362 Days ’til 40: Technology Overkill???

25 Feb


As I sit here with my laptop, iPad, iPhone, iPod, flat screen TV, Kindle, Nook (yes, we have BOTH) and video game console I can’t help but wonder how much technology is TOO much???  Today we had some visitors at the school I work at.  I took them on a tour and when they saw the 2nd grade room their comment was, “It is so nice that their essays are written.”  By second grade many schools already have students typing their essays. Is this going too far?

When my 10-year-old has a friend spend the night and I wake up in the morning to find they have sent text messages (via the friend’s cellphone) all morning – Is this going too far?

When two children interact more through their connected video games than in conversation, is this going too far?

When students text message each other in class instead of passing old-fashioned notes (which were easier or a teacher to catch) is this going too far?

How far is too far?  Not long ago I read about an elementary school in the silicon valley that has done away with technological integration, in favor of providing a more traditional foundation to their children’s education.  They want to wait to introduce their students to technology when they are older.  Is this school innovative in their refusal to follow the technology trend, or are they denying their students the education critical to function in our ever-developing technological world?

My ten-year-old wants a cellphone.  She does not want one because she needs one, but because she thinks it is a cool toy.  If she does not need a phone for safety reasons, can I truly justify the purchase?  With the health concerns regarding young people talking on cellphones and developing certain forms of cancer, why would I want my child to have a phone that serves no purpose other than to entertain her?  What happened to friends, books, and walks on a beautiful day?

I am all in favor of technology (as illustrated by our massive family collection of technological gadgets), but I also see the need for moderation.  My girls are interacting, reading, playing – they can do this because they are not distracted by too much technology.  I worry that future generations may begin to lack social skills as a result of hiding behind technology, rather than learning how to form relationships.

As far as I am concerned, my 10-year-old does not need a cellphone until she is at least 20 – maybe 21!



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8 responses to “362 Days ’til 40: Technology Overkill???

  1. debut dad

    February 25, 2012 at 02:13

    The main point here is technology is great when used in moderation. You’re absolutely right when you say society is lacking in social skills as a result of hiding behind technology… I think it’s already happening.

    • Anonymous

      February 25, 2012 at 17:36

      Hi Debut Dad,
      I agree, it is already happening. It is sad. I hope that, as adults, we learn how to moderate quickly so that we can model a balanced integration for our childrens’ sake.

  2. damoris

    March 27, 2012 at 04:57

    Gosh! And I thought we were freaks!! lol
    My 10 year old doesn’t watch TV or even listens to the radio. For similar reasons to yours we’ve decided our daughters were better off chasing butterflies, loosing days in books, making up games with friends, laughing on the trampoline, making things with their hands or running around… We call this living.
    I see schools scheduling “socialisation lessons” in a too near future, as part of the national curriculum. Or maybe they’ll call it “living lesson”, or learn “how to live”. And people won’t understand why those children are so weirdly not socially developed… I believe we all had children too late and rely too often and too much on “technology” to give us a nice break from our duty: be a parent.
    Thank you for that post.

    • 400daystil40

      March 27, 2012 at 07:17

      Wow, your second paragraph in your comment section scares me because you are so right! At the rate society is moving no one is going to know how to socialize at all in a generation or so….

  3. damoris

    March 27, 2012 at 12:32

    My children are home schooled and people often have a negative reaction to it. The usual concern about socialisation is raised, followed with kin blames and harsh judgements of irresponsibility as a parent… I smile as I watch their children, as we’re talking, noses glued to the latest Iphone. And in the distance, I see mine, connecting with nature and other children around, filling the air with energy and physical interactions. They often join in the conversation, curious to meet a new face, and look at the strangers in the eye when they speak, just like normal humans do. Most children these days look around while they talk to you.
    I often wonder what is wrong with these people who dare criticise our choice. I don’t lecture them when they let their 10 year old checking her out her face book friends in the middle of the park, the 3year old toddler play a balancing ball game on their phone or the baby chewing his new coming teeth on the corner of the phone (swallowing a few glitters and beads on the way)!! lol I wish I could open their eyes and help them but generally speaking, people don’t want to hear they have done wrong by their children. They are quite comfortable living that way and change scares them. I feel sorry for them, deeply sad because I can’t help the poor children.

    I personally see a world where the old look on home schooled children will take a radical turn and the mass will look up to those as the “normal social human kind”. ! Although it would be quite satisfying, I really hope it never comes to that. Sorry, I changed the subject a bit but am so passionate about my children’s education… It kills me to know children watch TV in schools now! What is wrong with the world? Can’t people see clearly the damage their doing to those pure, once innocent, little hearts?

    Good on you for not giving into the phone mania. Your daughters will thank you for it one day, when their turn comes to make decisions for their own children.

    You know, I have hope for the world, despite my earlier comment. I believe a change is coming. Undoing the damage will take a long time and obviously will leave many fails in its trail, but I want to believe we are going towards a better future for our children. There are more and more people like us. And more and more people would like to find our strength to resist the general technology epidemic. Yes, there will be very innovative schools who will use pens and paper all the way during primary. There will always be technology but hopefully, used in a wiser way. It is up to us parents to control what we can, at home, for the sake of our children.

    Even though we are a bit out numbered at the moment, we need to keep optimistic. Our enthusiasm will be contagious eventually… one day… I wish to live to see this day 😉

    • 400daystil40

      March 27, 2012 at 23:15

      Thank you so much for this great comment! It made me smile! 🙂 I agree with you, I do have hope that somewhere along the line people are going to begin to understand that we have gone overboard with technology and I hope it will be reigned in a bit! Just recently there were TONS Of debates locally on the value of teaching cursive (with many schools saying that students do not need the skill anymore because everything is done on the computers anyway)…… so sad that we are dropping skills and, perhaps, crippling ourselves……. particularly when technology takes us away from the lives we are supposed to be living. Thank you so much for stopping by and I hope you visit again! 🙂

      • damoris

        March 28, 2012 at 08:57

        Now, you’re scaring me! Are you saying they are also thinking of dropping grammar and spelling? These subjects are pretty useless if you only look at the use we have for them these days, I agree but hey, do people realise what learning them does to the young brain?Like anything we learn while young, it actually makes connections in the neurones and helps building myelin, which helps the activity of the brain all the way through life! How cruel to deprive our children of such excellent chances. It sounds like they are trying to dumb us right down again… to control us better I suppose… I wish people saw clearer and looked at the bigger picture. Today, we take the easy ride with technology and tomorrow we’ll pay top price for our laziness.
        Can you gather up a few people and find the strength to keep doing what you think is right?
        You are so right when you mention technology as a “life thief”. It definitely is time consuming and taking our lives away from our loved ones. And here I am, sitting at my computer, while my children are watching an ants nest , feet in the grass, face in the breeze… lol
        At least some people know their priorities. lol
        I love your blog, it is so refreshing to drop in and feel regenerated with what I find here. Thank you for giving hope to some and inspire (hopefully) others.
        What will you do when you’ve reached 40? I wonder if one can find all the answers … ever… but you certainly contribute to answer some of mine! thank you. ;-))

        • 400daystil40

          March 28, 2012 at 12:24

          Thanks for your great comment… ah, do not even get me started! I think there will always be grammar… but I wonder about spelling with all of the spell check programs out there. Yes, my colleagues and I are standing firm in our beliefs that technology should not be overtaking everything…. it is a very crazy time to be in any aspect of education.
          Thank you so much for your compliments re: my blog! I am not sure what I will do when I reach 40, but I have 330 days to figure it out! In the meantime, I hope you will stop by again. 🙂


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