Saturday

Our Technological Legacy - A Less Social Society?

If "children are the future" - and of course they are - what kind of future will it be, at least socially? Technology is having a profound effect upon those small, impressionable proto-people, and some of the signs should give us pause. We already see in some adults the breaking down of some social norms and conventions as we develop strong ties to our smartphones and tablets, and while many of these changes are observable but harmless we tend to discount the impact on our young ones.

Not so much, these days


A report from the UK shows that "Almost 3.5 million British children under the age of eight have tablets and nearly 4 million learned to use a smartphone or tablet before they were three."

If we already see the insularity and self-absorption in adults who's lives were until relatively recently without such personal technology, how much more will this be manifest in children raised in such a culture?

We already experience people taking smartphone photos of accidents or violent acts instead of helping or even running away (two "normal" responses), so what of kids that already don't really play outside with friends (like us baby boomers remember doing) and often don't even have much in the way of playground activities at school anymore?

Of course, our intention is to allow our kids to embrace technology and to give them a chance in the workforce and so on; or maybe the tablet or smartphone has become the new TV - that electronic baby sitter for many years.

Socialization skills are important among primates, and we seem to be doing our darndest to avoid passing on and nurturing these skills. I hope I am not being overly pessimistic, but  at least for our technology-based culture, it all seems a bit bleak to me.

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