Technology has revolutionized our way of learning, informing, buying, traveling, reading, relating, creating. It has even changed the fact that we are parents, because to the difficulty of always educating are added the layers of immediacy, amplification, ignorance or the globality that the digital incorporates into the life of our children. What the Internet (the network, connectivity, the world of inventions created from the digital revolution) allows our iKids has also changed their way of playing, learning, making friends, finding information, boosting their hobbies, developing, expressing themselves, studying, hiding secrets…
Is this always bad or always good? Today I reflect on aspects in which the childhood and adolescence of our iKids is different from ours due to technology and I try to eradicate the thought of “any past time was better”, because it was not always better. But of course it is different, so different that it is worth standing and reflecting on how they play, how they make friends, how they develop their individuality as they grow up in groups, how they express themselves, how they live in society, what they believe and how they understand their World. So I review 7 aspects where technology has changed children and adolescents.
A new way to play
Before: maybe before “playing” meant being on the street with other kids hitting a ball or a stroller. Or it meant taking one of your dolls and dressing her up to play with other dolls. Playing meant making Cooks, puzzles, drawings, assemblages and constructions… playing was playing sports and moving marbles or throwing yo-yos. And what times those… playing was a process in which children were physically, mentally, emotionally and creatively involved. There was a cause-effect that helped them learn and, if play was with other children, then human relationships were fostered.
Now: there are many who say that our iKids are no longer playing “for real”, because they are “glued to a screen all day”. And it’s true you see a lot of that. But I still see kids in the park. I keep seeing shelves full of old-fashioned toys that keep selling. I follow mothers on social networks who encourage creative play and run away from screens. I see kids in museums. I see kids in painting and theater class. I see kids in the school yard, playing. I relate to parents who play taxi drivers every weekend because all their children are enrolled in some individual or team sport.
A new way to make friends
Before: you had the Friends of the school, the neighborhood, the community of neighbors, the village, the camp or the After-School shift. Little more. Did friends as you could and if not you were very good at socializing, you had 2 or 3 instead of 7. Eras popular or not. There were already problems in the yard and you avoided them as you could (and they ended the school day). It was not common to talk every afternoon on the phone with your friends. when you started to leave, you stayed an hour and waited. When a girl was asked out she would go face-to-face (brave boys!) and every time you wanted to talk to her, You prayed that her father wouldn’t pick up the phone.
Now: sometimes we have popular and charismatic children. Sometimes I don’t. In any case, when iKids incorporate the digital plane into their relationships (email, sms, instant messaging, social networks), these relationships usually reproduce real life. So if your iKid isn’t the most popular, she won’t be the one with the most followers in her environment or she’ll have them but they’ll stop following her. And this affects them. And if your iKid is the most popular and everyone follows him and everyone is allowed to have an opinion about him, it affects him. The status of today’s iKids is measured a lot in terms of” how many follow you “or” what kind of photos you hang “or”how many groups and chats you’re in”. Besides, now anyone is “friend”, because you just need to give “follow” or “add contact”. And yet not all is worth, not all are friends. There are followers who only seek to look; there are followers who seek to gossip; and there are followers who seek to do harm (or worse). And finally, starting to like and be liked can be given (and given) via message, without having to catch the bull by the horns to say to each other”I like you”. You ask to leave and it breaks in writing. Sometimes you lose respect for each other by sharing according to which photos.
A new way to grow in a group
BEFORE: gustabas if gustabas, morph was not easy. Your relationship with the group changed slowly. Relationships with the opposite sex took longer to arrive and, if they transcended, it was with rumors or comments. The celebrities you followed were on the front pages of magazines that were almost always politically correct. The other magazines wouldn’t let you have them on the nightstand. You couldn’t speak with your friends at 2 in the morning. What about your relationship with adults? With respect, of you, trying to be polite (although forgive me, but that vision is very sweet; I am sure that in all past generations there have been thousands of ignorant, disrespectful, ill-educated iKids, lacking any social etiquette, etc.).
Now: it is still sought to be popular and the way to achieve it is wider than ever. Access to celebrities-no matter how famous – is easier and the example they give is not always “ideal”. Selfies, suggestive poses, provocative videos, kisses. Girls understand that with these things they like more (no wonder with so much Kardashian floating around). The easy sex, the girl as ornament, the malote man … the boys see that they rule in the relationship (music videos sell more if the singer is surrounded by three girls in bikinis, in this we have not changed so much since the “mama chicho”). And good manners? Some manners are lost, but not so much because of technology as because of (lack of) Education. As always, there’s everything. However, there is one aspect of today’s “good education” that involves raising your eyes from your mobile phone and with this we do have a problem. The iKids are distracted by the screens and it is necessary to insist that when they are with people, they are with people.
A new way of expressing oneself
Before: talking, writing letters or a diary, calling on the phone (when you were allowed to use it), taking pictures with cameras that had a reel you had to take to a store and then waiting to have the photos. Drawing, singing, dancing …(for those in front of you or those who gathered to watch the Home video your parents had recorded). Little more chance we had as little children to Share our talents, feelings, or thoughts. Some wrote or composed or painted… but the scope of these creations was limited in most cases.
NOW: TQM. LOL. PLS. These are four very, very basic examples of abbreviations / acronyms used in messages. To them are added dozens of groups of letters (some imported from English, others adapted to each group) and of course emoticons, unfinished words… it is the language of the new generations. We elders have stopped calling and resorted more and more to messages, so we cannot expect anything very different from iKids. Communicate as you can. The message is king. And the prince is the video. The princess the picture. They fly videos and fly photos between devices. All day long they are sharing content on networks, apps, messages, emails. They can pick up any time, anywhere, for any purpose.
A new way of living in society: anonymity vs. fame, private vs. public
Before: it was difficult to become famous and there was only one type of “Famous” (which, because of its work or social condition, appeared in the papers). To achieve this social “success”, one had to”be very lucky and strive hard”. Normally, these celebrities were subject to public scrutiny, but the rest of us mortals were unknown. And there was no possibility of recording anyone and then bringing that recording to the world. Our spectrum of influence was reduced to the people we knew. Besides, you didn’t think about privacy when you were growing up before. Okay, you didn’t talk to strangers or give your keys to anyone on the street, but privacy wasn’t a “concept of risk.”
Now: our iKids, especially when they start on social networks, share videos and photos incessantly. And one of those contents may go viral at any time. And no more anonymity. Or how do you think youtubers and popus have been made? For publishing and sharing to the full. Other limits that also become more diffuse are those of the privacy “of others”; our children share photos and videos in which other people appear to whom no one normally asks permission to appear (not to mention recorded fights and recorded sex). With digital globalization, your teen says that if you look at his mobile phone, it’s spying, but he’s not worried about the settings and conditions of social media and apps that recognize not respecting his privacy. What iKids do is share their privacy with the whole world; because they say their account is private but they are followed by 400 people (impossible for them to know all).