Ars Technica reports a trend of kids being exposed to technology at ever younger ages. So, how young is too young? The focus of the article points out this trend which may alarm some parents and members of society. Meanwhile, kids are learning the technology quickly without giving it a second thought.
It was once the case that parents would remark that they could not program a VCR. This scenario was a problem long enough that it even became a standing joke. But, it was humorous only in the sense that a VCR was not a necessity to function.
The very important difference is that the technology today is much more centered upon connecting with other human beings. Instant messaging, cellphones, text messaging, virtual worlds, myspace, etc. all have in common some aspect of communication.
As such, it is difficult to say whether or not exposure at a young age is a good or bad thing. Becoming skilled in the most efficient modes of communication can hardly be seen as negative, for example. The fact that it has an effect on children should hardly surprise us. They are adapting to an evolving society, and kids are faster at adapting than are adults.
The very appropriate parental response of wanting to protect a child kicks in especially as society’s innovations and reliance on technology continues its acceleration. Children are much more adept at riding this wave than are adults who are often left behind as growing responsibilities weigh them down. Those reluctant to explore new technology are sometimes left bewildered, not knowing what is going on with those who do.
We are engulfed in technological gadgets. Trying to avoid it at this stage is something akin to avoiding rain drops in a storm depending on how one decides to define “technology.” As with rain, how we are exposed – by standing with or without an umbrella, or hiding under shelter – becomes the main point of control.