Educating Children: Have Gadgets Replaced True Learning?

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Educating children, cell phone at restaurant

I know a 2-year-old who can log on to her mother’s cell phone. She can access a YouTube app. She can also scroll her favorite video choices, then select a song or show to watch. Many who actively participate in educating children might consider this an amazing feat.

She and tens of thousands of other children have far-exceeded expectations regarding use of technology. However, they’ve  declined when it comes to their ability to engage in true learning experiences. The average child no longer does things like play pretend.

Why is that important when educating children?

Clever marketers trick adults into believing numerous erroneous ideas. One is that the hope of the future lies in how well kids can use their gadgets. Having just one gadget is no longer acceptable. Parents provide their children with tablets, cell phones, iPods and more.

Most of the activities on such devices are already designed, programmed, and “imagined” for kids. Games, such as Minecraft  involve placing blocks and going on virtual adventures. Is that really helping a child reach his or her full imagination potential? Most of the thinking is already done. A child merely has to select, drag or drop his way to a solution or to create something. Is it quality education when we constantly allow kids to let electronic programs to do their thinking for them?

Part of educating children used to include human interaction

Sadly, many children today have lost the art of conversation. Consider a child in a restaurant with parents, siblings or even grand-parents. Chances are, someone at the table is using an electronic device. Such things occur during a meal, nowadays!

Parents aren’t as diligent about teaching children how to properly greet someone. Kids today rarely learn how to place a napkin. No one teaches them to eat politely or engage in friendly discourse at a dining table. That’s because the parents who are supposed to be teaching them are also scrolling on their cell phones during supper.

There is no replacement for natural learning

I’m not suggesting children should live without understanding or knowing how to use advanced technology because it can be a great asset. It can’t replace the value of interacting with others nor can it replace a child’s own thought processes. Kids learn by imagining and daydreaming. They can grow from life lessons by learning from real-life mistakes.

Steve Jobs (deceased) and Bill Gates greatly restricted their own children’s use of gadgetry, likely because they knew/know there’s a downside to it. When did educating children stop being about letting kids play? Why do they no longer explore, dream, debate, imagine or pretend? They scroll and click and live in a virtual world instead of a real one. We’re depriving today’s youths of truly learning. In fact, many are merely going through the motions.

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