Danah Boyd: Technology Natives?

Have you ever been at a gathering with your family or friends and looked around to realize how many kids are sitting and looking at their phones instead of talking face to face? That’s because technology has stolen the interests of kids all around the world. When I was growing up technology wasn’t too popular. By the time I was in middle school, that’s when everyone started getting their own cell phones. However, now kids are starting to get their own phones, iPods, tablets, etc at a much younger age. Back home I coached gymnastics to kids between the ages of 5 and 12. Most of the 5 and 6 year olds in my classes  already had their own smart phones and knew how to use them very well. They would show me their apps and games and even some forms of social media.

Danah Boyd, in her chapter “Literacy”, claims that many people think of children to be “technology natives” since they grow up using all forms technology. However she says that this may not be completely true because they are not fully aware of the potential educational value of the technology they are using. I agree with this statement. I have personally met so many little kids that are constantly on technology playing games and socializing with their internet friends. However, this is all kids use technology for. It is not often that a child is using their cell phone or iPad to research a homework topic or watch an educational documentary. Kids may not even know about all of the different features on their devices. Technology, for kids, is used purely for entertainment. It is an addicting activity that takes up time and is fun for them. Also, kids do not understand or feel the need to learn about the technology behind the device. Most children do not know how a cell phone is made or the bills and payments that allow the phones to actually work. To them a cell phone is just some really cool toy that their parents bought for them.

Clive Thompson had said that technology improves your reading and writing skills and can be beneficial to you. Meanwhile, Nicholas Carr claims that it messes with your brain and makes you loose your ability to focus. I believe that technology is full of reading and writing so it can have an educational value. However, I think that the amount of time kids spend on technology can also take away from other key social skills that need to be learned. I think that technology takes up a little too much of children’s lives. Like Danah Boyd had said, technology should be used for more of an educational purpose and less of a pass-time activity.

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