“Back in my day, books were a handmade craft. This new printing press thing has taken the beauty away from one of a kind books, all thanks to that Gutenberg guy… Unacceptable.”
Does this sound familiar to you? It sure does to me.
Perhaps you’re not used to hearing it just like that, so let me try again: “Back in my day, I had to use encyclopaedias to complete simple assignments and dating did not rely on text messages, these young people have no clue of what hard work is like… Unacceptable”
Does it ring a bell now? I bet it does.
But it’s not the only format that this phrase comes in. I hear it on a regular basis, whether I’m looking down at my phone or using my tablet to read a free ebook, it’s not uncommon to receive criticism from older generations. And it frustrates me because technology is a big part of my daily life, and certainly will be in my future.
The trend of attacking the way in which generations evolve is not a very productive one. I say this because I am aware of all the drawbacks of the computer-based lifestyle: I live in the computer age after all. The pressure of social media is very present in my life as well as the opportunity of procrastinating and putting my privacy at risk. However, the criticism that I’ve received has never been accompanied by any advice on more efficient internet use.
There are so many upsides to the new and advancing technologies that completely overseeing these because of nostalgia for the good times seems a little foolish. The fact is, people in my generation will not stop using technological devices just because they get given an article that explains the negative effects of their overuse.
If you won’t stop teenagers from carrying their phone everywhere, help them find ways in which their habit will increase their productivity.
The fear of change is not exclusive to smartphones and computers. People tend to reject anything that is new. I can make a long lost of all the things that have been looked down on throughout history for being different, from the paintings of Vincent Van Gogh to women’s right to vote. We as humans are scared of the things that we aren’t familiar with, and we are quick to assume that these things are bad for us. It seems like we are forgetting that all things were at some point unfamiliar to us. If we lose our ability to explore novelty, I believe we may be putting our educations at risk. If we are too intimidated by technological advances we may not find the ways to make them work more efficiently for us, and this can have a big effect in the way we live our daily lives.
In the time spent tormenting others for frequently using their smartphones or for wasting all their time browsing through social media, we could be showing them ways in which these technologies can improve their lives.
You see, just like the people who spoke out against the printing press should have looked for ways in which to fight the disadvantages of Gutenberg’s project (whatever they may be…), we should make an effort to solve problems as we move into the future and not to look back into the past for solutions. We left the past behind for a reason.
And so I leave you with one final idea to take with you:
Don’t prevent the development of education by complaining about how something else is preventing education.