Are smartphones turning kids into zombies?
The debate continues about whether mobile technology is creating the most advanced generation ever or a society of unlearned and uncultured automatons.
Thu, Jun 06 2013 at 12:12 PM
A series of articles at the tech news site ZDNet has taken on the topic of kids and mobile technology. The general conclusion? Children are becoming slaves to their smartphones.
Although James Kendrick writes that smartphones have created "the most advanced generation in the history of mankind,” because they have access to basically all of human knowledge in their pocket, he seems to be the dissenting voice.
As writer Charlie Osborne puts it: “Today's teens and pre-teens are overly reliant on technology, lazy, self-entitled, and are the worst read of any generation.”
“Children are not the most advanced — they're the most distracted. Furthermore, they are liable to become the most idiotic and lacking in social skills as their eyes are turned away from learning about their environment, instead commenting on their friend's latest duck-pout profile picture on Facebook,” she adds.
Osborne, a former teacher, worries that technology is hampering children’s development of the thinking process, rational skills, research and being well-read.
Jason Perlow added to the conversation by writing that kids are utterly addicted to their devices and are becoming a horde of drooling zombies.
“Smartphones and tablets are a drug that they cannot easily be weaned off,” Perlow writes.
In describing a seven-night cruise he was on, he observed that seeing all of the kids without connectivity was like, “witnessing a mass withdrawal scene out of a 1970s methadone clinic. Or watching one of those 'Star Trek: The Next Generation' episodes when the Borg drones become severed from their communications link to the Collective.”
And while kids on holiday with their parents have been perfecting the bored teen act since vacation was invented, giving digital devices to children at such an early age certainly is coming into play here.
ABC News reports that a survey by Northwestern's School of Communication of 2,300 parents of children aged from birth to 8 years old found that 37 percent of parents say that they use tablets or smartphones to entertain their kids, despite that 54 percent worry their children's use of mobile devices had a negative impact.
Perlow notes that on the bright side, smartphones have afforded the modern parent a nifty communications and location mechanism, which affords better peace of mind, but there are limits.
“We have to remember that smartphones and tablets and other forms of digital interaction are no replacement for real human interaction, as well as traditional forms of learning,” he notes.
To that end, ABC News did an informal test to see if babies would choose mom or a slab of electronics with a touchscreen; time after time, the tablet or phone won. Oh, that awkward moment when Baby picks an iPad over Mommy ... as shown in the report below.
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