Sometimes I feel like I am stuck between a rock and a hard place. What I mean by this is that the rock is the way I grew up and the hard place is my children’s generation of technology.
I am part of the first generation to experience the arrival of hard-core technology. I always new technology existed (I’m not that old) but for the majority of the first half of my life, it wasn’t a big deal. My family didn’t have cell phones until right before I went into high school. Our only computer consisted of an old, used, cream-colored piece of junk that my dad got from a job. It took 5 minutes to connect to the internet and made our only land line busy for the entire time it was being used. I didn’t spend much time on it and my cell phone did one thing…called people (I take that back, it did two things, it also took extremely poor quality pictures).
And then 2007 happened and the iPhone was released. This one event launched technology into a whole new realm. We didn’t even know what hit us. We went from having to find ways to occupy ourselves (you know, by interacting with actual people and being outside), to complete idiots who never looked up. Everything we wanted was inside that little handheld device and it took over the world with a vengeance. Looking back to that time in my life I realize it wasn’t even kind of bad compared to what society looks like now. If our great grandparents could see us now they would roll over in their graves.
Humans have single handedly creates technology that can do anything imaginable, technology that has pushed the world to extraordinary lengths, while pushing humankind backwards. One of those one step forward, two steps back kind of things except it’s more like one step forward and a lifetime of steps back. Don’t get me wrong, I love my computer and my cell phone and my TV, but I’m also smart enough to realize that it is physically making me, and everyone else I know, digress. Look around you, everyone is fat, self-absorbed and can’t do anything without checking with their Facebook account first. There are no personal interactions and nobody leaves their houses. I’m friends with 400 people I never talk to and who’s lives I seem to think I can judge based on the fact that they posted a picture I could see. Fifteen years ago, Joe Schmo could have been eating his healthy vegan breakfast and it wouldn’t have effected me in the slightest, because I wouldn’t have known. Now for some reason its important that we view everyone’s meal choices for the day before we even get up and feed ourselves.
It’s pathetic and it makes me cringe every time I think about how dependent I am on technology. It also makes me realize how much I do not want all this technology influencing my children this early in their lives. I’m not stupid or naive, I know that there will come a time in their lives where technology will rule them. It’s inevitable because it is all they will ever know. But until they are old enough to accept that responsibility, I will be intervening. There will be extreme limitations on their use of technology while they are children and I am not doing that to be mean or selfish. I am doing it to preserve their childhood, to show them and give them everything the world has to offer outside of the little boxes everybody relies so heavily on.
They are little and I want them to experience the joys of life…real life. We are limiting technology because we want them to:
Play in the mud,
Run in the rain,
Jump in puddles,
Play chase, hopscotch and freeze tag,
Go hiking, fishing, hunting and camping,
Swim in lakes, ponds and streams,
Search for bugs,
Learn to garden,
Play cops and robbers,
Learn about nature,
Dig in the dirt.
I want them to live, truly live, during a time in their lives when everything is still magical and amazing. I want them to respect the world around them and realize that it takes a lot of hard work and effort to sustain life and that technology is not the answer for everything. I want them to enjoy what really matters and not live in some virtual realty because it was easier for us to hand them a phone and make them be quiet.
We have our moments where everything is hectic and crazy and we just need our rambunctious little toddlers to sit down and quiet down for 5 seconds. Places like doctors offices and the AT&T store or even at home when it’s been a bad day and we need everyone to relax so we don’t explode. During those times we have done what most parents end up doing and we turn on TV or we hand them a cell phone so they can play games and occupy themselves while we handle business. And then the time comes to leave, or turn the TV off and that is the precise moment where I remember, for the millionth time, the real reason we rarely let them play with handheld devices. They lose their fucking minds and have a full-blown meltdown right there in the middle of the store.
It’s not worth it to me to let them have these things when they are this young. They don’t understand what they are doing but they do know that they would rather sit on their butts all day playing flappy birds instead of running around outside. That is so unacceptable and a huge problem in my opinion. There will be plenty of time in their futures to obsess over technology. Right now I need them to obsess over animals and plants and people…the type of people who require human interaction.
We are raising part of a generation that will grow up and take over where we leave off. I hope and pray that we are instilling within them the foundation that will be needed for them to take on the world that we leave behind.
I read this quote the other day and it made me think, if this is true, our children sure will have a lot of work on their hands. I refuse to make that work harder by depriving them of their youth and their love for the world. Technology will always be there, they need to learn to love and respect the natural things around them so they can be the generation that fixes things instead of tearing them apart.
Moderation is everything and our society has forgotten that. I have a duty to protect my children from things that I think will affect them negatively. I strongly believe technology will affect them negatively at this point in their lives and because of that we will continue to limit it until we feel they are ready to take on that burden.