Technology and Children

About 8 months ago, I was talking with friends about that children’s singer, Raffi.  We were reminiscing about singing “Baby Beluga” as children and how we were all going to go to a Halloween party as Raffi songs.  When I got home that night, I decided to look Raffi up and see what he was up to.  I found him on Facebook and Twitter and followed him.  It became clear quickly that Raffi, still singing songs for children, has evolved into an anti-technology advocate, especially when it comes to children.

I didn’t get my first smartphone until 5 months ago.  I will openly admit that I am addicted to my laptop and when it broke this past Sunday I actually became depressed, but when it came to my phone, I was insistent on never getting a smartphone.  I didn’t want to become one of “those” people who, when out with friends, spends all their time playing on their phone.  Now that I have my smartphone, I can see the negatives and the positives.  While I am not addicted to it like I am with my laptop, I find it useful for the GPS and looking up information when a computer isn’t nearby.  I also see how smartphones can disconnect you from real life because you are no longer having conversations when you are out with people.

Back to Raffi, he has a book about the dangers of technology and children.  I haven’t read it, but I have followed him long enough on social media to know what the gist of it is.  He has said that children do not use their imaginations when they are around technology.  I find this very true in my own life.  Ever since I got my first laptop, I’ve had the hardest time being motivated and finding ideas for my creative writing.  I feel like my mind is so busy with information that I can’t filter it out to focus on what is important to me.  Because of my addiction to the Internet, especially, I get anxious about being bored and having nothing to do.  When I was a kid, I remember being bored, especially during the summer months when Dragnet Fridays came on Nick@Nite’s Summer Block Party.  (I hated Dragnet).  When I was bored, I didn’t have the Internet to entertain me, but I was very creative as a child and figured out things to do.  This fear parents seem to have about their children having nothing to do and bothering them has resulted in kids being addicted to technology at young ages when they should be using their imagination and being kids.  Kids should be out playing with friends, playing Cops and Robbers, riding their bikes, not in front of a computer.

While I know I can’t be without technology for very long, I don’t want my future children to be like me.  I want them to experience camping in the wilderness and going for family bike rides like I did when I was a kid.  I want a better world for them and an over-consumption of technology is not the answer.

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