Growing up is not quite the same as it used to be. It seems that kids nowadays are smarter than ever before (or at least they should be!). With so many new technological advances over the years, children who are growing up in the millennium have many more opportunities than kids who grew up in the 1980s and previously. Just the other day, I saw a little girl with what looked like a miniature laptop , except for children. I can also recall a conversation not that long ago in which my mother told me that my uncle had recently purchased a cell phone for his five-year-old daughter. Now, five year-olds know how to use cell phones?! I couldn't help but wonder who my cousin was planning on calling with that phone.
When I was in high school, cell phones weren't even in our vocabulary. Instead, everyone was obsessed with having a beeper. Now, if you ask a child what a beeper is, I'm not sure that they would know. The only people I see using beepers anymore are doctors and nurses. It's great that so many children are so technologically savvy. And the funny thing is that in most cases, you have children teaching adults (namely, their parents) how to use different gadgets. For example, my brother had to explain to my father, a lawyer, how to use his brand new iTouch. I'll never forget the response that my dad had, "Why does anyone need one of these things?"
If you stop to think about it, even such things as pay phones seem almost obsolete. I can remember a time when pay phones peppered sidewalks. Now, everyone has a cell phone. It is rare that you'll ever see someone use a pay phone. After all, who even carries change around, let alone cash? On the flipside, there are those who question all of these technological advances that have been made over the years. Some even go so far as to say that we, as a nation, are dumber now than we've ever been. Technology is supposed to help us, but in many ways it hinders us too. Today, instead of going outside to play, children are inside "exercising" to video games invented by Wii or playing computer games which are meant to enhance their minds.
What did people do prior to all of this technology; before the GPS systems, cell phones, automatic drip coffee machines and microwaved meals? Have we become slaves to technology? Will future generations know how to open a can with their hands versus an electrical appliance? Will people know what it's like to stir batter with a spoon or wisk? Some people might laugh at this, but the threat is very real, and it falls on our children's shoulders. It is great to know that technology is there as an option, but we should always be aware that there are other things besides this. It's ok to go outside for a run, to use a pay phone or to pay with cash. The world doesn't have to revolve around double AA batteries and HTML.
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