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Recently, I started thinking if Paps and I would be doing our children a disservice by not allowing them to get use to using electronics.  Like, would it make them the equivalent of someone who is an illiterate adult once they get to college?  And I’m not just talking, using Word or Excel…Paint– I’m talking technology; X-box, Playstation, Wii-U, tablets, smartphones, Google Glass, Twitter, Tumblr,  FB (or whatever comes out by the time they’re able to grasp the concept of social media).

*Note*

I’m so disheveled by this topic, it may be hard for me to keep focus

More and more do I become more conflicted with the issue of technology and children.

I am a technician by trade. I L-O-V-E tech stuff. I love gidgets, gadgets, thingamabobs, new internet stuff, apps, media sources, social sites, new gaming devices, warfare items, space stuff… whatever it is, I’m interested and I want to play with it.  That had to start somewhere… and it did.  It started while I was in the 3rd grade when we had these old Apple Macintosh SE Desktop Computers that had 2 colors on them, green and greener, on a screen relative to the size of cell phones now…  I took an after school class to learn DOS manipulation.  However, the functions that a 9-year-old could do at that time were very elementary.  Shit, personal computers were a practically brand new technology, and I know I’m showing my age but that’s what it was.

But I loved that stuff because of the newness of it, and not so much of the addiction to the automatic functionality that it gave to society. I was playing with what would soon be the future. I was learning to manipulate with my own hands, a device that would soon be the most important thing in the world… literally.

But that’s not the case with the technology of today. If we give a child an iPad, it’s not because we’re trying to teach him coding. If we sit our children down with the newest Samsung Galaxy playing Spongebob on YouTube, I’m sure it’s not for the purposes of learning animation or how to use Final Cut Pro.  No… we’re numbing them, and trying to catch a quiet moment.

I GET IT… believe me I do.

Electronics have turned into that special sedative comparable to Valiums or marijuana for children.  It relaxes them, and shuts them up for at least 10 minutes so mommy or daddy can take a poop in peace.  It frees up time that parents feel they keep losing in order to make a decent dinner, or even quiet the drive to Auntie Sabrina’s house or home from school.

But it can’t be the only way to raise our kids now.

More and more am I seeing posts on Facebook or hear people say that their 2-year-olds are showing them how to use devices.  Parents are complaining that they can’t get smartphones and tablets out of their kids hands without a 30 minute cry-fest, and then end up “compromising” with the child in order to keep the peace.  Parents are fed up with the constant usage of technological appliances, yet they still supply their children with them because it’s practically necessary to.

It’s a catch-22.

One of my good friends was chit-chatting with me a little over a year ago, telling me hehad to buy his daughter a new laptop so she can do her school work.  Said that she kept using his, and taking his to school, so she needed her own.  At the time she was 12, and I was dumbfounded.  The childless-baffled-me was confused, and revolted against the thought of him buying a 12-year old a computer… but he then told me “All the kids need them in class… that’s just how it is…”

REALLY?!?!

Maybe a part of me is happy that children are learning computers so soon because we live in the age of technology, and there’s is nothing more pathetic than a grown ass person confessing they don’t know how to “email;” but there’s a downfall to this.  I just heard on the radio the other day from a teacher that spelling isn’t nearly as important anymore  [compared to math] because we have spell checkers and auto-correct…  … … … …

I’m sorry… what was that?

You’re telling me that we’ve succumb to technology so much, that we are allowed to be dumber in certain areas, and that’s ok…?

The seeming downfall of the quality of education isn’t my only issue.  Here’s another one: Technology is destroying the Family Dynamic.

The same friend in the needing-the-laptop-situation above and I were in Korea together, and we sat in a restaurant and watched dozens of families setup their kids favorite shows on the phone and commence to eating their meals with no family interaction.  Kids would wander by themselves in shopping malls glued to the large 5.7 inch screen, unknowingly walking a little further and further from the parent, or even left for minutes at a time sitting on a bench or an unattended stroller.  Now before you start to judge the Korean’s… look around.  This is happening in America too.  There is an unhealthy dependency on technology for the wrong reasons.  Instead of making a phone call, we shoot a text.  If the house is too big for voice to carry, we shoot a text.  Phones are picked up in mid-conversation to check social statuses, or celebrity gossip updates, twitter feeds, pictures of Instagramed food… and we think nothing of it.

Sure I’m happy that I don’t need to open a  Thomas Guide anymore for directions… But I do appreciate knowing HOW to read a Thomas guide.

Sure I’m happy I don’t need to worry about remembering telephone numbers, addresses, birth dates, appointments, snack time, or classwork due dates… but if I ever left my phone at home, I might be in a little hot water for the day.

Sure I’m happy that if I need to know daily news, weather, big news stories, how to train a dog, who has a better spaghetti, or whatever I need to know, it’s all at my finger tips… but is this sense of immediacy and urgency what we should teach our kids?  There was a time that if I wanted to know about The War of 1812, I had to look in Encyclopedias, or go to a library… And I was able to learn, and better yet, retain factual knowledge from accredited sources.

But now we have Wikipedia.

You know I made a Wikipedia page once.  It’s down now, but I tried to get “willn’t,” the TRUE contraction of will not to become a thing.  It was up for like 3 months before it was discredited…

Google has taken over learning.  TMZ and “Huffington Post top 10 Reasons to…” has taken over factual media… and this is all because of the immediacy for self-gratification of knowledge and entertainment.  Our children are addicted to World Star Hip-Hop, Snapchat, Vine, Kik Messenger, and ASk.fm (some of these you should really monitor if you haven’t heard about them).

I’m guilty of all this… I am not on a high horse here.

The last point I want to touch on is the fact that technology has had a major role in the disengagement of social development.  A lot of the above sites mentioned allow anonymity.  Nobody needs a name, nobody needs a face… nobody needs a conscience, and nobody needs  manners.  Social etiquette is slowly being lost.  Firm handshakes, eye contact, yes sir, please and thank you are slowly becoming a thing of the past.  We’re losing that ideal that self-assertion by getting off of your ass and meeting people with a physical introduction, and understanding that social charisma will get you far in life… That needs to be learned.  “Friends” are now game-tags via X-box live, or hot chicks by way of selfie on Instagram.  “Friends” numbers are in the thousands on our social media pages, and people mistake that for actual social acceptance.  People have started to forget how to actually interact with each other, and maybe hold a conversation without snapping a picture of your Chai Iced Latte in the middle of my sentence about the job I just lost…

But again… no high horse here… guilty

So I’ll try to sum up my wandering rant into these statements:

1)  I fear where technology is going and how involved we are with it and how comfortable kids are with it, as much as I’m intrigued and fascinated by it.

2) I already loathe the fact that at some point I too, will be the parent that gives in to buy my kid some form of the newest technology, even though at this point in my life I have a strong stance against it.

3) I must take action within my parenting morals to not let this brainless epidemic control my household

and

4) I must set the standard by being the example… I believe that’s the only way to combat the fight against technology use in the house.

Robert writes on his blog, The Scared Dad . He is a former-Marine-newly-married-soon-to-be-father kinda guy who feels that writing a blog may be fun for him to write, and interesting for you to follow.  He wanted to make a space where new parents, fathers in particular (and father figures… to not single out the step-dads and moms taking the role of dad) could resort to, just to see that you’re not the only one who’s going through this insane time in your life called parenthood.

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