Elec­tronic gad­gets have changed the rules in adult/child com­mu­ni­ca­tion

North Penn Life - - Opinion -

For cen­turies, chil­dren were good lis­ten­ers. Some­times the kids were bored and had no in­ter­est in what par­ents, aunts, un­cles and grand­par­ents had to say.

The speeches about the past may have been told over and over, but the kids were al­ways cour­te­ous as they lis­tened to ev­ery word that they had heard many times be­fore as they grew from in­fancy to young adult­hood.

In­ter­est­ingly, chil­dren don’t have tremen­dous in­ter­est in the his­tory of how bad it was grow­ing up for their older fam­ily mem­bers.

For some in­ex­pli­ca­ble rea­son, as adults talk about their hard times as chil­dren, the kids of to­day are anx­ious to move on to sub­jects that ap­ply to them. The past is past!

hids of to­day are dif­fer­ent in two ways from the child­hoods of their older fam­ily mem­bers. In our mod­ern times, kids do not en­joy be­ing told how good they have life in Amer­ica.

Also, the kids en­joy a su­pe­ri­or­ity be­cause they know more than their par­ents and grand­par­ents when it comes to their thumbs and fin­gers.

The kids are faster than the adults and eas­ily self- en­ter­tained with their elec­tronic de­vices as they press but­tons on the tiny elec­tronic gad­gets with those tiny thumbs and fin­gers.

Par­ents, for the first time, don’t have to shout at the kids to stop fight­ing with each other. In­stead of fight­ing be­tween brothers and sis­ters, the kids are self- en­ter­tained. They ride in the back seat of the car press­ing their hand- held gad­gets as they look at videos, mak­ing a quiet, pleas­ant ride for their par­ents. Their par­ents en­joy the ride as long as they don’t in­ter­rupt the tiny oc­cu­pants in the back of the car.

Many adults don’t en­joy a tiny child ex­plain­ing elec­tronic gad­gets to peo­ple twice their size and 10 times their age. It is im­por­tant that adults do not show a lack of in­ter­est when the chil­dren or grand­chil­dren de­cide to demon­strate their elec­tronic knowl­edge.

It is not sur­pris­ing that many chil­dren seem turned off by adults. This all started years ago with the “new math.” The chil­dren had to un­der­stand it but the adults were over­whelmed. This trig­gered the gap be­tween adults and kids that ex­ists to­day.

In the be­gin­ning, adults walked with their arms at their sides. then the new math was born, the adults sim­ply raised their hands in frus­tra­tion demon­strat­ing that they didn’t un­der­stand the kids and could never learn their math. Adults wanted no part of the math prob­lem.

Now, once again, many adults are mak­ing the same re­sponses as oc­curred with the com­pli­cated new math.

Adults have a new area in which they are lost. The elec­tronic de­vices are be­yond them and they have lit­tle in­cen­tive to learn about the chil­dren’s elec­tronic abil­i­ties. The adults are too in­volved in their own prob­lems.

Adults should make ev­ery ef­fort to show their chil­dren that they ac­knowl­edge the su­per abil­i­ties of the kids.

It is true that in­ter­ac­tion be­tween adults and kids has less­ened be­cause of the elec­tronic gad­gets.

There is a greater sep­a­ra­tion be­tween the gen­er­a­tions than in the past. And the kids would rather do their own thing than talk to adults about life’s hard­ships in “the good ole days.”

If adults laugh or show lack of ap­pre­ci­a­tion for the elec­tronic wiz­ardry of chil­dren they might fur­ther widen the schism be­tween the young and adults.

te must never let the kids feel that they are just young peo­ple far dis­tant from the adult world.

Health & Sci­ence Dr. Mil­ton Fried­man

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