10 Years Old.

10 Years Old.

That is the age your average child will have a smartphone with full Internet access.I want to be surprised, I really do.

I want to be surprised, I really do.

Child on tablet.
Photo by Ian Hooton.

Jay Donavon from TechCrunch got his hands on an advanced document from Influence Central’s report “Kids & Tech: The Evolution of Today’s Digital Natives” which is a subsection of a larger study, but it shows just how often and young children have access technology and the internet. One statistic showed that the average age of a child receiving their first smartphone is now only 10 years old.

 

 

 

Some other statistics from the article includes:

• 64% of children have full access to the Internet from their own devices.
• 39% of children have a social media account by 11 years old.

Why are these statistics so high? Why do they keep rising?

Image by Dustin Higginbotham.

Families are getting busier and busier every year. In your average family, Dad and Mom work full time (if there are even two parents). After they work their 8-10 hour shift, they have other responsibilities: providing food, yard work, house chores, errands, and so much. The temptation to give a child a phone, tablet, or TV to keep them entertained or calmed down is greater than ever with a list of things that will never be finished.

Some parents admit to not limiting or advising on how that device is used, so imagine what happens to that kid in the future after 15 years of overexposure? It’s your reality. It’s gotten so bad already that there are classified internet disorders now. I didn’t have a smartphone until I was in college and was limited on gaming and TV growing up, but I have a major problem with relying on technology to keep myself entertained. Obviously, technology is not bad, but allowing ourselves to become reliant on it is not good. I got frantic and get upset when my Internet isn’t working at its full capability. I will sit for over 10 minutes staring at a blank screen trying to think of my next move to fix it.

I worry about my own future and what I will become. I am a designer and animator, and my computer screen is what my job surrounds for nearly the entire day. So after looking at flashing lights all day, I like to enjoy my hobbies: gaming, recording music, personal design projects, winding down to a movie, animating, and so forth, but they all surround a screen. At college, it’s easy to stay occupied, because you have friends that are everywhere, but not alwa2-3_dustin_dotsys at home. The job that I accepted after college is a place where I don’t know anyone, so the go to for socializing will be online. My life will consist of a looking at a screen. A big freaking screen of red, green, and blue dots.

That only includes my computer, you can’t forget about my smartphone and tablet usage, in which I use to communicate, look at memes, take pictures, and play games on. I have wanted to give up digital media to keep myself sane, but I don’t know what I could do without it or without designing. Is my life reliant on the Internet and a screen?

Go back to 10 years old. A child with a smartphone playing games, using social media, and surfing the web without supervision or limits. Hell, elementary and high schools are giving kids tablets and computers to use for schooling and learning. How is this next generation going to be interacting when we are already struggling as adults?

I don’t know a solution and I doubt there is one. We are just going through life with two realities. I’ve seen people who have lost all sense of the physical by only living in the digital. I don’t want to become that, but I feel like we all will in the future, like one big giant glob of mush.

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