I went to the hairdresser this morning (YAY for me!) and we were talking about the looming election and I mentioned we need to invest adequately in education for our future.
“What we need to invest in”, she declared, “is get the computers out of schools and get them off phones!”
My hairdresser’s admittedly anecdotal evidence was she sees it every day. Young kids who can’t be separated from their digital lives. She has a friend whose 20 year-old son will, in her view, never get a job because he has no social skills whatsoever. She sees young kids come in with their parents to the salon and they have their heads glued to their phone games. She saw her own nephew glued to his computer to the exclusion of all else when recently on holidays.
I remember taking my kids to the dentist or the doctor and they are bored without their phones to play on. How did we ever survive when we were kids?
I agreed with my hairdresser than many of the younger generation write as they text: “C u l8er”. Hardly the makings of the next BHP CEO.
With our kids, much of this is a novelty and I sort of hoped the novelty would wear off, but it is a worry. I have read many articles about the problem and I do wonder if we let kids have way too much electronic “stuff”. I recall reading about suicides in China of teenagers addicted to computer games, for example. Such articles have always worried me, but given I use computers for my work, I don’t see them in quite the same way – perhaps I need to take another look.
As an IT professional myself, I hardly want to prevent my kids being computer literate, but there is a difference between computer literacy and addiction.
My hairdresser ended up saying it is like addiction to poker machines. That got me thinking. I watch our Mr 15 with his games and to get him off them is hard. He’d be on there from the moment he got up to the moment he went to bed if we let him. Isn’t that addiction or very close to it?
We educate our kids about substance abuse in schools these days – but what about this new addiction. Computer games are very similar in some respects to poker machines. My hairdresser saying “These computer games are like poker machines to these kids” was when I had a bit of a light-bulb moment.
Computer technology is a wonderful thing. I love it – but like many good things it also has a bad side. I know, for example, computer and TV screens should not be watched for about one hour before sleep and they “agitate” the brain activity and make sleeping difficult.
Maybe my hairdresser is right. Maybe we need to take a closer look at all this stuff.
If you’ve got kids, or you are a teacher, what is your experience?