So the saying used to go, “Time is more valuable than money,” but in today’s global marketplace information is the commodity of the moment and the acquisition, management and distribution of information is driving mega-billions of dollars through the world economy. A lot of that information (for us as consumers and for our kids) is visual.
How are we preparing our kids to consume and use this information wisely?
When I was in middle school the big issues were getting caught skipping school or smoking cigarettes behind the gym. It’s not uncommon to hear about a kid today shooting a half-naked (or worse!) photo of themselves and having it distributed across the WWW. I think what we’re witnessing is a generation of kids who have had unlimitted access to technology without any real instruction or education about its power or reach.
Nikos Theodosakis talks about “visual grammar” and “visual vocabulary” skills, and I love that because it illustrates what kids are learning may in fact not be what they really need to navigate the very technical new world they live in. Anyone who has worked (or played) extensively with any kind of technology knows that there’s a learning curve. Mistakes are going to be made. I get that and I’m okay with kids feeling out this new technological space and making a few mistakes. I just don’t think they should have to pay for it with their lives (as in suicide driven by cyber-bullying) or with their reputations (as in naked pictures forever posted for the world to see.)
There are a lot of dangers in this brave new world. There are a lot of possibilities. The question is how will our children discern which is which?