All Women's Talk

Is the Digital Age Good for Today's Kids ?

By Irene

Kids today are smarter than ever but…..are they overexposed to the digital age, social media and the like? Is the digital age good for today's kids?

Have you ever stopped to think about how many kids in today’s world are different from the kids when we were growing up? Doing a random internet search, I came across a test question from an elementary school somewhere. I’m guessing that the grade was somewhere between 2nd and 4th grade based on the child’s handwriting. Here are the questions and answer:
“Why are there rings on Saturn?”
“Because God liked it and put a ring on it”
I had to smile when I saw this, but at the same time I thought, either this kid is the class clown and was going for the laugh factor, or he/she knows more about Beyoncé than what is being taught in class. I’m hoping the kid didn’t care about blowing the test and went with the comedic response because the alternative saddens me.

Kids today are really smart and are learning differently and more than we ever did. I’m a young grandmother and have two grandchildren. I frequently “help” my granddaughter with her homework. It sometimes ends up where she actually helps me with it, as what she is learning is way different from the stuff I learned when I was in elementary school and the methods they are using today to teach our kids does not compute with the way my brain learned it all. What’s more is she is only in the 3rd grade.

I have no problem with the current curriculums and teaching methods, seems like the kids today can handle it, so learn on! What I do have a problem with is the kids' response to the test question above. If in fact, this kid answered to the best of his/her ability, I am concerned and worried not only for this child but for probably a whole lot of other kids just like him/her.

To be honest, my grandchildren use my phone and one of their parents’ phones at times to look at children’s channels videos or DIY videos. They are monitored on what they can view and limited to viewing time. I have no problem with this, I think it’s good to allow them to learn how to use a cell phone or iPad or Kindle etc., and I also think it’s good to let kids expand their horizons beyond just book learning and lessons. It’s called balance.

I have been privy to other children who have been given a cell phone and/or an iPad at a very early age and their face is constantly in front of one of them. Look, I was a single mom and at one point in time worked a job that required me to work three different shifts per week. Thursday and Friday I worked 7a-3p, Saturday and Sunday I’d work 3p-11p. I’d work the midnight shift 11p-7a on Monday and have Tuesday and Wednesday off. Really I just had Wednesday off, because I was such a zombie on Tuesday after having worked all night, that the whole day was a wash and what I would have given to have a cell phone or iPad then!

My point is that I think these days handing your child a cell phone or iPad is the new live-in nanny for many families. I totally get it and I totally hate it at the same time. Working mothers, in particular, I sympathize with. They are usually the first parent home from work in a two-parent household and the second they walk through the door at home, the kids are on them like Velcro. They need this, they need that, “Mom I’m hungry, can I have a snack?” So Mom gives them a snack, they go on their cell phone or iPad and usually are content long enough for Mom to change clothes, check the mail and start dinner.

Funny, it used to be that we were so concerned about our kids watching too much television, now I’m afraid that some kids today are in way too deep into the technical and digital age and get a lot of their education from social media, pop culture and video games. These kids seem to be lacking social skills and manners, not to mention lack of fresh air.

So what do you think? Is the digital age good for today's kids? In your opinion, do you think we are exposing our kids to too much Instagram, Snapchat, Facebook, Grand Theft Auto, Halo and YouTube? If you have kids, how do you handle it?

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