Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Parenting in a Flat World

The generation in power typically criticizes the up and coming generation.  They bemoan how easy life is for the new generation.  Mark Bauerlein in The Dumbest Generation identifies this argument as the "old fogy" complaint, even though he denies that his evaluation falls into this category.  Bauerlein and Thomas Friedman in The World is Flat both criticize Generation Y for not reading more.  I can agree with this argument.  At 13 and 10 I still take my children to the library regularly and ask about what they are reading for school and pleasure.  I think reading is key to academic success. 

However, I question the assertion that screen time is the downfall of this generation.   You can learn a great deal from documentaries on TV.   Kids can  learn strategy, decision making and teamwork from electronic games (Prensky, 2004).  Children of this generation need to master technology tools.  Their jobs will certainly require use of technology. 

I believe the failure of parents today is not being involved with what they children are doing.  What kind of games are they playing?  What kind of shows are they watching?  What lessons are they learning?  What are they reading on their Kindle?  Talk to your children about Fineas and Ferb.  Find out what they are doing on Facebook?  Discuss the advantages and disadvantages of using technology for different tasks.  Should we look this word up in or pull the Webster's off the shelf?  Go to the school Web site for tomorrow's lunch choice or the calendar in your backpack.

Yes, we should limit screen time, but we shouldn't throw the baby out with the bath water and cast technology as 100% bad for our kids.


ppwooda3 said...


I agree with your comment that reading is key. I think it is one of the largest weaknesses of this generation. However, I do feel that more of the generation's screentime is unproductive, rather than productive. I agree with Bauerlein that screentime is a major downfall to this generation. Because although yuo can learn a great deal from documentaries, the reality is that most students are not watching these shows or that they are watching the documentaries like the man who only ate pizza. They may learn some poor health facts from this but the liklihood is that they would learn more from a trip to the science museum, a backyard game of baseball, or reading a book.

Laura B. Fogle said...

I am always trying to encourage my students to use technology for learning. I make the Web sites I use in class available to them in hope they will access them at home instead of something mindless.