I hear it so often among my cohort (and, OK, we’re old): Kids are turning into tech-addicted mush brains. I don’t believe it. Those well past childhoods and adolescences will always worry about whatever the young are up to, whatever technological advances they’re embracing.
I remember being skeptical about computers when they downsized and became cheap enough for home use. I couldn’t figure out why anyone would want one until my husband demonstrated word processing to me. It took one demonstration to bring me around to the idea of being able to make editing decisions based on content instead of the proverbial question, “Is this edit worth retyping 20 pages?”
So although I confess to understanding maybe 1% of what my computer is capable of and although I do not own a cell phone, let alone a smart phone, I am 100% certain that an e-reader is in my future. All I’m waiting for is for prices to go down and the simpler versions to figure out that apps are the way of the future.
I don’t give a fig about games. Well…maybe a sudoku app. But I would be quite happy listening to music, watching videos, enjoying TED lectures, trying recipes, visiting foreign ports, catching up on the news, scheduling travel, poring over maps, and, of course, reading books, all from the comfort of a comfortable chair.
I’m mystified when I see three young women walking down the street, each of them talking on a mobile phone instead of paying attention to each other. And growing (and aging) bodies need exercise and good food. We also, all of us, need time in the outdoors, soaking up fresh air, watching birds, tossing balls.
Still, I refuse to join the ranks of those who dismiss the latest communications technologies as the downfall of western civilization and the death of learning. We do have to figure out the environmental equation, and we have to do it right now. Chucking yesterday’s technology to embrace tomorrow’s is destroying lives and messing up the planet. We need to hold tech companies’ feet to the proverbial fire, insist they make our “old” (come on, guys, 2-3 years is NOT old) technology upgradeable and figure out how to recycle components without wrecking anyone’s health.
While we’re doing that, I’m going to continue feeling upbeat when I see what young people are doing with the technology that mystifies their elders.
Here are a few reasons communications technology gives me hope:
You have your own list. Feel free to add them here or on This Give Me Hope’s Facebook page.
N.B. Oregon is piloting a new way of voting for individuals with disabilities – via iPad.