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Parents, with currency like Snapchat, why haven't our kids cured cancer yet?

(Graphic by Keisuke Aiso/Adam Beta)

Clay Ratcliff on Mar 10, 2019 at 6:52 pm

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As part of our survival, an efficient, logic-based, cognitive ability invaded the gene pool of our chimp-like ancestors millions of years ago. With the ability to solve problems that inevitably led to more complex problem solving, our species began to thrive and utilize its new-found mental stratagem to claim apex dominance over all other fellow creatures. Now that humans have ruled the world and brought about the digital age, it's time for our up-and-coming generation to solve some of the world’s most perplexing problems - Do I go with the bitmoji, or just a decent selfie? Everyone seems to be going with the bitmoji, but my bitmoji makes me look like a fat, disheveled hipster.

I know it’s a cliché that every generation thinks the new generation is soft and weird but, come on, the gap seems to be trending wider and faster by the second and technology isn’t helping at all. I’ve taught technology related subjects in the public-school system. The current state of the public-school system is a bit of a trigger of mine, but I’ll try to put that aside for now – I always like to remind my students just how far we’ve come and try to put into context how fast. I talk about land line phones and fax machines. I talk about clunky computers and cellular technology the size of brief cases. I’m trying to elicit a certain kind of response, it’s a cake walk and they’re like putty in my hands.

“Personally, I think the idea of manipulating young kids via a network connected screen because their parents use it for babysitting is kind of funny. ”


Electronic Learning Device. (nationalpost.com)

(really high-pitched whiney voice) “Mr. Ratcliff, oh my God that’s so old and lame and Facebook is dumb, and nobody uses Facebook. Why would anyone ever have a cell phone that only made phone calls. What did ya’ll do without social media? Blah, blah, (incoherent, incoherent, modern jive talk… you get the picture)”


Now I’ve got them. They’re hooked, but I take the time to further bait them by reinforcing their biases.

“Oh, ya’ll don’t use Facebook?!” and “What? You wouldn’t use a giant, brief cased sized cell phone if YOU lived WAY back then?” and “YES, there were automobiles when I was a child!”

I lay it on thick before I drop the hammer. Very few people, IF anyone, had any idea technology would progress in the direction it did and effect all of our lives in the way that it has. In fact, I tell them, if you took a smartphone back in time just a few decades ago people would think you had acquired alien technology and you might then rule the world armed with your iPhone S. If you further tried to explain to the people of the past that, not only would nearly every person in every first world country have a smartphone in the future, but that you could watch TV on the device, they would think you insane. Now, at this point in my hypothetical discussion with my class, none of this surprises them too much. But it’s when I take the next leap that they really begin to reflect and get concerned.

“If you think the technology of a couple of decades ago is lame, just think how your kids are going to have something so much better than you can probably imagine right now and laugh at how lame your technology was. And, yes, children, they’re going to think your Snapchat was VERY lame.”

Not nessesarily a "Young Turks" fan but this is the only place I could find this quickly.

What I don’t think a lot of people realize about putting this abstract into context for students in this way, is that kids of today take this VERY personal. Their cellphones are quite literally an extension of their identity. It’s a very satisfying moment to me because I feel like for some of the kids it’s the first time they’re coming to terms with who they are in a more existential sense than they’ve ever been made to think.


In the future, robots must teach class cause no one else will.

It’s very interesting how they have a difficult time wondering, not only what strange technological inventions their future offspring will have, but also that, how could anyone possibly not think their smartphone and chosen socially interactive apps are not the coolest and most relevant?

There’s no mistaking who they got this from. Us. Granted our landmarks were different but, by and large, the same degree of caviler recklessness went into the incorporation of said, former technology. Did automobiles revolutionize our way of life? Of course, they did. Is there going to be a price to pay? Probably.

By the virtue of cause and effect, there really isn’t anything we can do that isn’t going to send a ripple out into the cosmos. So, don’t read me wrong. I don’t want to go back and stop Henry Ford. I just wish we human beings, ever evolving our thinking process as a whole, would, for once, collectively pump the brakes on what is clearly going to be unprecedented change and do so for the betterment of society progressing forward.


The rise of the internet gave way to so many wodnerful things!

Within just the last few years (or less) we have gone from “younger children’s cell phone time should be very restrictive” to “YouTube babies”. There’re even some parents concerned that a scary Japanese monster is popping up between ads and telling their children to poke their eyes out. Not cool, Japan… and monsters! (no evidence of “momo” has been substantiated) So, is there a price to pay? Probably. IF ONLY the price for giving our kids smartphones at birth was a small chance they’d actually meet Momo.

Personally, I think the idea of manipulating young kids via a network connected screen because their parents use it for babysitting is kind of funny. NOT if your trying to make a child hurt themselves or others. BUT…, you know, every once in a while convincing a kid to paint themselves with mayonnaise or flush a pillow down the toilet is kind of a humorous lesson for young parents trying to find their footing in the digital age. Survival of the fittest, you know? (Here’s an idea. No unsupervised, network connected devices until they’re old enough to understand not to take orders from the “magic screen”; and even then, only as currency when they have accomplished… anything you want them to! They’re born screen addicts in today's world! Shit, have those little bastards clean the house, mow the lawn and re-shingle the roof… if it means they’ll get their Snapchat back, they’ll do it, by God!)


And, we're doomed.

Clay Ratcliff on Mar 10, 2019 at 6:52 pm

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