A generation ago, there was a real worry: privileged parents, those with time, education and money, were giving their kids access to the tools of the net while other kids were missing out on the wealth of interactions and information available online. The fear was that this gap would further magnify differences in opportunity.
Today, as digital tools get cheaper and more widespread, a new gap is appearing:
If a parent uses a tablet or a smartphone as a babysitter, it’s a lot easier to get a kid to sit still. As a result, parents who are busy, distracted or can’t afford to spend as much 1:1 time as they’d like are unknowingly encouraging their kids to become digital zombies, with a constant need for stimulation, who are being manipulated by digital overlords to click and click some more.
If a kid can’t read, it’s not clear he should be surfing the web, watching TV or playing a videogame for hours a day.
Boredom, daydreaming, a good book, building in three dimensions, interactivity with other humans–these are precious skills, skills that are being denied kids that are simply given a plate of chicken fingers and a tablet instead.