Kids, COVID-19, Technology and the Future

You may wonder about my heading – Kids, COVID-19, Technology and the Future! We will never forget 2020 as the year of the pandemic, and this is the year that will change our lives forever. Why? I believe it is the year that we all really saw the huge benefits of technology, not just for playing games and endless social media. It is the year we began to see the true potential of technology.

Kids, COVID-19, Technology and the Future

My belief is that technology is hugely under utilised by today’s young people. There are exemptions of course, but for the most part young people have in their hands the most powerful devices ever created. What do they do with these devices? Typically social media, texting, playing games, music and You Tube.

What have we learnt from COVID-19?

COVID-19 has taught us – the whole world – that major disruptions to our lives can happen on a global scale, in an instant. It has shaken our lives to the very core, and created an enormous amount of fear and uncertainty. Fear for our health, our jobs and finances, and uncertainty about how and when the world will recover. There is no doubt the world will be different. We will be different! My hope is that we learn from this experience, and change the way we live, work and play.

I have been amazed at how quickly businesses have adapted to the changing conditions. Alcohol and perfume distilleries have started producing hand sanitisers, mine engineers are producing portable ventilators, new technologies now track people’s temperatures in crowded situations, and so the list goes on. They say that wars bring on the most technological developments, and I guess we are fighting a war – the Corona Virus.

What will the future look like?

It is technology that is at the forefront of the battle we face at the moment. Suddenly millions of people are now working from home, and all the challenges that it represents. Students are being home-schooled by parents who are not ready to take on this challenge, and schools that are struggling to upload curriculum and teach online. Most teachers are not tech savvy, particularly in the online world. Schools and education systems do not have the resources to cope with large scale online curriculum deployment.

Are our kids ready for this new future?

Are our kids ready for the changes? Are they tech savvy? My answer would be no, they are not ready. Kids today are certainly very familiar with the technology as far as sending messages, playing games, watching videos etc. But they could not put together a polished online presentation, use modelling software to complete maths projects, use video editing and animation software to illustrate their learning and so on. In other words, kids of today are consumers of technology, not creators. While kids are spending more time than ever in front of technology, it is dumbing them down, not making them more creative. Imagine what could happen if the 5 hours per day kids spend in front of devices was spent creating content, rather than passively consuming content. I believe it would ignite a spark of passion for learning that so many young people have lost.

Technology, our kids and the future

We have learnt from this pandemic that technology has an enormous part to play in our future, and that of our kids. The new future will need people with vision and creativity. Schools will need to change the haphazard way they are using technology with kids. We need our kids to complete school or University using technology as a tool for creation. We need them to be independent and creative thinkers and problem solvers. This type of change takes time, but I believe the first step is awareness. We are now starting to become aware of the issues we face, and the steps necessary to achieve our goals. That is a huge step. As parents, we need to be fully aware of what the children are doing with the technology they have, and guide them to being more creative. We need to learn with them, and recognise the technology as a tool, not just a recreational device. My hope is that from this devastating pandemic comes good. We will as a nation and a world mourn those who have lost their lives through this disease. But hopefully we will also honor them by learning from this terrible experience and make the world a better place. A world that is compassionate, resourceful, innovative and creative. A world without COVID-19, where technology is naturally embedded and our kids are thinkers and doers. I know that is the type of world I want my kids and grandchildren to grow up in. What do you want for your children?