Opinion / OP Rana

Tap, tap ... these gadgets are crazy!

By OP Rana (China Daily) Updated: 2015-01-16 08:13

The printed word - be it in the form of fables, parables or fairytales - by nature forces children to think, to use their imagery to sculpt a world. That could, for all we know, herald the beginning of creativity and innovation in a child. This luxury, alas, is no longer part of the growing-up process of children, more and more of whom are getting addicted to TV, smartphones and/or tablets.

Gadgets, from TV sets to tablets - given their audio-visual impact and the power they exercise over people, especially children - are modern-day oracles (not to be confused with Oracle the IT company). These gadgets and contraptions have come to rule the fate of an increasing number of people by allowing so-called experts to provide wise counsel and prophetic predictions on TV and online. The status of such gadgets among people today is one of divinity. These gadgets are not to be ignored, let alone forgotten, under any circumstance.

That such gadgets have become giants, metaphorically speaking, means our children can only grow up into midgets. A child today in most cases needs to consult a gadget, and through it the vast ocean of information on the Internet, to not only try something innovative but also something routine, mundane, such as using a dynamo motor to light a bulb.

The power of inference is almost lost. Why should a child wrack its brain when it can exclaim "bingo" with the right answer thanks to the Internet? What has the power of deduction got to do with a child's mind when it can surprise you with a click on a tablet?

But if the present state of affairs continues, where will the people who needed to advance the state of these computers, smartphones and gadgets come from? The added problem is that we cannot say for sure that inquisitive and creative 11-year-olds will live happily ever after in the weird and wired world that we have built and are so proud of.

The author is a senior editor with China Daily.

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