Better high-tech world for children?

  • Business
  • Saturday, 10 Nov 2012

I AM an 80s kid. Term holidays were spent reading story books, listening to the radio, playing badminton with my sisters and watching Jem and the Holograms re-runs on the telly.

When I was old enough to venture to town on my own, I would make appointments with a friend or two to meet at the town library or when we felt adventurous, at the shopping malls which were essentially supermarkets with a section selling clothes.

Mobile phones did not exist in our world then so if either one of us was suddenly running late, or could not make it at the very last minute, there was no way of informing each other.

At the end of our Form 5 year, we took out what we called autograph books and got our friends to pen down messages in them so that we would remember each other “forever”.

In the absence of Facebook, we let our creative juices flow and filled our friends' “walls” (in today's Facebook terms), with poems, photos and jottings, reminiscing the many years we had spent together in school.

Life was relatively simple then but it was nice and I enjoyed every moment of it.

Today, children as young as six would scoff at the idea of not having their own mobile phone.

While giving them their own handsets can help parents track their whereabouts, the fact remains they will most likely scoff at the idea.

Reading books, watching cartoon reruns and enjoying a good old game of badminton under the sun? Correct me if I'm wrong but I have a nagging suspicion that they are not doing much of these nowadays, being drawn instead towards entertainment provided by tech gadgets like the iPad which exposes them to the many wonders of the world wide web.

This brings me to the actual point of all the reminiscing are children these days much brighter and better off than children decades ago, thanks to the advent of technology? If a December 2010 article by a Philadelphia-based community magazine is to be believed at first glance, the answer appears to be no.

In the stand first of an article entitled, “Is it just us or our kids becoming really stupid?”, the writer notes that kids today don't read and can't spell. “They spend their time playing computer games and texting and hanging out with one another on Facebook.”

A little harsh perhaps?

Personally, I think there's no straight answer to this. Kids today are certainly more tech-savvy but it's not like they have a choice.

They are exposed to a lot more of information earlier in their life but that doesn't mean that they are absorbing everything and becoming much smarter in the process.

Could it be that they are also lazier, less physically active and less resourceful with so many technology aids to help and distract them?

What I know for a fact is that as an 80s kid, I enjoyed the simple life then and am blessed enough to experience a more technologically-advanced one now. Talk about the best of both worlds.

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Business , in a sense , philadelphia , reading


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