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Monday, April 5, 2010

Q4U: Electronics

Consider this an open thread, because I'm curious...

As a sci-fi writer I dream up worlds that are, by-and-large, electronics driven. Computers, robots, thumb scanners, you name and I have it somewhere in my writing. But I'm beginning to wonder just how plugged in we really are.

Case in point, my children now have two Gameboys running around the house, plus a toy computer, plus games on the real computer. I tend to think of this as to much, until my husband pointed out that I can't function without a computer. I bank, communicate, and shop all from my computer. Ergo, the kids need to have electronics so they can learn how to use them before they grow up and do everything by computer.

It's a sound enough theory.

So you tell me, how plugged in are you?

Do you have a Kindle? An IPad?

Do you txt everyone, or surf the web from your phone?

What age do you think children should be introduced the use of electronics?

Is this a good thing, or are we messing up society by putting computers between us and the rest of humanity?


  1. Sadly, I'd be in serious withdrawl without my computer. I don't have a Kindle (yet) and I'm not a big texter.

    Both of our kids recieved hand-me-down computers when they were two - filled with preschool learning type games. This helped both of them get ahead in reading and math as well as become computer savvy for school. The only internet access they are allowed is on our family computer where we can monitor them. Our son was allowed his first email account at twelve.

    For those of us who are less socially outgoing than others, computers have been wonderful. I am in touch with more family members and friends than I would be without it. By far. Not to mention having the resources of the internet available at all hours and how much I've gained from access to other writers that I wouldn't have had otherwise. Yay computers!

  2. I don't have kids (yet) but the children of friends are all fairly technically savvy. I think, given the likelihood that these kids will experience computers in school from a very early age, it's important to make sure your kids are familiar with computers.

    Sooner rather than later, they will have to use them on a regular basis. We're concerned with giving our kids a headstart in everything else, why not this?

  3. I've been using a computer since I was pretty young - jr. high, at least, long before most of my friends started using them (my dad's been in the computer industry since I was little). That said though, I use a desktop model, a netbook, and my PDA - I don't have or want a cell phone, so no texting or being in constant contact for me (my PDA has wi-fi, but I rarely use it). I don't have an e-reader because I read on my PDA.

    It seems to me that people don't know how to "be alone" anymore - and I don't think that's necessarily a good thing. I know people who talk on the cell phone or text their way through even the grocery store - and I don't think that's healthy. I think people need to be able to function on their own, be independent, and not need the input of a "hive mind" for every little decision. It disturbs me how many people can't even go for a walk in the neighborhood without making a phone call.

    I don't/won't have kids, but if I were to, they'd be taught to use the computer fairly early, with boundaries. No cell phones until they can sign the contract (so 18). I hate "electronic leashes" - and would want my kids to learn to think independently (and fail occasionally) while still under my watch. And yes, I realize that's unpopular - many of my views on raising kids are. :-)

  4. Definitely, I think technology is here to stay. And I'm really envious of kids today. They have no rights whatsoever to moan about homework, because uh - they have information easily at their fingertips. And helpful people are just a quick email away.

    They have no idea how annoying and frustrating it can be to have to do the run around libraries and elsewhere to research and interview people for projects. Lucky little buggers. :[


    Yes, I do everything online from bill paying, shopping, research... and I have some friends who I confab with more online than f2f.

    I have three computers (mini, laptop, and desktop)....

    And I want a Nintendo DS - oh and also a graphic tablet (because I love doodling while I write).

    I'm not too far gone. So far I've resisted the call of the kindle and I'm not really into using my cell phone for anything besides emergency calls. :)

    When to introduce kids to technology? As soon as they are interested. The only thing is moderation and supervision.

    I love my computers and would not let a kid play with them without me sitting there and keeping an eye on them.

    The other thing that concerns me is the death of penmanship... maybe I'm old fashioned but I think it's important for people to know how to write and write legibly. And they should know how to spell and write essays etc from scratch without the aid of electronic devices. <- Technology is great, but if you rely too much on it, it becomes a handicap. I think people should still learn to write, read, and draw without the aid of devices.

  5. Oh boy. Man, am I ridiculously plugged in. And I love it.

    I have:
    Kindle (personal)
    Sony Reader (on loan from work, all manuscripts)
    iPod 1 - audio books
    iPod 2 - music
    Laptop 1 - new
    Laptop 2 - old, but still works

    I have no opinion about kids and technology, other than that they should probably be introduced early, because it will make their future professional lives easier. But since I don't plan on having any, it's entirely up to, you know, actual parents.

  6. I have a kindle. I don't txt or surf the web from my phone.

    When I was a kid, my family had a computer before we had a tv. In general, I think technology is good for kids. That doesn't mean a six year old needs an iPhone, but I don't see the harm in kids becoming familiar with how technology works.

  7. I have a laptop, an iPod, and a phone. OH, and a PDA. I am totally fine going away from my computer. It doesn't bother me at all.

    My family got our first computer when I was learning how to read and they bought me a computer game to supplement what I was learning in the home. (Same as with math.)

    Frankly, I think electronics have been detrimental to communication abilities. And I'm not just talking about text language seeping into everyday speak in the younger generations. I had a friend once who would never call. She just texted. That's all she would do. You're not learning how to interact, read body language, etc.

    There are skills you need to learn that you can't get by communicating over the internet or through text messages.

    And I think that computers need to supplement learning in human-to-human interactions, not replace them.

  8. I think we tend to view our kids being plugged in as different as ourselves. If they are spending more time in the made up worlds of games and surfing/chatting/fbing/watching vids than they are out living their lives, then I think the situation needs balance.

    I think both myself and my kids are too plugged in to be honest.

  9. I'm anachronistic myself. I'm an IT specialist who keeps electronics at home to the barest minimum. I have two desktop computers, one handed to me by my daughter when she got her laptop, which are 11 and 6 years old. I think I have the only computer in the world that is running Windows ME with no problems. Hehehe.

    My daughter has many gadgets - laptop, tablet, game systems, etc. - and is even more adept with them than I am.

    Computers were just coming into common use when I was finishing high school and I've felt that my generation is at a distinct disadvantage because we didn't grow up with them. I also feel that the current generations have lost a lot in not having that human connection while they've grown up. Some of my friends' kids are great as long as they can be on the computer and socially inept when away from them.

    Personally, I cringe when I've reading posts made by people where they mention how much "they no about spell check" and "can see how too mush dependence on technology is bad" or how often I see quite used instead of quiet and sprite in place of spirit.

    Balance is required in everything however our technology is advancing so much faster than people can learn that some things are being lost - like social interaction and proper grammar. In my family, spelling and grammar are and will remain important and my daughter even corrects her friends when they're typing comments in games and forums.