Technology. We see it everywhere. We are part of it. It is everywhere. I have a love/hate relationship with technology. I love access to information in a second and jumping on the computer and finishing whatever I needed to do in half the time, really a quarter of the time, that it would have taken me in my childhood or even 10 years ago. What I hate about computers is that I get lost. I pick up my phone to look something up, then I get sidetracked and check a text or I see a Facebook notification and check that out and on and on and on. Thirty minutes later, I forgot what I was doing on my phone in the first place.
I am in every sense of the word a multitasker and I am overwhelmed by technology. I worry about how my daughter is going to be able to process all this information. It is rare that I see a child just sitting and reading, talking to a friend or doing schoolwork without a phone right next to them and then a pause for a notification from Twitter, a text or, worse, a selfie moment. I am amazed at how kids will be hanging out together, yet never looking at one another because they are scrolling on their tablets or phones.
If you read about technology and kids we learn that too much technology can affect brain development and impulse control. http://www.tampabay.com/news/health/how-to-unplug-your-kids-from-technology-overload/2290082. So I limit technology because I am afraid my child will go into some freakish technology void, but then I realize that if I don’t let her spend any time exploring on the computer she will fall behind in honing her computer skills, especially since she is interested in technology-based careers. I am in a quandary on how to navigate this technology world.
I try very hard not to let her use technology when people, in particular her friends, are around. This is sometimes hard because not all parents feel the same way—I have specific groups now in which I have unfortunately conceded to let her bring have her computer with her when we are meeting them. I have tried to instill in her that face to face contact with people is more important than looking at a screen and when someone is speaking to you give them your full attention. Friendships should be developed by sitting and speaking with your friends. The way to develop a connection with a friend is not via texting and sharing on Facebook—these are superficial relationships that develop a false sense of closeness with a person. It is fine to keep up with people this way, but in my opinion, and what I am teaching my child, is that you need to have conversations with friends in person to develop that closeness we all hope to find in our friendships. I may be in the minority on this, but I am so worried if we don’t put the phone and tablets down we are in danger of losing our humanity.