It dawned on me the other day whilst a family friend visited with his daughter that today’s children are becoming truly lost in the ever increasing, all-consuming world of technology. This girl is 12 years old, and already has a mobile phone, iPod, Kindle Fire and laptop to her name, something I can only accredit to my most recent years. Throughout the entirety of her visit she was imprisoned by the artificial glare of each of these screens, idly scrolling through Facebook or launching green pigs at some rather irregular scaffolding. The option of a classic family board game was dismissively undertaken, and even here she frequented her phone beneath the table.
Such a sight truly saddened me. Has the era of playing outside, trading cards and even simple monopoly been replaced by a generation of silent children mindlessly indulging in modern technology, rather than the company of one another? I think back to my childhood, where the birth of the internet was but a frivolity for the adult world to obsess over. Of course there was some technology, with games consoles still on the rise from their primitive 1980’s states, but again these were merely additions to a life of toys and the outdoors, football, climbing trees and socialising with physical human beings, rather than a photo pinned to a website. I find myself wondering if children even understand the joys of toys and imagination today, or if they must rather have some conglomerate company in America create their worlds for them.
What frightens me ever more so is that this is only a worsening trend. What will happen when this generation grows and teaches its own children to follow in its footsteps? Will the starting age of technological consumption decrease with every new parent, until we find three year olds writing their first words on iPad screens and speaking to mummy and daddy across the house via Face Time? An advert displaying a new tablet basically encapsulated the entirety of this argument and what I find wrong with this generation, as a young girl threw aside the messy enjoyment of paint-on-paper for the clean, cold touch of a computer screen.
This technological imprisonment is of course not only limited to a new form of children’s entertainment, it extends to all corners of society nowadays. It can even be seen within my own social group, bred and raised on the fresh air of the outdoors. I went to a party recently, and despite there being around twenty people with whom to speak and socialise, there was never a moment someone was not on their phone, texting, playing games or checking Facebook and Twitter. I must rather ashamedly admit to this myself too, the mindless checking of my phone now somewhat automatic in my daily life.
It may be a sad thought for me, but this is but another part of the ever changing cycle of life. It is human nature to adapt and change, I’m sure each generation looks in disapproval at the next as technology spurns on and the world continues its trend of dramatic transformation. The question is of course whether these changes will be for the better…