Digital Technology: Its Use and Abuse

Children, Computers and Phones

  Christian parents: are your children spending hours surfing the net?  You are exposing them to great danger!  Have you bought them their own laptops, tablets, phones, etc., and left them to use these things as they like, whenever they like?  Then you have failed in your sacred parental duty!  As shown above, the internet is a very useful tool, if carefully controlled; but it can be a deadly trap as well.  At their very fingertips is a world of wickedness, immorality, filth, false doctrine, such as you never had access to when you were a child.  Would you drop your children off at a nightclub, or a strip joint, or a brothel?  No good parent would think of doing such a thing.  Why, then, instead of dropping them off at such places, do you drop an electronic device into their hands instead, and allow them to use it in whatever way they please?

  Your children should only use the internet under very strict parental supervision, in a public part of the house where they can be monitored and not behind the closed or locked door of their bedroom; and even then, only for a very limited period of time each day, and for a clearly defined and useful purpose.

  A child with a computer in the house, where a parent is able to strictly monitor its use, is one thing; but what about your children and phones?  These can provide them with instant access to all kinds of immorality, to sexual predators, to a thousand and one dangers.  What are you thinking, parents?  Your children do not need, and should never have, unrestricted, unsupervised access to mobile phones.  Otherwise you, by your negligence and foolishness, have placed a world of iniquity in your own child’s hands. 

  There is no need for a pre-pubescent child to even have his own phone, except for absolute emergencies when separated from his parents for a time.

  And even apart from those dangers, the other major problem with mobile phones is that your children learn to be chatterboxes, gossipers, and in fact end up spending more time either talking to or texting their friends than they spend communicating with their own parents.  Just think back to your own childhood, if you are old enough to remember those pre-internet, pre-mobile phone days.  Remember how your parents would never allow you to sit and gab on the phone to your friends for hours?  They were right!  You were wasting time and money!  But we live in an age where self-discipline and self-control have gone out the window.  An age when parents, wiser in their own eyes than the generations before them, see nothing wrong with letting their children fritter away precious time, jawing on and on into their phones, or texting endlessly.  It is just another indication of a society that has lost its moorings, imposes no limits or rules on children, teaches no self-control, and is in the process of raising a generation of spoiled, self-centred, know-it-all, arrogant, “I want it all and I want it now” young people.

  And are your children endlessly playing video games?  A simple question for you: why?  What possible purpose do they serve?  They waste time.  They waste money.  They cause their brains to atrophy.  Time was when kids played on their bikes, in the outdoors, or if indoors they played sensible and decent games, or were given chores around the house.  No longer!  Now they sit like junkies, playing mindless video games.  Many of them are digital junkies, slothful layabouts with a concentration-span of no more than a few seconds at most.  And many of the games are introducing them to things with which their young minds should never be filled.  If you (correctly) keep them away from the filth on TV, but allow them to waste away their lives gazing at a laptop or phone screen, you are failing them.  I will not mince words on these things: you as a parent are failing your children, and you are disobeying the Lord you profess to love and serve. 

  But of course, if the parents are not setting an example, the children will quickly discern what hypocrites they are!

Children: Dumber, Not Smarter

  Please, parents: let’s not hear this nonsense about today’s children being smarter than previous generations.  It is absolute hogwash, yet we hear it all the time: “Kids today are so smart!”  No, they are not.  Their “smartness” is an illusion.  Mark Bauerlein, an English professor, was the author of The Dumbest Generation: How the Digital Age Stupefies Young Americans and Jeopardizes Our Future.   This is correct.  The digital age has not made children smarter; quite the opposite, in fact.  Consider the following, taken from The McAlvany Intelligence Advisor, March 2010, which summarises some of the points in Bauerlein’s book:[8]

  “One of the main points of The Dumbest Generation is how skill and familiarity with computers, text messaging, blogging, and other devices are often confused with wisdom and intelligence.  Equating Twittering skills with brainpower goes beyond comparing apples and oranges.  Even those who are a part of the electronic generation sometimes recognize their shortcomings in basic skills. 

  “A 20-something poster on USA Today’s Generation Next blog summed up the problem.  He wrote, ‘Today’s young people don’t suffer from illiteracy; they just suffer from e-literacy.  We can’t spell and we don’t know synonyms because there’s less need to know.  What smart person would spend hours learning words that can be accessed at the click of a button?  Spellcheck can spell.  Shift + F7 produces synonyms.  What is wrong with relying on something that is perfectly reliable?’

  “So what happens to the person who is without their laptop while it is being repaired, or what are the results if they need to handle something that involves other skills?  If they never learned to spell or use the language with any depth, those weaknesses will surely be exposed at crucial times.  Face-to-face meetings can be especially embarrassing for the electronic whiz kid with gaping deficiencies in other areas (such as social skills; thinking on their feet; or making quick, well thought-out decisions).”

  Furthermore: “Despite the information explosion of recent years, ‘young Americans of today are no more learned or skillful than their predecessors, no more knowledgeable, fluent, up-to-date, or inquisitive, except in the materials of youth culture,’ Bauerlein observed.  ‘They don’t know more history or civics, economics or science, literature or current events.  They read less on their own, both books and newspapers’…

  “So what do young techies have to show for all their hours online?  As Bauerlein points out, modern electronics allow this generation to disengage from and avoid contact with their parents and other elders.

  “Endless hours of Facebook and Twittering only serve to feed a self-centred obsession with ever-changing youth culture and socializing.  Time that could be spent accessing the vast amount of true knowledge online is used instead for endless and mindless chats (often filled with poor spelling, incorrect grammar, and profanity).”

  It has been demonstrated that what has been called “digital dementia” in children is a real danger.  Children, addicted to their digital devices, start to forget the little things.  And as time goes on, their ability to retain information actually deteriorates.  It can be described as an induced form of Alzheimer’s in children.  Furthermore, children now get very bored, very quickly, because they are used to being constantly “entertained” and amused with instant digital stuff.  They get bored applying their brains to mathematics or history or biology, so they constantly text their friends, or see who has “liked” them or some picture of themselves, etc.[9]  They are easily distracted, because they are constantly distracted.

  No, the digital-age generation is not smarter than previous ones.  The very opposite is in fact the case.  The following is reproduced from the same issue of The McAlvany Intelligence Advisor, as this perfectly summarises the fact that today’s digital-savvy generation is no smarter than earlier ones, and in fact is even less smart than they were.  It is entitled Who’s the Dummy?  It is excellent:

  “The media and education establishment is known for frequently proclaiming how the current generation of young adults is ‘the best and brightest’ to ever emerge.  Does the hype from this smug mutual admiration society stand up to a comparison across the decades?  Where do today’s under-30s stand when it comes to practical skills and the ability to deal with adversity?

  “Let’s take a pair of 23-year olds from different decades.  Jason is a recent college graduate, while Vernon lives in rural Nebraska circa 1931.  A year-and-a-half of high school was sufficient for Vernon to qualify as the most educated member of his family.

  “Since his formal schooling is so much less than Jason’s, many would say the farm kid has already lost the contest.  But this game is still in the first inning.

  “Spending time in school and getting educated aren’t always the same thing.  Vern’s training in a one-room schoolhouse with a library that could be measured in dozens of volumes might have provided him with a reading comprehension level that equals or even surpasses Jason’s.

  “We’re not saying that Vernon is a genius.  He’s a pretty average product of his times and geographic location.  That means he can work 12-hour days without whining, and knows how to raise cash crops as well as a large garden along with tending and butchering livestock.

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