There's certainly nothing new or shocking about the attachment young people have to their cell phones. They don't actually talk on them though; talking is no longer what cell phones are used for -- unless, of course, a parent calls.
Parents, those relics from a day gone by with their silly need for actual voice contact. And really, who needs a voice when fingers can peck across a mini touch screen faster and more efficiently than anyone ever thought possible? So hung up on inflection and innuendo those parents are -- can't they just get on Skype if they need it that bad? Alas, parents are as much of a necessity as texting. After all, someone has to buy your phone and drive you places, make your dinner and tell you to finally stop texting and go to bed.
If you're a parent, you've probably watched your child morph into an extension of his or her device, and it's pretty accurate to say that the techbot you raised may grow up to be just one in an army of technologically driven adults that will -- no doubt -- be the destruction of the world.
Older folks tend to think this way.
We, the not-so-very-young perceive the world of rapidly growing technology as something the children need to get a handle on before they become lonesome, solitary, homebound anti-socialites who we believe will never read a book, sit in a cafe or entertain face-to-face relationships. We fear that they are not having real fun, that they are not learning anything about life -- we watch them stare at their Tumblr blogs and take to heart the visual messages they view on their different teen-oriented sites, and though they seem amused, we insist that what they're really doing is sleepwalking through life. And we tell them how much better things used to be "back in our day".
What we really haven't accepted is that the reason we so loathe and resent their savvy is because it's a different world than our own. All we see is that there's a new generation of kids moving very rapidly in an extraordinarily fast paced revolution of tech mastery. The thing is - they have mastered it and we have not. We are on the outer edge, while they are the edge itself. We think we're awesome because we can afford iPads, write HTML and manipulate WordPress templates, all while talking on the phone to an automated voice service - this is archaic, decrepit stuff compared to the multi-tasking wizards we're presently raising. The truth is they're faster and better at it than we are, yet all we can see is how lonely and depressed they must be, and how whatever they're doing cannot possibly shape the world into a better place.
But... in every age, in every era, there are always great minds that come forth, positive products of the current environment -- thinkers! Perhaps what we're on to now is something we haven't seen yet: A new breed of geniuses who have taught themselves an entirely mint language in which to communicate with, something that defies the old ways. Maybe we reject our children's techno-brilliance because we see ourselves in the same way we see old software: obsolete.
Is it not possible for the kid who reads memes to develop a sense of humor so outrageous that she, in turn, becomes someone who makes people laugh hysterically? Can the boy who reposts gorgeous photos of tattooed girls on his Tumblr blog not develop a deep appreciation for art and design? And is it just so out-of-bounds to think that when two kids text each other, they might actually be helping each other cope by experiencing compassion -- maybe even love?
We have to stop doubting our children. We have to assume that one of these little texters is going to cure cancer someday, and they're going to do it with a cell phone in their hand. Legit.
For all the put-downs we give ourselves as a species, there is one thing that remains a constant light in our favor: We persevere. We keep going. And there are always heroes, in every generation. The hunger for knowledge will never be absent. Technology isn't going away. Cell phones, tablets, computers -- these are the components of life from here on in. Whatever the delivery method is, knowledge will be discovered, and it will be discovered because it will be sought. We either let our children find it through their own means, or see if we can fit ourselves into that dusty old box of useless floppy discs.
Great minds always surface, and when they do, you'll get a text telling you what to do next.
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