Friday, 11 October 2013

Techno kids

Techno kids
11 October 2013

The kids of today, are growing up in an entirely new era than the one we grew up in. 

They don't know a world without computers at home.  Internet, cell phones, satellite TV, portable phones, key cards instead of car keys, flat screens, credit cards, CD’s, DVD’s, etc.  The whole world is at their fingertips.  Most often, only as far out of reach as their cell phones.  Which we all know, is never more than a few millimetres from their immediate radius.  Most often, stuck in a pocket or clasped within their hand.

And therefore in a way, for us parents, the whole parental landscape is unchartered territory.  In some ways, we can’t lean on advice from our parents, as the world was a different place, way back in the day when we were still kids.  When they had to parent us.  So little is still the same.

Now there’s instant meals.  Either frozen, straight from the freezer, or Take-aways.  There’s instant oats.  Microwaves, for ease and speed.  Everything is quicker and faster.  More “convenient” so to speak.

But I have noticed one thing in particular about this “Instant-Gratification-Culture” of ours.  Certain things have gone terribly awry in this world where all is geared towards making things easier, faster and better.

And I know, I’m setting myself up with this.  I’m going to sound like a terrible old-fashioned fuddy-duddy.  Well, so shoot me.  Maybe I am.

The kids of today, can’t arrange jack!

They really can’t.  And you know why?  Well, they don’t have to. 

Arrangements are not made in advance.  Instead a broadcast message is sent out to all of their contacts, to organise a get-together.  They don’t write down their homework, cause they can just WhatsApp a friend to ask.  Most likely a girl – they’re good with stuff like that. 

If they’re going out, they don’t know exactly where they have to be.  What time.  The exact address.  What they have to take with.  The finer details are quite simply not there. 

I asked my teenager the other day, what time first break was at school.  He didn’t have the foggiest idea.  No need to remember you see.  He doesn’t know any contact numbers, barring his own, mine and the home phone.  He doesn’t know when anything is happening.  Even basic stuff, is not stored in his mind.  And I fear, he’s not alone.

And so in some ways, this has impaired both their memory and their organisational skills. 

We had to remember stuff the old fashioned way.  We had to make arrangements and stick to them, cause there was no way to let a friend know that the plans had changed.  But then again, I suppose the plans hardly ever did.  Because there was no alternative. 

You’d agree, for instance to meet on the beach, across from the Life Saving Club at 10h00.  And you had better stick to those arrangements.  No way to cancel.  Or say you were running late.  No sudden change of venue or time.  The only alternative means of changing a meet-up, was to phone a friend, the old fashioned way.  But our parents were so anal about their phone bills.  Talk about strict!  Perhaps I'm being a bit over dramatic.  If our folks wouldn't let us phone, there was always the humble post dove and smoke signals too.

Which brings me to another point – kids don’t speak on the phone anymore.  They have no noticeable telephone skills to speak of.  All “chatting” is done via means of typing.  Either on a phone or computer.  A friend was commenting on listening to her daughter Skyping a friend far away, and hearing the delightful sound of laughter over the phone.  But with virtual chatting this all falls away.

I am by no means claiming that I am innocent.  In fact, I am particularly guilty.  I do this very same thing too.  I’m forever texting, or busy with WhatsApp.  Quickly popping off a message saying, “Running a few minutes late – nearly there”.  Arrangements are done via my phone – with texting.

Gone is the courtesy of years gone by.  And actually it is a really huge loss.  We have lost an ability to talk.  To stick to plans.  To plan in advance. 

In a way, we’ve lost our communication skills.  How sad.

Please click and LIKE on Facebook - Thanx!

1 comment:

  1. Incredible!
    I miss contact with Katarina's friends - they don't phone and ask to speak to her....
    So there is no personal contact really - no way to know with whom they communicate.
    I miss it.