Technology – Should We Be Worried?

Hugh
Hugh McDermott, UNHS Principal

I am fascinated by the technology and its prevalence among our youth. I am envious as I watch many students and some adults type away so easily on their hand held devices, their thumbs are moving over these screens like expert typists! I, on the other hand, struggle with texting on my iPhone. Ten minutes after I have finally completed my six to ten words, I am proud to hit send.

When I am in public, I look around and can see that the majority of the people around me are usually on their cell phones. There are times I’ve wondered, should we be worried about this mesmerizing kind of obsession on these devices? Is this fixation really good for all of us? Isn’t this a wasted opportunity for human to human interaction? Should we be worried?

Will we raise a generation of students who have never really seen the sky because they don’t look up from their screens as they stumble along on the streets and sidewalks? Even as students walk in packs, they are all focusing on their own devices and in many instances, are actually texting and communicating to the person right next to them, instead of using the verbal language. Thus, I am sometimes concerned that students aren’t practicing much in the way of verbal and conversational skills that often come with more richness and quality of exchanges. Should we be worried?

I continue to try to deal with and learn the newer technology, feeling that I’m just getting further behind with all the new advances. I’ve noticed that my students are like sponges with this stuff, as they pick up the newest apps and latest devices with ease. I do love to see their quick ability to adapt to all these changes that push and tug at me constantly. So, should we be worried?

I am not going to worry. I have faith that when each student needs to discover the sky and the world around them, they’ll look up.

I have confidence that they will continue to learn, perhaps learn more than one thinks, and be able to communicate with these devices so that others understand them. We are more connected today with others all over the world because of these devices, but I hope we’ll also learn and understand that there is relevance and importance in speaking directly to others, conversing and expressing yourself verbally. And for those of us that came into this world slightly later than the devices, we’ll continue to be able to observe, listen, talk, and discuss how these devices are helping, hindering and stretching our own growth and learning.

And to parents with kids and even to teachers alike, this request: please, please reflect on when and where you and your children are using these devices so that you don’t lose opportunities to connect in the most human of ways with your kids/students—through daily conversation with them! 

Author: University of Nebraska High School

Accredited online high school program providing award-winning curriculum to students in all 50 states and more than 100 countries.