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Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Are Smart Phones Dumbing Down Our Children?

My nephew can use an iPhone better than I can. He can flip through photos, enlarge pictures, turn them upside down, and the two-year-older can even go to his favorite Apps and demonstrate how to use them. I stare at him in shock, but quickly remember that my almost four-year-older can do the same thing.

Am I the only blogger in America that doesn't have a smart phone? I have this cute, sliding, free phone, while my husband has a sleek upgrade. Our oldest son can't figure out why my phone isn't like the majority of people in America.

Growing up, our cell phone was connected to a large battery and remained in the trunk of my mom's car, "for emergency purposes." The phone was huge and looked like a jukebox. We didn't have TV's in our rooms, had one desktop computer, a typewriter, which my dad used, and got phones in our rooms when we entered high school. I was so brainwashed about not having a TV in my room, that as an RA in college, I put my only TV in the living room.

The question is debatable, "Are smart phones and technology dumbing down our kids?" My initial reaction to that question is, "no." I think texting is making our kids a bit hyper and poses a danger when they try to multitask by tweeting, eating, breathing, and walking at the same time.

Emory University English professor Mark Bauerlein, is the author of The Dumbest Generation: How the Digital Age Stupefies Young Americans and Jeopardizes Our Future, stated he “does not trust anyone under 30.” What happens when the 30-year-old somethings, have children, then he would probably argue that we are corrupting them with social media. Are we tweeting too often: http://www.howoftendoyoutweet.com?

Matt McGee's article, "By the Numbers: Twitter vs. Facebook vs. Google Buzz,” statistically points out how often people are using social media:

Updates/Posts

* Facebook status updates: 700 per second
* Twitter tweets: 600 per second
* Buzz posts: 55 per second

And compared to searches (see our postscript below)

* Google: 34,000 searches per second
* Yahoo: 3,200 searches per second
* Bing: 927 searches per second

I'm torn about this subject, because sometimes I believe social media can cause interruptions in life and warp of reality. I get perturbed when someone answers a text during a meeting or a meal. Some have become too busy trying to describe their latest activity in 140 characters, while others are constantly responding to the question on Facebook, "What's on your mind?" On the flipside, social media has allowed people to connect and easily stay in touch.

Truth be told, social media is ingenious. We are in an age where technology is increasing, as well as our interest in learning more about the subject and discovering the wonders of the unknown and greater possibilities. Bottom line, I believe parents must monitor their children’s over-usage of technology. If your son/daughter is starting to put tweet phrases in his/her English paper or on the SAT, then we have something to be worried about. Until then, just monitor their statuses and tweets.

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