Sure, technology is great when it’s helping us connect with long-lost relatives, find our destination, or compute numbers in the blink of an eye. But what about when technology betrays us? Our computer crashes? We drop our phone into water and lose everything? Or when our credit card information is hacked?

Worse yet, how do you handle children and technology? Advancements in the classroom have led to a laundry list of positive and enriching experiences. But has it also stripped our children of common sense and basic life skills? The jury is still out on this debate, even within my own mind.

Changing Times

I don’t live and breathe technology. I’m not on Facebook, nor do I use Snapchat or even know how to properly create a spreadsheet in Excel. I can check my email, send a text, and send my pictures to Walgreens for printing. That’s about the extent of my tech savviness. But I know how to write in script, check a book out of the library, and write on a chalkboard. Can the same be said for the majority of today’s youth? Probably not.

Our Youth

My son is a prime example of this imbalance. He’s in first grade where notebooks have been replaced with iPads, chalkboards are now Smartboards, and cursive writing is no longer taught. And I wonder, how will he ever learn to sign his name? My friends tell me that by the time he’s old enough to need a signature it will be electronic or a fingerprint scan. And, sadly, they’re probably right.

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This Christmas my son asked for a phone. A phone! At 7.

I asked, “What would you possibly do with a phone?” His response? Text.

And who exactly would he be texting at age 7? His other, first grade classmates? Unlikely.

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We compromised on an iPod. He can safely listen to music and play games on a device that mimics a phone. Half of the fascination comes from a desire to feel older, more mature, and “cool”.

But the frightening part is, he will have a phone soon enough. And might even need one by the time he’s 10 - which seems to be the average age for kids of the 21st century to be given a cell phone. Why? Most parents tell me it’s because their child participates in after-school activities or walks home to an empty house after school. They give them the phone as a way for them to keep in communication. I get it. But giving your child a phone opens the door to a world they might not be ready for.

Cell Phone Safety

With countless apps available for things like making music videos or playing games in a virtual world, your child is at risk of stumbling upon people and things that are not intended for them. And what’s worse is, as children enter the early teen years, they might even become more versed in using technology than you. There are passwords for phones, secret vaults for photos they don’t want anyone to see, and even device manager settings that allow them to completely erase their phone’s history. If they want to hide something from you, they’ll find a way.

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While technology offers amazing advancements and opportunities for success, it also possesses additional problems and threats. I always say that when technology is working properly, it’s a godsend, but when one thing goes wrong that jeopardizes data, information, or our ability to successfully complete a task, it sucks.

Closing Thoughts

Children are growing up in a world ruled by technology, and this will continue for the foreseeable future. Today’s youth are a product of their environment. They know only what they’re shown and taught.

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Whether or not I agree with the technological trends, I need to stay up to date on what they are and what’s to come in order to help keep my child safe. What we once watched on The Jetsons has now become a reality. Will we soon be driving around in cars that hover? At the rate things are going, I wouldn’t be surprised.