Well there is no doubt, that technology is certainly changing the way we do things, making a lot of things easier than ever, connecting not just the earth but the entire universe. Not only this, but it is also changing the way we perceive and experience things at every moment in our lives now, and that is where the problem lies.
Remember the days when we celebrated birthdays without facebook wishes, but surprise visits from those close by, and long conversations with those away. This was one of the days in the year, when i ended up catching up with all my friends and family, even those i barely spoke to throughout the year. A simple b’day wish would lead to an endless conversation, re-connecting me to them each year. Remember how we opened up our picture albums, comprising of carefully selected photos. OH! and what joy we felt putting those photos into the album, going back into time, filled with nostalgia, each time we went through them. Now my hard drives and phone memory is swamped with pictures (sometimes multiples of the same shot), making it a task to look through and taking up all my time to clean up, which is again a never ending process. We can come up with a billion such experiences that have been ruined cause of the way we use technology.
I am not against the advancement in technology, and it is certainly not a bad thing ; what changes our experience with technology is the way we use them.
Do we really want our children to experience things naturally? Do we want them to feel the joy in playing tic-tac-toe with a paper and pen, running around with friends and playing hide and seek ? Then why is it that we swamp them with i-pads and mobile phones from the moment they are born? I have a single baby pic of myself from the time I was just born, and my mother has treasured it in an album, and every time someone wants to recall how I looked as a child, we go back to seeing that picture and discussing my childhood memories, getting all nostalgic. My niece is only 3 months and she already has over 300 pictures of her, at least a 100 pictures from the day she was born. At this rate by the time she is 10 she will have at least 12000 pictures of herself. I wonder which one of those will she want to look back at, or if there will be any one amongst those 12000+ that she would love to treasure.
Some parents fear that if they don’t equip children with i-pads and laptops at a young age, they will not turn out to be very technology friendly adults. Really? It takes a 2 year old child, just a few swipes to figure out how to open the gallery or youtube. Will they really not be able to figure out technology, when our parents who are now 50-60, and didn’t have access to i-pads or smart phones for almost 30+ years of their lives, have figured most of it with just a little acquaintance.
Other parents believe that is the one and only way they can feed their children, educate their children or get some alone time. What happened to listening to stories by the bedside, playing board games and eating together? What happened to learning through books, and singing rhymes ?
The question here is, how do we want our children to perceive this world ? Should we give them the liberty to experience the natural world through their senses? or Should we block their senses, from this beautiful natural world , and create an alternate virtual reality for them.
Mridula Saria Co-founder -Grooming Tales / Mentor Educational Researcher and Coach