Addicting Games, FOMO (Fear of Missing Out), Text Overload, eBooks – Oh My!
Kids are addicted to Video Games.
Kids learn from Video Games.
Kids are addicted to social media because they worry about missing out on fun (FOMO)
Kids use social media to connect with friends and it makes them feel less lonely.
eBooks are the death of books.
eBooks will get kids reading again.
So which one is right? Spend some time on the internet and you’ll soon learn that there are no answers. The pro- and anti-technology sides each have their supporters. The stats are as bewildering as the opposing views – and maybe the only thing people agree on is that no one knows exactly how much screen time is the right amount.
- 84% of parents are positive about the use of smartphones and tablets in eduction
- 43% think their kids spend too much time with their smartphones
- 63% of parents admit to iParenting (ie, relying on technology to pacify kids)
- 80% of parents think their kids use technology for non-school related activities
How about the fact Nomophobia is a real word – defined as fear of being without a smartphone, or the fear of losing your phone, or no-mobile phobia).
This all sounds like contradictory behaviour. Parents/Adults recognize the danger of technology, but they either encourage its use – or actively allow it.
I feel strongly that the pro-technology camp relies too much on examples of how kids can use technology as proof that, in general, technology is fundamentally good. For example, they argue that since children can do research for school projects with the internet, there is nothing wrong with doing research on the internet for projects.
The best way to do research is with a book. A child needs to understand how to read an entire book, to take notes, to distill nuance and perspective from 200 pages and multiple chapters. That cannot be done by cutting-and pasting from 1000 word blog postings and non-peer review articles.
A child can certainly create content from blogs and random postings, add a few pictures, and hand it in (and in our marks inflated age probably get an A+). But they will not have learned much, and certainly will not have improved their reading and writing.
The point of all this – technology is crushing the book, destroying reading and writing skills, and lowering the bar for literature. We are losing the battle because while technology can be used in education and by our kids, it cannot be used without the bad as well as the good.
And the bad is really bad.
Certainly, a teenager may feel less lonely with a smartphone because he or she can send and receive 100 text messages a day. But they are not actually less lonely. They are sitting by themselves texting. They are spending hours every day in narcissistic activities. They are ignoring real literature, real books – profound experiences that will improve their brains, improve their thinking, and make them lifelong learners.
What’s my point?
Get your kids off their devices. They are addicted, or at least wasting too many hours of their lives.
Why is the book dead? Because we’re killing it.