Given the trend towards toxic childhood, it should come as no surprise that young children are being increasingly exposed to technologies such as iPads as part of very early socialisation, and it should be no more surprising that such exposure is having an effect on children’s behaviour.
Some small children have been spotted by teachers trying to turn book pages by ‘swiping left’, according to teachers from the National Education Union, while paediatric occupational therapist Sally Payne blames technology for the fact that some small children are starting school never having learnt to hold a pencil.
Whether such technology led socialisation practices end up being detrimental to those children who are exposed to them remains to be seen, but what’s interesting is that so many of the techno-elite are taking steps to limit their own children’s exposure to such technologies. Below are just a few examples:
- Bill and Melinda Gate’s limit their children’s use of technology: their children don’t have smart phones and only use a computer in the kitchen.
- Steve Jobs strictly limited his children’s use of technology at home. He also made sure he had a sit down dinner with his kids every evening, discussing books and various things.
- Even Mark Zukerberg wants his daughters to read Dr Suess and play outside rather than use Messenger.
- At a more ‘social level’, the most sought after private school in Silicon Valley is the Waldorf School of the Peninsula, which bans electronic devices for the under 11s and teaches children to make go-carts, knit and cook.
So what’s going on here?
It seems that our technological elites have an intuitive feeling that the products they have created are maybe harmful for children, in the sense that they are addictive, and so take active steps to limit their own children’s use of such products.
At the same time, however, they are more than happy to take the billions of dollars they’ve made from these products and run companies which actively seek to addict more and more people, including children, to the precise same products they want to protect their own children from.
This kind of hypocrisy really speaks volumes about neoliberal silicon valley culture: such a morality is surely only possible in a hyper-individualised culture? A culture which allows people to innovate and take absolutely no responsibility for the social cost, as long as they’ve got enough time and money to protect their own nearest and dearest from the negative consequences of their bread and butter.
The Week Issue 1170
Pic Source – http://waldorfpeninsula.org/