OPINION: Kids and technology: how much is too much?

The way that today’s society relies on technology is like oxygen to a pair of lungs. Without that constant breath of fresh air, we wouldn’t know how to function. 

As a part of Generation Z, technology has been rapidly progressing since I first locked eyes with a screen. My first robot that I can recall was a pink iPod nano that I brought with me on the bus every day to and from school. My neighbor and I would each take an earbud and blast the sweet hymns of Justin Bieber. However, it wasn’t until that first interaction with a touch-screen device that changed the future of gadgetry forever. 

Fast forward to Black Friday in 2011, the iPod touch 4th generation had officially been released a month prior; it was the first iPod to offer both a front and back facing camera. The “selfie” was officially born, and I needed my duckface to be captured. I saved up my allowance in a sock, and I had a mission to obtain this holy grail product while on sale at my local Walmart. I had little clue that this purchase would change my life, and I would never experience the world without a device in hand again. 

I feel ancient thinking about how I lived nearly half of my life free of seeing a notification pop-up on a screen, especially when comparing it to today’s youth. The dependency on technology that Generation Alpha has is impossible to ignore. Parenting was simplified when gadgets came into the picture; after all, it is easier to calm down a child by placing an iPad in front of them than looking for other solutions they’ll find mundane. However, what consequence will this electronic obsession have when these children turn into adults? 

Children are innocent, imaginative and have the constant desire to explore new things. During this short part of life, creativity is rushing through their bones. Being glued to a screen plugs up this stream, and stunts it by the time they enter adulthood. This can lead to a plethora of problems in the future— if we do not have innovative minds, innovation won’t happen, and shortly, we’ll be stuck in the mud. 

Technology has dozens upon dozens of benefits, and it is undeniable that these will expand as time continues, and I do believe that it benefits younger generations. Children should be familiar with using technology so they are able to navigate its transformations, but I think it is best used in moderation. There should be a balance between keeping up to pace with our advancing world, and exploring the world outside to maintain a curious mind. Kids are kids, but they are also our future, and it is our job to install them with an intellectual foundation.

Write to Mercedes Kauphusman at mercedes.kauphusman@mnsu.edu

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