Byte Me Article 217 – Has technology just gone too far?

Has Technology Just Gone Too Far?

The week before last I skipped an article for various reasons so I will attempt to make up for that with a topic this week which effects all of us – when are the latest trends in technology too much?  I refer to the number of mind numbing gadgets and Internet sites which seem to preclude many of us from having what was previously termed ‘a normal life’.

Last week I waited at a red light in the Rockhampton East Street Mall beside a nice looking Landcruiser with a forty something year old father with his roughly 15 year old son in the front passenger seat.  It was school holidays, the mall was busy and during the entire cycle of the lights the son didn’t take his eye off the tablet sized screen that had bonded with his attention stronger that any glue known to mankind.

Again, just today (Wednesday) I find myself driving in the centre of Rockhampton again and luckily paying attention as the pedestrian that boldly stepped out in front of me wasn’t.  He was early twenties and totally transfixed on some smart phone that obviously demanded his attention more than my 2 tonne Hilux!  But this is now common place and how can you slow or meter how much time is spent on these devices – even by your own kids?

2015-04-23 Byte Me Article 217 - Technology Safeguards

Even though I make a living from the IT industry it is the younger generation that has me concerned.  Given the rapid IT developments of the last 5 years, where are things going to be in another 5 years’ time?  Will teachers know if their students are paying attention or looking interested because they are browsing the Internet using a semi-transparent screen build into high tech contact lenses?  The ability to do this is just around the IT corner – literally.

Apple has released its latest Internet enable watch and is already gearing up its production facilities as demand is outstripping their expected sales estimates – yet another Internet enabled device!  So, how much time does your child or grandchild spend online every day?  Unfortunately the young mind soaks up Internet time like a self-drying sponge.

There are already a lot of net nanny and monitoring programs available to parents to help protect their children from online predators and unsafe sites and I see that a new app called ‘Teensafe’ is about to launch in Australia.  With over 1 million users in the United States already it is an option which has divided many child safety groups.  Some are saying that it is a breach of trust and more likely to alienate a child from the parents – while others are saying it is a good security check.

I have seen the results of unmetered teenage Internet usage – especially in the games arena with males and it is not pretty.  Lots of Internet gaming has a de-motivational effect which combined with tiredness creates moodiness and an aggressive behaviour.  Girls aren’t as susceptible to online gaming but are far more likely to become victims of Internet bullying and negative peer group pressure.  So how is technology an advancement for our youth?

Parents, schools and government policy needs to play catch up to try and cope with all of these fast paced changes.  I see many parents at our shop with concerns as to how to mitigate the amount of time and the type of exposure that their children have with Internet access.  There are already many different software and hardware solutions that exist however most people are unaware of these – unless you are in the industry.

Next week we will look at some of these solutions, their cost and their effectiveness.  Until then, look out for smart phone wielding pedestrians and if you have ‘Internet enabled children’ at you place, maybe find a good excuse to have the Internet not work for a while! 

Kerr Solutions can be found at their new shop at 205 Musgrave St and is available on 49 222 400.

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