Clip thinking, lack of focus, addiction to visuals… When it comes to processing information, our children are quite a different breed. However, different does not necessarily mean inferior. Let’s see how technology has changed the way kids perceive information, and why they have to develop their critical thinking skills.
Rapid technology advancement means that our kids are being raised in a world very different from ours. We’ve adopted the technology once we became adults, yet our kids are born into it, and their personalities are formed, in no small part, via gadget interactions.
Their brains are continuously bombarded by tiny pieces of incredibly exciting content, and it’s near impossible to resist checking it out. To the point when meaningful, lengthy content is no longer competitive. Nothing that requires being focused for over half an hour even enters their information stream. This phenomenon is called clip thinking.
Modern kids experience difficulties in building logical connections. Even more difficult for them is to find creative solutions, as the answer to any question can be discovered within a few taps. Children don’t need to analyze and memorize facts, so the information doesn’t remain in their thoughts and is quickly replaced by another portion of fresh content. This effect can be compared to viewing stories on Instagram.
And developers respond to the needs of their users, delivering content that’s increasingly digestible. A minimum of text, short interactions, colorful images, an essence of emotions and information – this is what popular content looks like today.
What’s the problem
Alpha generation has a different mindset. And it’s ok – they gotta cope somehow. But there is also a downside:
- Poor memory and imagination
- Troubles with concentration
- Lack of interest in learning
- Inability to think critically
According to Laura Schad, a teacher from Philadelphia, the average kid has an attention span of about 28 seconds. Then they get bored. This case is relevant for literature classes in particular.
“Students, now, seem to find it particularly exhausting to read complex or long text without regular breaks. In the past, students seemed to be accustomed to attending to a text for a longer period of time. You see their lack of stamina in them asking for breaks, talking to others instead of working, and even some just giving up on longer reading tasks,” says Erica Swift, a sixth-grade teacher from California.
The text is being replaced with images, infographics, and videos. As a result, the child’s brain receives information but doesn’t analyze or structure it. We Millennials are lucky to some degree. We grew up in the pre-digital era. Although our brain is vulnerable to the influence of clip tendencies, we’ve received a kind of vaccination in our childhood. Millennials have a good memory and analytical skills. But, most importantly, we can think critically.
Why critical thinking matters
One second is the average time a person takes to make a decision about content. That’s why it’s so important to be able to think critically. Remember, we live in an era of fake news. The ability to distinguish facts from fiction is extremely important for both individuals and society. Otherwise, we risk becoming very similar to Orwell’s characters. Keep in mind the rule of three sources. If you want to find out the answer, study the information in at least three independent sources.
In the age of global robotization, the chance that your child will face difficulties in looking for a job is enormous. Alpha kids will have to be learning and updating their knowledge during their whole life. Otherwise, they will be thrown on the sidelines of social life. The ability to analyze information and find creative solutions will definitely come in handy for them.
Critical thinking is already worth its weight in gold. Take an example. Most software engineers can code well enough. But not all of them have managed to succeed in technology like Mark Zuckerberg. He thrived because he takes time to see the bigger picture.
What’s the way out
It must be noted that children don’t need any special protection from gadgets. On the contrary, technology can and should be used for educational purposes. Look, teachers are already making videos and presentations to use as illustrations in class. To increase interest in learning, they launch quizzes, polls, and contests on social networks.
Children want you to speak a language that they understand. Kids are eager to study when the learning material is presented in a proper way. Nicola Read2Play app is just this case. Classic subjects and educational techniques that your kid will definitely fall in love with. Reading, math, quiz and more for free here.
It makes no sense to fight with technology. Better try to transfer personal experience and knowledge to your children — explain the importance of critical thinking and show them that learning can be exciting.