Monday, December 6, 2010

I Heart Technology But...

You all know I'm down with technology (more than some of you would like, I'm sure!) but I think there are so many tools that have so much potential to make the library ubiquitous and accessible to all.  But balance is important.  Last month, NYTimes published a great article: Growing Up Digital, Wired for Distraction.  GREAT article and a must-read for any librarian serving kids (which means, read it!  It's good!  There's also a 7-minute video that's worth watching!)  There's a great (or not so great) quote in the article by one of the kids they interviewed that has stuck with me:
you can get a whole story in six minutes, he explains. A book takes so long. I prefer the immediate gratification.
So that's pretty disturbing, right?   While the article does make quite a case for the fact that technology (or I would argue, our relationship with technology) is changing our brains, it also offers encouraging advice for parents (and librarians.)  Like encouraging kids/teens to have downtime (meaning no technology toys/tools.)  I know in my own house with a husband who is 10 Xs more into technology than me, we have to plan technology-free days.  And boy are they rewarding and lovely.  I've often thought (even before all this technology reached kids) that just regular playtime seemed a thing of the past.  I have so many memories of creative things we did out of sheer boredom.  I don't think kids get bored much anymore.  They just check-out on Facebook or YouTube. 

But there is hope!  As usual - parents can play an important role in all of this.  Limiting time with technology for sure and creating or allowing for some unscheduled space in a child's schedule where technology isn't an option.  Maybe cities should start imposing black-outs so we all take a few minutes to look away from the screen.