Looking around the social room at work on a normal breaktime all I can see are children glued to their smartphones, ipads, ipods and any other technical device that you possibly imagine. You name it, I´ve seen it this week. You could shout their names fifteen times and they would not hear a thing as they are too engrossed in whatever new game they have just downloaded, or by the new photos or statues their friends have just uploaded onto facebook. If I then turned around to the staff area I would see the same. The age difference is over ten years, but guaranteed all of us would be glued to a technological device of sorts, whether it be whatsapping our friends at home, checking facebook or, if you´re lucky, doing some work on our laptops we are no better, we just don´t have the latest gadgets.
I asked my class today how many of them could last one week without the internet, not surprisingly all of them lied and raised there hands (I know it was a lie because they all hover outside the room with the wireless router at any possible point in order to be connected with the social media world). Then I aksed how many could live without their computer games or apps, not one of them raised their hands. Aged 9-14 the importance of completing the new crocodile game on android, or getting a new highscore on subway surfers is like being in a life or death situation!
We have all heard the older generation grumble about how ´the younger generation are addicted to these new computer things´and how ´in their day´ things were much better as they were outdoors and having direct interaction with other human beings instead of chatting with ´friends´over the internet. However, I disagree. It´s not the younger generation, it´s the 21st century. I know my parents, my aunties and older family members would struggle to get through the day without their phones or their tablets, and yes, maybe they do not spend as much time on these devices as children do today but does that make a difference?
I´m sure the ´olden days´had their plus points. I love going for runs and being in the outdoors, I find nothing better than spending quality time with my friends and being with other human beings – unfortunately the reality of growing up is that I can not be with my friends every day, week or month (especially when living in another country), but luckily I can keep in contact with them through the medium of facebook or my mobile phone.
I know what some of you are thinking, there are positives to having facebook and whatsapp but it does not excuse the amount of time kids spend playing pointless games… No it does not. The way I see it though is that as long as that´s not the only thing they are doing then what´s the harm? My younger brothers could play on CoD or WoW for days on end without showering or sleeping (they would make sure somebody brought them food), but they don´t. They will quite happily go and play tennis and other sports for a change of scene and I believe many children are the same.
I´ve had a few grumbles about how annoying it is getting these children´s attention in these past weeks and how rude they can be when facebook is on a screen infront of them but the reality is we are all guilty of playing on stupid computer games for hours on end (brick breaker or subway surfer) and most of us definitely rely on using whatsapp or BBM (it´s still around) far too much.
The art of letter writing was a beautiful thing, and being able to walk two minutes and see all of your family and friends would be incredibly ideal – but unfortunately we are in the 21st century and apparently technology is the future. But does that mean all our eyes will turn square?