Technology, fundamentals and kids
By unixman on Jul 08, 2011
Technology, like most consumables, continues to evolve and present itself in more and more areas of our daily lives. (Personal and desktop) computers were, at some point, touted as enablers and were supposed to free us and empower us to do more with our time. If anything, most of us have become either resilient to technology or completely dependent on it. Watching (my) kids has allowed me to make some interesting observations about where we are going, given the pace of technology adoption -- and the obvious danger in ignoring the fundamentals. In July 2011, my family of 4 has 2*n-1 computing devices - that's almost 2 per person (and I am talking about Apple products alone here!). Contrasting to where we were just 20 years ago, where and when I had been growing up -- times have dealt us some interesting cards vis a vis enormous changes. One of the challenges that we're struggling with a bit, is constantly navigating the technology maze with intent to illustrate to our kids that (at least in the consumer industry) technology is merely an enabler, and not a panacea. "txt me whn u gt hm" is an anti-exercise in Wheel Of Fortune where dropping, not buying, vowels is done deliberately, at 5-95 cents a message. "How kewl iz dat?" - not cool, most of the time. I often yearn for the days of pre-consumer electronics era, recalling what it was like growing up as a kid - looking at, and interacting with people, as opposed to screens powered by intelligent software running on energy-efficient hardware. A friend I spoke with yesterday had told me he prefers to be reading a book, not a nook. In the world of increased mobility and space consciousness, we each make our own decisions - but what decisions do we make for our kids who look up to us and copy our (almost) every move? What do you do when both parents are in the field of technology? This topic, no doubt, has gotten its fair share of research from various professionals. I'm always looking for ways to impress upon my kids the relevance of fundamental ingredients of our life that came way before their modernized technological counterparts ever existed. Books, conversations, music, sports, etc. - a right mix is important for a good potion to be appreciated. It is always interesting to see new ways to illustrate the magic of books, for example, as we've witnessed the popularity of Harry Potter series over the last few years. Acknowledging the already successful moguls serving the inquisitive minds of the toddler, I recently came across something new - a new character set being introduced -- and that illustrates, to some extent, non-conformance with already well-established characters and brands. Seeing that such innovation actually extends to places for even younger audiences is really heartwarming. I am writing about AdoraPet Children's books and toys (www.adorapet.com). As if out of nowhere I bumped into something new that reaches out to young children's imagination, through stories involving routine, daily activities through the eyes of 2 friendly puppies. The approach illustrates fresh thinking and desire to help kids discover the world by engaging in basic activities of reading, playing, dreaming and achieving. Coupled with a sampling of different job roles, I think kids can actually gain a better and faster understanding through reading by comprehending what's involved - through yet another group of friendly characters -- and (more times then not) without having to be glued to the TV screen, or engaged in a pop-corn-smelling-overpriced-hot-dog-or-nachos-soda-combo-movie-theater-experience. Now isn't that a pretty revolutionary idea? (I don't hold any financial interest in the company).