A Child’s World – The Effects of Progress

Technology has, without a doubt, improved the standard of living throughout the world consistently, especially within the last 50 years or so. As a result, we are more interconnected globally and focused on “thriving,” as opposed to “surviving,” than ever before. However, this progress has not been entirely good nor straightforward in consequence, with many side effects of this advancement being negative or nuanced instead. The effects of technology for the youth of today and the generations subsequent rely not on if we use technology, but how we use it.
The use of technology with children today is misaligned – not by a fault of the children, but by a fault of the caregivers. In daycares, animated sing-along videos run rampant to occupy the children so teachers can relax, and parents use tablets to mitigate outbursts or boredom regularly. These may seem like solid short-term solutions, but thought is seldom given to the long-term consequences of these actions. This is negligent and can lead to decreased attention span and concentration. Over the past half-century this has already been evident, with literature and other forms of media consuming less and less time per work as to avoid boring the more-easily complacent consumer. This has also begot a deterioration in nuance of opinion in all walks of American society and will only continue if a concerted effort to the contrary is not made. Nuance in belief is essential for the working of democracy and life in general, as few things are morally or intellectually absolute, and if people cannot put the time in to analyze these complex situations, then comprehension is out of the question.
That said, all is not lost. Technology today simultaneously offers greater opportunity to our children than in any other time in our history, even if it is not utilized to its greatest extent. The internet and other forms of technological advancement have given society access to thousands of years of intellectual progress that can be read or listened to at anyone’s convenience with the touch of a button or screen. Nearly every parent can have their children learn a foreign language or the works of Homer and Shakespeare or the histories of ancient civilizations – and be taught by experts at teaching in those respective fields – by a quick visit to a search engine. What becomes imperative going forward, then, is providing guidance to parents and caregivers, so that structure might be given to the youth’s boundless interaction with technology, to harness the successes of yesterday in a manner that furthers the progress of today. Technology should not be a replacement of parenting and child-rearing, but instead, an enrichment.
To conclude, technology comes in many forms, and is representative of the cumulative pinnacles of human achievement over time. As a product of such great success, it poses great rewards, but also, great risks. How we use this technology to help us raise our children is a question of utmost importance that will determine which of these consequences we shall reap in the future. It requires dedication on the parts of our youth and careful planning on the parts of our adults, but we can make the most of technology and what it has to offer – the path we chose is up to us.

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