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The Saratoga Falcon

The Saratoga Falcon

Digitalized world to become more harmful for future generations

At 17, I shouldn’t feel very old. In fact, relative to the rest of the world, I’m pretty young. But I’ve recently realized that this year, most freshmen were born in 2000; most weren’t part of the 20th century. Coming to this realization suddenly makes me feel ancient.

In my age, elementary school fads included lunchables, smelly erasers that came in various colors, silly putty and Heelys, shoes with wheels.

Nowadays, kids are leaving dolls and blocks to sit in the dust while they happily download the newest app or game. With so many things becoming digitalized, the generation gap has never been more prominent. Fifteen years ago, the iPhone did not exist, tablets had not been fully developed, and flip phones were just getting popular.

And this, my friends, can actually be dangerous (some say, more dangerous than using Heelys blindfolded). ABC News reports that relying only on digital media to entertain toddlers can displace other key skills like eyesight, fine motor skills and pencil grip.  

The generation gap usually refers to the huge technology gap between the Baby Boomers, born in the 1940s to the 1960s, and the millennials, born in the 1980s and beyond. This gap is getting ever bigger, and it can no longer differentiate between rotary phones and iPhones. Even just a difference of five years is a huge culture change.

Advertisers now directly market to young children who see the colorful touch screen devices on television and beg their parents to get them one. In one ad, a woman is shown switching her phone to “kids mode” and then giving her phone to her young son. Apparently, kids need to play on their parents’ phone for entertainment because there is nothing else amusing for them to do.

Children are no longer begging their parents to purchase the newest book or doll or action figure; instead, they ask for an iPad on which to play games. It seems as if the words “download,” “charger” and “app” have become words in every 3-year-old’s vocabulary.

The increased concentration on videogames and computer screens is a sign of hyperactivity, a characteristic of ADHD. Dr. Christopher Lucas, associate professor of child psychiatry at

New York University School of Medicine, told TIME magazine, “The kind of concentration that children bring to videogames and television is not the kind they need to thrive in school or elsewhere in real life.” 

There isn’t a clear way to solve this problem because, in our society, it’s almost entirely necessary to be connected to the Internet to succeed. It is all up to parents to expose children to electronics at the right age. There is no need for a toddler to be learning to read an eBook. In fact, I would argue that the feeling of turning pages and touching the pictures on the book is much more satisfying than pressing a button to continue. 

A study done by the National Center for Biotechnology Information concluded that the light from electronic devices can harm humans. The study said concentrations of melatonin, a hormone that regulates our sleep and wake cycles, were reduced after constant exposure to computer screens. This switch to a technology-focused world might actually be introducing new behavioral and mental problems for the future generations.

Whether we millennials like it or not, our world will become more and more advanced and the younger kids will grow more and more away from what we used to know. In five years, the world will probably be radically different, both technologically and physically, and all we can do is keep up with the new developments.

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