The immediate reaction from the mom was to drag out her cellphone from her pocket and hand it to this toddler. The screams abated, the child clicked a few times and started playing some game on the screen. All was quiet, the child sat for a good 30 minutes, absorbed. Mom said the cellphone and TV are the best things ever invented.
This wasn't quite as startling as an event I witnessed at a Costco lineup. A two-year-old sat in his mother's shopping cart. He had a blank stare, oblivious of all around him. In his ears were iPod earbuds. The mother then proceeded to put her own iPod buds in her ears. They waited silently. There was no conversation at all.
They don't need toys
A piece of string or some paper are just fine to let them begin exploration. Repetition, exploration, socializing, movement are all necessary for a child to develop skills in the areas of social, physical , intellectual, creative and emotional development. It happens when interactions between the hands and the brain take place, during the course of play with different objects and surroundings.
If the child is not exposed to many different activities other than using a cellphone or tablet there would be strong development in one area, but not in others. Sadly, the growing brain prunes out neuron pathways that aren't used. Following this through, you'll see how children who grow up in this way will be technologically bright, but really weak in other areas, and this is how society must inevitably change.
Children need you to talk and read to them!
There's a reason pediatricians are warning against very young children having anything other than very limited access to TV, cellphones and tablets. Its all about this matter of brain development, not because the physicians don't want you to have an easier time with your children.
Some of the changes are fundamental, and help in the understanding of children born after 9/11. They're referred to as Generation Z. Their parents grew up with computers. They're growing up with touch screens. They can multitask on about five screens at a time, not like me, who has to focus desperately on one!
The Zs, unlike their parents, are growing up in a world filled with great complexity. They've only known life in a recession, lots of violence, impermanence, and terrorism. They want to change the world. Malala, the Pakistani teen girl who was shot because of her passion for education of girls, is a good example of that.
Each generation has become faster in their lives. Zs have an attention span of 11 seconds, and 11% of their number now have been diagnosed with ADD.
Their parents celebrated exercise. The Zs prefer indoor screen exercises, and since the 70's teen obesity has tripled.
Autism becomes more common
One in 68 children are now diagnosed with autism. (2014 stats from CDC)
This new estimate is roughly 30% higher than the estimate for 2008 (1 in 88), roughly 60% higher than the estimate for 2006 (1 in 110), and roughly 120% higher than the estimates for 2002 and 2000 (1 in 150). We don't know what is causing this increase. Some of it may be due to the way children are identified, diagnosed, and served in their local communities, but exactly how much is unknown.
The Zs don't seem to visualize a future living in a house as a couple with maybe one or two children. Instead, they may well have the children, but they prefer to live with a multi generational family, possibly so they can have a ready supply of child minders, and be free to pursue their interests.
Of course I'm generalizing here, and many of the Z generation, my own family included, don't follow this pattern.
Where does work come into this?
Uhmmmm...remember what we talked about with the neuron pruning? This is the new society. It has arrived.
Thank you for your visit, and wishing you a safe and beautiful weekend!