Bill O’Reilly of Fox News’ “O’Reilly Factor” fame published a column every adult with kids and grand kids should read. He looks askance at America’s love affair with technology.
Bold and fresh. That’s Bill. He offers an overdue view of kids and technology.
Listening to the conventional wisdom touting the wonders of “technology” becomes tedious in time.
Technology shmechnology. I grow weary hearing how much “smarter” kids are today because they can push buttons and type keys to play games on a computer or smart phone. Any adult can do the same if they are curious enough to fiddle with any device. As part of the transition generation that’s how we learned. Even third world terrorists can figure out how to detonate bombs with cell phones.
In a world where far too many high school graduates cannot combine two grammatically correct sentences or command a sixth grade proficiency in math and science, who cares if they “know” all about technology? We’ve placed tools in the hands of children to use as toys then marvel that they actually learn how to use them.
Most devices were designed with a certain logic in mind. They were further designed to be used intuitively. The mystery is in their making, not their using. To America’s discredit, a lot of these gadgets were engineered and produced by foreigners.
Along comes Bill O’Reilly with something bold and fresh. O’Reilly pegged it in his 9/27/2012 column “Caught in the Net.” What net? Both the internet and the net of unreality. Bill is one of the few pundits who critiques the conventional wisdom and gets it right.
As he points out, there was a time when kids competed in sandlot football and baseball after school. They tussled with each other. They got dirty. Sometimes they came home with scrapes and bruises. But the kids were none the worse for wear.
Today, kids are protected and kept from a healthy dose of reality. There are so many protections (don’t eat this, don’t play with that, don’t do something else) that they seldom encounter the real world. So where do they end up? Parked in front of a TV or computer.
For these kids, a fantasy world is not difficult to build. Bill points out that studies indicate that more people in general, and kids in particular, turn on the PC before they turn on the TV. This is where they receive their information, slanted and shallow.
Here is where Bill presents a contrarian view. He identifies two perils stemming from our high tech world. First, it saps ambition. Second, it builds escapism.
Why should a kid go outside into a world of bugs and thorns and dirt when they can sit in front of a computer screen and see all the nature they wish in a sterile environment. “Nature” becomes a cartoon fantasy.
Developing a sense of escapism is even more alarming. In their fantasy world, many young adults of voting age have no idea about what is taking place around them. And they vote.
Our economy is on the verge of collapse because of corrupt political decisions, yet far too many young people have slight grasp of the grimness of the situation. As Bill says, “they don’t know a deficit from a donut.” But they sure know how to work a smart phone and play computer games.
OMG! Is it true that English has become a second language? R u kidding me? Y even go 2 school? LOL!
So, Bill has it right. Pity that so few pundits have grasped the nature of the problem much less addressed it.