There’s been a recent flood of devices designed to protect our immature youth. As they get driver’s licenses, we want to ensure they survive. As the hormones of sexuality begin to percolate, we want to manage the urge to procreate.
These devices let you set limits on the speed of the car, range and distance of travel. They include GPS positioning to pinpoint the hormone infused youth’s location.
All worthy goals in protecting kids as they navigate the path to becoming adults.
Yet, I wonder if this absolute control over them will have the opposite effect? Instead of a chance to earn trust through acting in a mature manner, we remove the opportunity.
We impose our well-intentioned but, I fear, harmful control trying to protect them. We rob them of the chance to learn from the consequences of bad decisions.
Instead of learning, they become unaccustomed to risk and complacent. Sheep contained in an electronic pen. Protected from wolves but unable to wander the fields of the world.
Some of my best learning experiences came from making bad decisions.
Some of man’s greatest accomplishments arose from a pile of failure.
Our desire to protect them from every possible threat denies them the opportunity to learn for themselves.
It is like encasing your child in full body armor while they learn to walk. Falling is part of the process.
Preventing inexperienced drivers from speeding is a worthy goal. How does that change once they gain experience? Is there any need for cars to travel faster than the highest speed limit? The use of technology to allow them to gain experience does nothing to teach them responsibility.
Learning to deal with the emotional and physical attraction to others is not something you can manage with an App.
As I was growing up, some of the best moments of my life happened when I was with friends at places my parents didn’t know about. It may not be the best argument, but it is the truth.
Perhaps all we need is the original app developed centuries ago. The power of communication. Take our fingers off Tweets and Email and TALK. This app requires no updates.
As I hit those teenage years, I knew what my boundaries were. I knew there would be consequences if I strayed across them. I didn’t realize it at the time, but I took measured risks in crossing those.
I learned from those moments. It is the memories of those times that still bring a smile to my face. Was there a risk? Yes, of course. Yet I would argue that it added to what made me the person I came to be.
By eliminating all risk, we raise a generation unprepared for the real world. They’ll expect life to have a reset button.
If we are so concerned with protecting our youth, focus on teaching them decisions have consequences. All we’re doing with technology is putting electronic prisons around them. Taking away learning opportunities in exchange for a false peace of mind.
I have always embraced technology. I am so glad this stuff wasn’t around when I was 16. We didn’t need it. Just the thought of getting caught, and facing my mother, was enough to keep me contained.
It may not have been 100% effective, but nothing ever is. No matter how much we may want it to be so.