With the rapid pace at which technology is advancing these days, I tend to wonder — are we losing out on essential skills? Life has become a breeze for most of us with so many technological gadgets within our reach. If I think about my house alone, I have a microwave oven, a blender, a food processer, a laptop, TV, music system, washing machine and fridge. Most of these have become essentials. To the point where when I found out a friend of mine doens’t have a microwave, I asked her how she reheated her food! [Duh…stove top!]
Apart from what I have though, there are several more gadgets that people use and it’s some of these that make me wonder whether we are slowly losing skills. Take for instance, the Navmans or TomToms to help with the directions. I don’t own one. I use a street directory with actual maps instead. And while I admit that my map reading skills aren’t the best, they have definitely improved. Plus once I do take a new route, after the first or second time, I am able to recognise the way to get there. On the other hand, a dear friend of mine, N has had a TomTom now for a couple of years. And she is so reliant on it that she doesn’t actually focus on the landmarks etc to help her remember the route. To the point where she was in a relationship with a guy and even after 8 months, would punch his address into the TomTom everytime she visited his place!
The other loss of skill that concerns me is basic mathematical skills. Kids nowadays use calculators most of the time. To the point where mental arithmetic is a skill not honed by many. Maths was never really my strong point. But when it comes to dividing the bill after dinner with a group of friends, I’m the one they look to as I can be quicker than the calculator. And no, I’m not saying that I have great mathematical skills…all I’m saying is that my basic addition, subtraction, multiplication and division skills have been honed enough throughout the years so as to not have to always depend on the calculator [I still need the calculator for large sums!!] I find myself wondering more so about kids these days. What with calculators and spell check, are they ever going to learn the basics? Possibly not if one of my psychology lecturers is to be believed. He used to be appalled by the atrocious spellings by postgrad students.
The rate at which we are going, kids are probably also going to lose gross motor skills [thanks to spending more time pressing buttons than kicking or catching a ball], handwriting skills [with all that typing, who needs to write!], speech and social skills [with all the texting and facebooking and twittering, who needs to speak face to face] and finally, thinking and reasoning skills [thanks to all the googling and getting your answers and mindnumbing reality TV].
Technology is great with so many things available so quickly at the touch of a button. But at the same time, are we depleting parts of our brains that used to do things technology now does for us?
After all, if you don’t use it, you lose it!
Until next time,