– How early children are being weaned on technology, and how this will affect society.

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It’s no secret, our use of personal technology has turned into an addiction. To me, it is no different than a drug. You may remember the 2010 “The World Unplugged” project whereby 1,000 college students in ten countries on five continents were asked to go without technology for 24 hours. The results of the study revealed the depths of their addiction. Some recent notices though, suggests it is going to get even worse.

A new study by ZACT, a smartphone provider, reveals a quarter of children ages two and under now have a smartphone, as do children ages three to five. As the study reveals, the penetration goes deeper as the child grows older; 39% of children ages 6-9 have a smartphone, 56% for ages 10-13, and 66% for ages 14-17. I might understand older children needing one, but a 25% penetration of the two year old age group is bewildering. And once they get hooked, they are likely addicted forever. Taking it a step further, there is a significant movement afoot in this country to teach computer programming in elementary school, thereby solidifying the addiction. Frankly, I would rather see students taking more classes in speech and English, but I am a creature of the 20th century who understands the importance of building human relations.

Smartphone addiction is also changing our lifestyles. To illustrate, a venture capitalist in San Francisco recently suggested movie theaters should be altered to allow moviegoers to actively use their smartphones as opposed to turning them off; see, “Would you go to a Wi-Fi-connected, lights-on movie theater?” It is his contention that technology savvy people would rather use their smartphones during the performance to reference such things as cast members, credits, rate the movie, and carry on a dialog with other people in the theater regarding the movie, not to mention perform a little work on the side. If this comes to fruition, look for movie producers to capitalize on this by offering a movie that interacts with local smartphones, such as supplying trivia about the movie, giving clues as to how the plot will progress, or maybe allow the patrons to guess “who done it.”

Then there was the story in the “Huffington Post” where a respected professor and education researcher suggests that teaching spelling and grammar should be de-emphasized as smartphones now perform this function using “autocorrect.” One may argue student math skills have slipped thanks in large part to a plethora of available calculators. Now, the same phenomenon may occur to English thanks to our dependency on the smartphone.

Two things are disturbing about these recent reports, how early children are being weaned on technology, and how this will affect society in the long run. The more technology takes over the basic processing functions of our brain, the more we become dependent on it. Do we really need to multitask as we watch a movie? Do children really need to learn technology as opposed to mastering language and socialization skills? It seems to me the human spirit is being programmed and I’m not sure we are going to like the end result.

To understand how programmed you are, try “The World Unplugged” experiment and abstain from using technology for at least 24 hours. If you develop a nagging feeling for checking your smartphone or computer, in medical circles this is commonly referred to as an “addiction.”

For more, information, see: “Is Personal Technology a Drug?”

Keep the Faith!

Note: All trademarks both marked and unmarked belong to their respective companies.

Tim Bryce is a writer and the Managing Director of M&JB Investment Company (M&JB) of Palm Harbor, Florida and has over 30 years of experience in the management consulting field. He can be reached at [email protected]

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Copyright © 2013 by Tim Bryce. All rights reserved.

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Listen to Tim on WJTN-AM (News Talk 1240) “The Town Square” with host John Siggins (Mon, Wed, Fri, 12:30-3:00pm Eastern), KGAB-AM 650 “The Morning Zone” with host Dave Chaffin (weekdays, 6:00-10:00am Mountain), and KIT-AM 1280 in Yakima, Washington “The Morning News” with hosts Lance Tormey & Brian Teegarden (weekdays. 6:00-9:00am Pacific). Or tune-in to Tim’s channel on YouTube.

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