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Is technology making our youth dumber?

Fri, 08/08/2014 - 8:09am
A.J. Watts, Editorial Intern

I have little 2-3 year-old cousins that have the ability to use and comfortably navigate their way around a smart phone or a tablet. It is incredible to see how technology that takes older adults a longtime to figure out comes so natural to them. Just witnessing how much things have changed since I was younger is mind-blowing. But is all of this change having beneficial effects on the youth growing up in this fast paced culture?

When I was a little kid, my mom tried her best to manage my television viewing. That was in the late ‘90s. In the year 2014, television is the least of most parent’s worries. From a young age, children are exposed to a plethora of different technologies. Most times these type of technologies catch flak because kids would much rather use their electronic devices instead of reading a book or magazine. So adults immediately see the devices in a negative way just because of their unfamiliarity.

Wired.com reports, “The brains our children are born with are not substantively different from the brains our ancestors had 40,000 years ago. But almost from day one, the allotment of neurons in those brains (and therefore the way they function) is different today from the way it was even one generation ago. Every second of your lived experience represents new connections among the roughly 86 billion neurons packed inside your brain. Children, then, can become literally incapable of thinking and feeling the way their grandparents did. A slower, less harried way of thinking may be on the verge of extinction.”

So for parents to expect that children born in such a vast technological era are going to be the same way they did is unfair and unrealistic. It does not only have to do with time period, but can include culture and demographic. Children that are raised in third-world countries are definitely going to think differently than a child that is born in more of an advanced society. I won’t argue that technology is absolutely changing the way we think. However, change shouldn’t always have a negative connotation.

Author, Nicholas Carr says, “After enough time in front of our screens, we learn to absorb more information less effectively, skip the bottom half of paragraphs, shift focus constantly; “the brighter the software, the dimmer the user,” he suggests at one point.” This viewpoint is simply opinion. Tech has taken away the long research processes of old, and has given us sites like google, and other amazing databases that give us the answers to billions of questions in seconds. Efficiency is progress, not weakness.

The speed and growth of technology is not the problem, nor is it damaging the brains of the youth. Children are able to catch on fast because from the day they are born it is all they know. Some adults have to adapt and try their best to realize that they were raised in a different time where these types of technologies weren’t available. This isn’t a reason to punish or judge today’s youth, it should create an opportunity to learn from them.

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