Attatched is a link to an article that was in The Sydney Morning Herald on Tuesday the 28th of February 2012.
After having read the article and watched the video of the children using their iPad’s at school, it’s very hard to believe that when I was in year six, only eight years ago it was compulsory that we spent a half hour every Friday on perfect hand-writing. In just under a decade, it’s crazy to see how children have gone from writing everything in a notebook to using Microsoft Office Word on a technological tablet.
The children recipient’s of the iPad’s at Neutral Bay Public School in Sydney show only enthusiam and a positive attitude towards this new way of learning. As do their parent’s and teacher’s. Which is all good and well but my fear is that this is just another step further we are taking down the road of technologic dependency.
I do believe that having a firm understanding on how to work all these different forms of upcoming electronic’s is a necessity in this day and age, but to be putting it in the hand’s of young children seems like a theft of childhood and contradicts all the new ‘Improving Children’s Health’ campaigns. Is it obligitory that these young pupil’s put their iPad’s away to play outside like regular children at recess and lunch time? Are their imagination’s still being used to play games outside of the cyber realm?
I remember as a child growing up, a threat used quite often by my parents was “Don’t watch any more tv, or you’ll become a square face”. That threat was horrifying! Especially when I started imagining myself with square shaped eyes and a fat square shaped head. It got even worse when I later heard of the term “Couch Potato”. These little tantalizer’s parent’s would quite gleefully provoke us with acted as motivation for us to go outside and play hopscotch, ride a bike or build sandcastles. Is it possible that the afformentioned threats could become a reality in the very near future?
Every weekday afternoon when I get home, just like a recording I am greeted by complaints from my nine year old brother about how he is the “only one” of his peers without an iPod. “Why don’t I have one?” is heard all too often. He even tells me of children as young as eight have iPods, Laptops, iPads and some even iPhones! It’s blasphomy! Every afternoon as I am having the same story told to me I remind my younger sibling that I didn’t have a mobile phone til I started highschool and didn’t have an MP3 player until I was about fifteen. All I am answered with is “What’s an MP3?” Now I know how my parents feel when they talk to me about Transistor Radio’s. It’s sad that a young child of only nine feels the pressure to “fit in” by owning an iPod. When I was nine, “fitting in” was trading Pokemon cards.
It seems to me and has been made quite obvious over recent years, that owning the newest Apple creation has become a way of status, making it clear as to what class you belong in in this new “cyber heirarchy”.
However great it is watching children learn with such keen motivation, I think it is vital that it be proportioned. With the way it seems now, our young future specimen’s are soon going to be at a complete social void. With all this technology becoming a strong must, children aren’t going to learn key social skills needed in the real world. They will also be at a lack of important things like having a vivid imagination, being healthy and vitamin D from lack of sunlight.
Before this iPad trial period comes to an end, no matter how positive the outcomes may or may not be, I think the “Big Cheeses” really need to put into thought how zombie-like our younger generation has become, and how much they really don’t want to have to start “teaching” How-to-Fun-in-the-Playground-Without-Being-Glued.