Kids today have an extreme amount of technological gadgets at their fingertips, but it’s not necessarily a bad thing. Cell phones are a great way for a child to keep in touch with their parents and vice versa. Computers and the internet are invaluable for researching topics for papers or getting homework help. But, how many times have parents walked by to see their child IMing, or instant messaging, their friends rather than, or at the same time as, doing their homework? This multi-tasking causes distraction and loss of attention to their studies, but the temptation is so great to just send a quick IM, that often they end up with several IM windows open at the same time. Friends jump in and out of the conversation. It’s much easier than writing emails or even picking up the phone.
That brings us to the subject of cell phones. As said above, cell phones have their place and are great tools for emergency use, however, kids, especially teens, are notorious for talking endlessly for hours and hours, racking up charges and wasting time that should be spent on study. Even worse than the fact that almost every kid in America has their own cell phone is the fact that text messaging is becoming more and more prevalent. Some cell phone companies now include a certain amount of text messaging with their plans, as if kids needed the encouragement to text one another. There have been instances reported where kids have cheated on exams by texting each other during the test. A cell phone is small and can be concealed on the lap where the teacher isn’t even aware the texting for help is going on.
They can text from across the room or even from different classes. Most teachers insist cell phones be turned off or kept in lockers or backpacks, but many have given up trying to enforce the rules. As if cell phones aren’t a bad enough distraction, along comes the infamous iPod. These are actually great devices; small, easy to download to and portable, but in the hands of kids, they are yet another piece of technology gone wild. Just look at kids on their way to or from school, walking around the mall or even at the beach. Almost all of them are plugged into their iPods. Just as with the cell phones, most teachers discourage the use of iPods in class. I say discourage, because many of them have also given up trying to forbid their use. Some teachers are much stricter, but many will allow the students to listen to their music during tests. In a way this is nice, but I wonder how listening to alternative rock or heavy metal might affect a student’s attention or memory of facts. Overall, test scores seem to be staying rather level, so maybe all of this sound, noise and chatting isn’t harming our children as much as we think. Maybe they’re just better adapted to it than adults. After all, they’ve grown up around these inventions and they have integrated them into their daily lives.