What happens when our heads get too full of stuff. When our kids grow up cramming in so much data into their brains that they burn out by their teens.
Emotional intelligence is guided by how much experience someone has consumed, and if they consume too much too early, and if their brain is already thinking in a certain way, it can surely lead to problems.
Because children are learning in so many forms both physical and mental from so many sources there is an inevitability that too much too young will overtake their natural capacity.
Exams are written by academics who can’t keep up with the advanced knowledge every kid has access to. Whether they choose to access that knowledge is another matter – with some choosing to game their way through life, and the divide of information and knowledge becomes wider.
Neglect learning and you’ll get left behind faster than ever before.
I was not academic but I was hungry for learning. There may have been some connection between not seeing correctly until I was ten – I needed glasses but didn’t know it, so I would sit as close to the blackboard and the TV as possible. My eyes weren’t too bad, but bad enough that I might have missed some important early learning experiences. I drew and drew so it probably seemed like ‘that was my thing’ – but given the access to a thing called the internet when I was 5 would have changed my perception of the world and kicked off a higher level of learning which I’m sure I would be bored of by the time I was 44.
Retreating from the information boom and the smart everything home has been something I’ve been thinking about since 2009, just before the iPad increased distraction and reasons to not talk. I write this in an iPhone and it’s always there – never really leaving my side. My countless notes on Evernote, my productivity apps, my access to any information I need at the hit of a pixel. It’s become weirdly intuitive to type on a tiny keyboard and predictive text makes it soooo easy to get stiff down fast. Even if it’s not the right words.
Where next for the kids?
The choice to walk away from technology is there for everyone but there is a fear among people that they may be left behind. I think this is an interesting point. Charlie Brooker nailed this fear in the 2016 episode of Black Mirror, where people are rated by how many likes they get… for no reason. The system he created can cast you out of society for wearing the wrong shoes or get you into a party if your numbers are right.
Take a family who chooses life instead of tech chains. They will be so much more fulfilled naturally than a family who stays led by the tech cloud, but the division between the lives that they recognise will become a chasm, never to be bridged and sadly the world will always be run by the tech heads going forward. They have the power.
So maybe it’s about balance. Taking enough knowledge through technology but not too much, with responsible breaks becoming the norm. It’s happening in the mainstream already – mindfulness was the word of 2016 and every day more people will be discovering how to access the inner them through whatever means they can find. While tech grows big, anti-tech will follow in its shadow.
Meditation app anyone?