I remember growing up and wanting a cellphone. My parents were opposed to the idea, clinging to their utilitarian approach of having a reason for having a phone in the first place. Phones were for emergencies only, not for playing games and staying in touch with friends. My sister got her phone when she started driving when she was sixteen; likewise, I received my first phone when I started working at thirteen. It wasn’t much long after that I began noticing that kids were getting phones, and other expensive pieces of technology, at much younger ages. Like most of my peers, and adults, at the time, I was opposed to such a practice, because I had been indoctrinated by the rhetoric of my parents.
But by now, I’ve changed my stance. I recognize that technological literacy, just like traditional literacy, is absolutely paramount in order for highly functional and competitive adults. Every day, technological advances are being made at ever increasing rates. It would be a great injustice to deprive our youth from becoming acquainted with the tools they will have to be familiar with in the future.
Language and tool use are two distinctive traits that distinguish humans from the rest of the animal kingdom. Innovation in both of these fields is evidence of our still on-going evolution. It is only fair to suspect that languages will change and die, and technology will become more and more complex. In regards to the latter, users of said technology must be instructed in using it at early ages in order to keep up with all of the skills one must possess in our modern age. For instance, there are now toys for toddlers that instruct them in the ways of writing code.
Technology is at the center of our everyday operations. From the machines people use in their workplaces; the video games and tablets we use to entertain ourselves, someone has to maintain those things; to the technological resources schools employ for instruction. To be ignorant of how to appropriately use the technology at our disposable is equivalent to being ignorant of how to balance a checkbook or change a tire. Technological literacy is important at every level, whether that be “high-technology” like computers, or even “low-technology” such as hammers and the like.
Growing up, there was a period of time when my family was without a computer. All of my friends became privy to how to use all sorts of programs, while I couldn’t even create simple documents. This period of technological ignorance has definitely led to ramifications later in my life. If such a gulf could be created with the technology of the early 2000’s, then imagine the irreparable damage done when kids these days are technologically illiterate, considering how quickly technology progresses presently.