Alan Wolk has a great entry today over at The Toad Stool. He tells of watching “Field of Dreams” with his two young children:
It was only 1989. A year that most you reading this blog had already been born. Yet there were no cell phones. No internet. In one key scene, Kevin Costner and James Earl Jones can only keep in touch with their families by calling them from a pay telephone. With a dial on it. My kids stared at it and wondered “what’s that?”
While we talk about things like “digital natives” and all, we can’t really fathom what it’s like to come of age at a time when all this isn’t new anymore. Or how rapidly the world and the way we act in it has changed. My kids (and they are not unique) are somewhat wigged out when we visit their grandparents who do not own DVRs. The younger one, in particular, does not quite get why Grandma can’t just pause the TV or call up the shows she want to watch when she wants to watch them.
And so they didn’t quite get why Costner didn’t just call his wife on his cell phone to tell her where he was. Or at the very least just text her. The microfilm scene was also a complete mystery: their world is neatly indexed, PDF’d and fully searchable online.
Children today are completely immersed in a world full of easy access to advanced technology. But does it impede their critical thinking skills? What would happen if a kid today had to do a term paper or report without accessing the Internet? Could they do the research? Could they conceive of a world without all this technology?
Remember, these kids will be entering the workforce someday soon–and the ad industry. Will they have the critical thinking skills, or the patience, to do research and complex assignments? Will it even matter?