to interact with others. Yes they have their online friends. They post pictures and talk. Don’t get me wrong, they do interact. But this is not one on one human interaction. Even adults are different people online then they are in person. It is easier to be outgoing behind a keyboard then it is to be in person. People skills are essential in life.
In the end I believe that there should be an equal balance of technology and real life growing up. While it is important to learn all of these skills, it is also important to be an active part of the real world and to learn real experiences. As busy parents it is sometimes hard to make time for “real life” activities, but you too should get away from the world of technology for a while and create more memories which you can post on Facebook! Don’t worry, I am guilty of it also.