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Does the net fuel desire for instant gratification?

4 years ago

Wendy McAuliffe writer
Wendy McAuliffe Mummy blogger & PR specialist Bournemouth, UK

We’ve always encouraged our daughter to have an inquisitive, questioning mind… but I am beginning to worry that such easy access to the internet and social media is encouraging my daughter to seek instant gratification of information via technology, at the expense of thinking for herself.

A 2012 study into young people and their hyperconnected lives by the Pew Internet and American Life Project predicted that this generation ‘will exhibit a thirst for instant gratification and quick fixes, a loss of patience, and a lack of deep-thinking ability’ due to something called ‘fast-twitch wiring’.

Recently we visited the peculiar shaped Agglestone Rock near Studland with a friend of mine who is a geologist. My daughter was fascinated, brimming with theories of her own.

Needless to say the minute we arrived home she seized my tablet, opened up the Google Earth app and asked me to help her search for Agglestone Rock. This is what she does now, when she wants to learn about something new. We even have Google TV and she is constantly asking to search for videos on YouTube of foxes or ballet, or whatever she is currently into.

Is there something to be said for the good ole days of visiting a library, digging out a book on rocks and browsing through pages of images and information? Crucially, would she be applying her brain to a deeper level of discovery? While we’re trying to fill our daughter with all the information and answers that she craves, is our technology-led approach rewiring her brain in such a way that she won’t have the patience or inclination to think for herself anymore?

What do you think? Is there a nobility and value in encouraging children to find stuff out ‘the hard way’ or is instant gratification a worthwhile by-product of progress?

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Experience 4 years ago

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