IS ZERO PATIENCE THE NEW THRESHOLD FOR CHILDREN?
I was watching my nephew play Minecraft last weekend. In case you have been living in a cave, Minecraft is a blocky video game that is all the craze with young children.
He was interrupted by his mother to open a small gift. It was maze cube where the object is to tilt the cube back and forth to guide a metal ball through the maze to release a latch. Inside the cube is money.
He picked up the cube, tried the maze for all of 5 seconds, tossed it aside and went back to banging on the keyboard.
This demonstration of impatient behavior made me wonder. Is technology, in all it’s immediate gratification glory, training us and our children to no longer have patience with anything more than to blow up, get captured or win a level?
There are plenty of much more qualified experts than me to ponder and study this question. However, intuitively, I feel there is a shift happening.
We’ve all heard about Millennials needing immediate feedback, preferably pats on the back (equivalent to “likes”) from their bosses. (Is there a correlation here that in many games, the ultimate opponent on each level is called “The Boss”?) While they impatiently await promotions and other perks on the job, which is greatly in vogue following Google’s model, they lack the patience to even memorize a phone number.
When was the last time you actually memorized a phone number? I know it’s been many years for me. I don’t even know my own daughter’s.
I know you are thinking we don’t need to, anymore, but I shudder to consider losing my phone during an earthquake and having no way to contact her. Of course, that is until the stores re-open and I can download my contacts into my new phone from the mysterious cloud.
Are we hurtling towards a future video game-suckled generation that will treat their lives like a series of quick hurdles? Will they lack the ability to settle in for the long haul to tackle the big issues? You might want to read another blog of mine called “Why do I have to learn Algebra???” as you consider this issue.
Whether these questions concern you or not, it does serve as a reminder to introduce other activities other than technology-based into our children’s lives. Activities that may challenge them in the real-world without quick and easy solutions.
These may be different for different families ranging from reading to outdoor exercise. The key is balance.
Technology is not going away and, undeniably, has improved our lives. Yet the maxim applies here: be aware of too much of a good thing.