Technology: The Dark Side of Efficiency, Part 3

angry_birdIn my lifetime global tech advancement turned a corner and it was a sharp one. For all their benefits, the microwave, internet, multipurpose cell phone have accelerated the pace of living. When I was in elementary school, a digital Hello Kitty watch was hot stuff. Today, I sight at least 3 kids out of 5 with an iSomething in their hand. Only, they’re not the ones really holding the machine. It is the kids who are held captive by their tablet, their iPOD. As technology serves our demand for instant amusement and excitement, our dependency grows.  With the computer shrinking every year, more compact and portable, our minimachines ironically are not an accessory but a necessity. Left unchecked, the reliance can tailspin into an addiction. The South Korean government is scrambling toward another law to constrain the number of hours kids under 16 can play virtual games within a 24-hour period. The nation whose youth has been known for its academic ambitions is buckling under the weight of her children’s virtual obsessions. I can only imagine how the typical gaming brain of the Korean student has rewired. It is a product of clicking for instant gratification, not of laboring to produce something deep, meaningful, or imaginative.

As a former teacher in the public schools, I know enjoyment enables and enhances learning. But the world of video gaming has redefined fun. Our young ones are not inherently different from kids two hundred years ago. Our physical apparatus has not changed. The parenting, the environmental influences we watchdog or don’t, condition our children’s preferences. So, at least from observing my own son, it seems to me kids still can get quite a kick out of the incarnations they can summon of a cardboard box – except for the etoys readily put in front of them.

Preoccupation in the virtual sphere can redefine not only amusement but reality.  How many of us believe it’s healthy to keep lost in a world of fantasy? The transfixed gamer not only loses time and opportunity to engage the real world and people, but becomes enamored with a place that does not exist in nature and with powers he in fact does not have. The gamer enjoys the delusionary high of being able to make cool things happen quickly and easily – whenever he wants. It is the omnipotence of the Hero who’s simply changed costume every decade, the Lone Ranger, Superman, Ninja Turtles, the Incredibles: we love being able to manipulate boundaries, playing God. Where we are not careful, we could be nurturing impatience and restlessness of character and thought in our children.

5 thoughts on “Technology: The Dark Side of Efficiency, Part 3

  1. I much appreciate this series. Technology is certainly a double edged sword — I’m sure when the first plowshare was invented people were wondering about the sociological effects then too! I’m often caught between being the old man telling the kids to “get off my lawn and stop playing with those playstations” and trying to push the envelope to use the tech for the glory of God. Good read!

    • Thanks, Pastor A. The topic was among my favorite to write on. Your reminding us of the first plowshare leads me to wonder what inventions our grandchildren will be dealing with as parents!! Overwhelms!

  2. I’m a victim of technology cos it just make things so easy and connects me to the whole world. Of course, there are times when I shut myself from everyone by switching all devices off, and went quiet on all social media platforms.

  3. The rest of the series is in the Learning section under My Topics, if you wanted it. No need to put up likes. =) Just meaning to be helpful. The series was accepted by a homeschool magz. It’ll be out this winter. I do appreciate your support, S.

My Two Gold Cents in the Holistic Treasury

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