I thought about this idea and I’ve come to the conclusion that they are 100% wrong. Here is why:
- Personal Experience. My personal experience is that when I was a kid we had almost no access to technology. It wasn’t until I was in my teen years that we actually purchased a Commodore 64 and you had to write some type of code to get it to work. We adapted. I learned keyboarding in Jr. High on a typewriter and I adapted. I now type upwards of 90 WPM. I didn’t learn anything about Photoshop until I was an adult…the job I do (3D Animation/Video) didn’t even exist in its current form until I graduated from college. My point is that learning Tech isn’t something that MUST BEGIN when kids are small. Anybody can learn at any time if they are willing to dive in and try.
- Changing Technology. Computers used to fill entire rooms. Now I can hold more computing power in my iPod than what was used in the Apollo space missions. What you learn today may not even exist in 10 years. So mastering technology in Elementary School is only going to have to be replaced with new knowledge anyway. The only certain and sure thing with technology is that it’s never going to stay the same. You have to always adapt to something new. My son pointed out to me the other day that it is silly to teach keyboarding at all since 99% of the typing kids do will be on smart phones and tablets where keyboarding rules fly out the window…he’s right…in fact ‘swiping’ and voice recognition may replace traditional typing altogether for the near future.
- Today’s kids know instinctively how to operate technology. Nobody needs to teach it to them. All you have to do is hand an iPad to a toddler and watch them take off. It’s nearly instinct with them. If you ask me it is a spiritual gift that they are born with. Today’s generation of kids don’t need instruction on tech…they can do marvelous things with it if adults would just get out of the way.
- There is far greater benefit gained from teaching handwriting that from keyboarding. There is greater cognitive development, improvement of fine motor skills, increased critical thinking skills and research has shown that brain development is directly linked to the teaching of handwriting as opposed to keyboarding and other tech related fields http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/memory-medic/201303/what-learning-cursive-does-your-brain . Not to mention the fact that our current crop of students (who did not learn cursive writing) can no longer read the Constitution of the United States or letters written to them by their Grandparents…that is truly a shame.
- As the current generation of “Techno-babies” enters adolescence, there is an epidemic of obesity and childhood diabetes that has some experts saying that this generation may be the first in history that will die before their parents do! This is due in major part to the fact that they do nothing but sit on the couch and get lost in virtual worlds. They have become entirely disconnected from reality and their physical bodies have been destroyed.
- Technology use hampers social development. This is an actual scene from my life: at a store one evening and I see a family there with one of those strollers that will seat three kids...the baby is in the front with an iPad, the second seat is a girl who is about 2 or 3 years old with some kind of tablet and in the back is a girl who is maybe 5 or 6 with a smartphone. The mom is walking along texting on her phone and the dad is pushing the stroller. Dad is trying to get the attention of the oldest girl but she is totally ignoring him. Finally he swats her head to get her attention and is furious at her for not listening to him. The wife finally puts down her phone and chastises the dad for doing what he did. I was stunned. What did they expect? If you hand a kid a screen, they will tune you out. Anyone who has a child will tell you that handing them a screen turns them into a zombie and they will not hear you until that screen is turned off. Your kid may be a wiz at texting or Facebook, but completely backward when it comes to actual conversation.
Here is where I get to become a spiritual drill sergeant… Satan hates your body, he hates it with a passion! He is insanely jealous of what you have that he does not. All his temptations and lies are aimed at getting you to misuse and abuse that which he hates the most…YOUR BODY. Think about it. The Spirit and Body are the soul of man (D&C 88:15). The body and the spirit work in union to achieve the highest glory of the Celestial Kingdom. You cannot get there without both. Satan cannot corrupt your spirit without first corrupting your body. If he can get you to misuse it in any way, your soul is crippled and your spirit will suffer as a consequence. Disconnecting from reality, being slothful and lazy and doing things that take us away from developing and growing physically will ONLY be detrimental to our spirits.
I am a huge fan of technology. My entire job revolves around cutting edge technology. I use computers for everything I do. I have a tablet that I use in my Church Calling, to read my scriptures, to track my fitness and to plan my life. There are new genealogy tools that are astonishing! I LOVE TECHNOLOGY! The good that can be done is astounding, and the way that we can use it to improve our lives is incredible!
When something has great potential for good, there is always a dark side as well. I hold the knowledge of the world in the palm of my hand…but I also hold some of the most vile wickedness that will destroy our souls.
Don’t let your kids get wrapped up in the dark side. Teach them to draw, to write, to explore their world. Show them the joy of finding bugs in the dirt. Make them turn off the iPod and the Movies in the car and take the time to look out the window. Kids are naturally active…encourage that! Let them run and play. Teach them the joy of playing in the yard. Limit their use of technology to things that are useful and help them to learn. NEVER squander time with technology…it will take hold of you and lead you down paths that you never intended to walk.
Of course this must all be done by example! If we want our kids to put down the screens and get out…we must do the same. They do what they see us do and if we can’t get off Facebook, we can’t expect them to do what they don’t see us doing.
We must be MEN OF ACTION…for only then are we truly men.
SO GET OUT AND MOVE!!!
NO FEAR – NO WHINING - NO REGRETS