Teenagers and tech

File 07-04-2017, 08 53 03

Last week, I was watching a show called Child Of Our Time which follows children born in the year 2000, the year my son was born, and I was interested to see if he compares to the children featured or if he is odd.

Turns out that he is perfectly normal and that my children appear to have a better and more mature grasp of today’s tech than us older folk do.

My daughter no longer uses social media in any way, which is a long story in itself, but she is perfectly happy to not do so at this moment. She is 13 so that will likely change, but I am starting to see modern tech in a different way and to shake off the worries that experts like to talk about so much.

Here are some bullet points from the show-

Teenagers will go to sleep very late and they will sleep in at weekends to catch up on sleep. While this is not necessarily a good thing, it is apparently perfectly natural for a teenage body.

Drug use, smoking, alcohol abuse and teenage crime has declined every year for the past 10 years. The theory is that they are too busy consuming information and conversing with friends to have time to do such things. If you took the phones and gaming consoles away, what would take their place?

They view technology as completely normal and do not panic and worry so much as their parents do. There is a distinct lack of evidence to suggest that modern tech is actually harmful to children.

So, it seems that adults are the ones imagining all kinds of harm being done to their kids by tech when the reality is that they are using it in most sensible ways. Us adults, who lived without tech previously, are the ones who see it as new and completely changing the way we live.

People said TV was terrible for kids, the radio even and going back, books and comics were considered harmful by some.

We should celebrate the fact that, in general, kids today do fewer things that damage their health. They cause less crime and they are more aware and well-rounded than we ever were.

4 thoughts on “Teenagers and tech

  1. There’s a big difference between having tech introduced to you when you’re an adult versus growing up with it. For adults, new tech is a change, and we all know how we react to change, even beneficial change. We’re wary. We dip a toe in. Oh that’s nice. But we still have our old ways sharing head space.

    When you grow up with something, it’s part of you. It’s automatic. Do you think about watching TV? Not if you grew up with it. Do you ever think what you’d do if you didn’t have one? Granted, not all new tech is beneficial, but mostly it’s not the devil’s workshop.

  2. Sometimes I wonder if my generation (err now I’m 43) is better at dealing with the RATE of new gadgets than older generations, or if no, like Bob says, it’s just what you grew up with.

    1. A change in the rate of change, such as how frequently tech changes or advances, is also a change. Although I’m a generation before you (I’m 68), I’ve always been involved in science and computers. Well, at least since I was about 20. Where I’ve seen computers shrink from small room size to palm of my hand, to my grandkids that will be just the way it is. But many others of my generation struggle.

      I watched the rise of bulletin boards, usenet, the Internet, and social media. The impact for me is the immediacy of things. It used to be snail mail or the telephone. Now if you don’t reply to a text or email almost immediately, the sender thinks something’s wrong or you’re being rude.

  3. My kids were born in 2002 and 2004. My son uses no social media, just whatsapp and chatting while gaming. My daughter does use it and it’s kinda how her and her friends share things while they can’t physically be together and hence she likes taking photos. My son has his phone mostly on silence so he doesn’t get bugged while watching You Tube or Netflix, his TV. This is really annoying when I need to reach him via whatsapp or when I try and call him. My daughter watches some You Tube and downloaded a few games you can play off-line before our trip to Holland to visit my family. Today we went on a day trip, my son left his phone at home since he doesn’t care about taking photos and there wasn’t going to be time for watching things. My daughter took her phone to take photos and she’ll catch up with friends once we’re back home and on wifi, we’re not going to spend on data when there’s no urgent need and the European flat rate hasn’t been sorted out yet. It was me who had my phone out to take photos of things, and who dragged his tablet around in his bag, “just in case!” I managed to be reasonable and leave the external batteries at home, but I did bring the charger just in case, but I left the headphones at home seeing as it was a family outing. I had off-line maps of where we were going just in case. It was also me who sent off some of their highlights to their mother so she knows they’re OK and communicated with others on various platforms. My son got a few things to watch off-line from Netflix, my daughter as well, but it was me who has probably taken something like a few months worth of movies and series for on the plane and for down time. On the plane over, my son read his paperback book, my daughter played some games and looked out the window while I watched a movie with bluetooth headphones on, and made sure I had the appropriate documents I needed available to me off-line, and of course all my books are ebooks, which I read once I finished my movie on the plane. My daughter is asleep right now, my son is watching You Tube while I’m here. I’m 45 and I think I’m handling tech OK for now. My kids I’m not particulary worried about, especially since now they’re finally keeping their phones charged most of the time (I couldn’t understand how they would not keep their devices charged, and then look all glum when they had no battery life left over!) I wonder if Kirk is right about our generation having grown up with so much change, that maybe we’ve gotten used to new things coming along quite quickly and having to adjust to them. In my case, it also helps I’ve always kinda liked most of this stuff!

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