Is anyone else as worried about our children and technology as I am? This has been on my heart lately and I am hungry for conversation. I am not interested in arguing—this isn't about folks who do technology vs. the folks who don’t, and it’s not about Waldorf vs. non-Waldorf schools. Instead, I crave real, honest conversation about how our children are being swept up in a virtual world. We are all impacted by technology unless we are living in a cave.
I want to talk about what I see: children choosing to sit for hours in front of an iPad over going outside. Babies in the grocery store with movies playing. Parents at restaurants with their children completely glued to a screen. Bright, creative children choosing a virtual world over a real world.
What are we doing, folks?
“But this is the world they are growing up in,” I hear from others. “Our parents didn't like what we were doing when we were kids, either.”
I am not suggesting that it is all bad. I want my children to know what is happening in the world and to feel connected, but at what cost ? At what loss? What about connection to themselves? If we are always looking outside to be distracted and busy, then what will the future hold other than medicated grown-ups who can't be with themselves?
I know there are people whose children are not affected and for whom this is a non-issue. Please, share with us how you navigate this and how you make it work! Everywhere I look I see parents struggling with technology. I see all of us fighting over screen time. I see us wishing our 12-year-olds could self-regulate when we ourselves can't. We are all plugged in. Of course we are, the role models—we parents on our phones, slipping out of presence over and over again. No judgment here—simply what I see around me and within me.
I am just so confused. I know there is so much greatness with technology. I am not looking to live in a cabin without access ... well, sometimes I am...
In the movie The Matrix there is that image in the beginning of the movie with the babies charging the computers. And now I gasp. It is happening. We are living in that Matrix.
Morpheus says to Neo: “What is the Matrix? Control. The Matrix is a computer-generated world built to keep us under control in order to change a human being into—” and he holds up a battery.*
I don't want to live there.
I don't want my kids to live there.
Can we talk about this???
Can we stop looking down and talk to each other? Can we have thoughtful conversations on the future for our children?
The environment, politics, war, hunger … the distractions of a virtual world keep us slaves to a system that does not love us, that does not care about us.
What are the ethics and values we want in our lives and in our families?
*Quote from The Matrix courtesy Warner Bros. All rights reserved.