Life

Are we losing our skills?

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,

Cheers!!!

You Might Also Like

No Comments

  • Reply
    Raindrop
    December 22, 2011 at 4:53 am

    As a teen, I could remember all the phone numbers of my friends and relatives. Now, with everything stored in the phone, who needs to remember?
    I was the Spelling bee queen in school. But now with the constant use of Spell check and auto-correct, I don’t bother with spellings at all, and I have noted that I cannot remember simple spellings!
    And do you know, a school in Mumbai is recommending the use of Ipad 2. for second standard children to improve their skills. At an age when they haven’t even learned to write properly?

  • Reply
    Raindrop
    December 22, 2011 at 4:53 am

    As a teen, I could remember all the phone numbers of my friends and relatives. Now, with everything stored in the phone, who needs to remember?
    I was the Spelling bee queen in school. But now with the constant use of Spell check and auto-correct, I don’t bother with spellings at all, and I have noted that I cannot remember simple spellings!
    And do you know, a school in Mumbai is recommending the use of Ipad 2. for second standard children to improve their skills. At an age when they haven’t even learned to write properly?

  • Reply
    Psych Babbler
    December 22, 2011 at 5:28 am

    Oh phone numbers…how could I forget that?! I agree…I still remember my friends’ phone numbers in India but here, I just remember the numbers of a couple of people. As you said, since everything is stored in the phone, we don’t bother to remember. You’re kidding…IPad at age 7? What skills do they want to improve exactly!? Sigh…Raindrop, I do believe we are all slowly and steadily going to lose most skills and resort to pushing a button or typing our questions…

  • Reply
    Psych Babbler
    December 22, 2011 at 5:28 am

    Oh phone numbers…how could I forget that?! I agree…I still remember my friends’ phone numbers in India but here, I just remember the numbers of a couple of people. As you said, since everything is stored in the phone, we don’t bother to remember. You’re kidding…IPad at age 7? What skills do they want to improve exactly!? Sigh…Raindrop, I do believe we are all slowly and steadily going to lose most skills and resort to pushing a button or typing our questions…

  • Reply
    Lifesorchestra
    December 22, 2011 at 8:43 am

    reminds me of an incident at a doctor’s clinic …. the lady at the front desk asked my cell number, office number etc and I told her directly. She was quite surprised and impressed that I had actually memorized them and did not looked up somewhere. And I was surprised at her saying that !! 🙂

  • Reply
    Lifesorchestra
    December 22, 2011 at 8:43 am

    reminds me of an incident at a doctor’s clinic …. the lady at the front desk asked my cell number, office number etc and I told her directly. She was quite surprised and impressed that I had actually memorized them and did not looked up somewhere. And I was surprised at her saying that !! 🙂

  • Reply
    Makk Disct
    December 22, 2011 at 4:15 pm

    I am feeling happier…ask why

    I use minimum possible gadgets i.e. Laptop & Cell Phone.

    for certain period of time I make sure I am not using any of them too. Just to check how dependent I have become. 🙂

  • Reply
    Makk Disct
    December 22, 2011 at 4:15 pm

    I am feeling happier…ask why

    I use minimum possible gadgets i.e. Laptop & Cell Phone.

    for certain period of time I make sure I am not using any of them too. Just to check how dependent I have become. 🙂

  • Reply
    Kinmin
    December 22, 2011 at 5:46 pm

    Totally agree with you – I also have a hard time now remembering numbers, spellings, etc. Even though I did not like not being allowed to use calculators while in school, now I realize how important it was for us to develop basic mental arithmetic abilities.
    I feel kids below a certain class (5th or 8th) should still be taught to do stuff manually.. But looking at the current trend, that is probably not going to be the case.. Do you think parents can try and restrict exposure to technology until a certain age? But then, peer pressure also plays a major role… A colleague was telling me that her 10 year old daughter claims she ‘needs’ an iPad because all her friends have it..

  • Reply
    Kinmin
    December 22, 2011 at 5:46 pm

    Totally agree with you – I also have a hard time now remembering numbers, spellings, etc. Even though I did not like not being allowed to use calculators while in school, now I realize how important it was for us to develop basic mental arithmetic abilities.
    I feel kids below a certain class (5th or 8th) should still be taught to do stuff manually.. But looking at the current trend, that is probably not going to be the case.. Do you think parents can try and restrict exposure to technology until a certain age? But then, peer pressure also plays a major role… A colleague was telling me that her 10 year old daughter claims she ‘needs’ an iPad because all her friends have it..

  • Reply
    Fleur Vid
    December 22, 2011 at 6:09 pm

    So true!! I have been thinking about it for quite some time, and people just don’t get it..Just because something improves our lifestyle doesn’t necessarily mean they are good!! I feel like we are going a little overboard with the whole technology thing and forgetting the basics 🙂 And spelling a word is getting very difficult w/o taking the help of spell check or auto correct..sigh!!

  • Reply
    Fleur Vid
    December 22, 2011 at 6:09 pm

    So true!! I have been thinking about it for quite some time, and people just don’t get it..Just because something improves our lifestyle doesn’t necessarily mean they are good!! I feel like we are going a little overboard with the whole technology thing and forgetting the basics 🙂 And spelling a word is getting very difficult w/o taking the help of spell check or auto correct..sigh!!

  • Reply
    Prats
    December 22, 2011 at 7:06 pm

    I so agree with you. You know it becomes such a pain for me now if I have to write a page in Hindi which I have studied for 10 years…. Have to actually think of the spelling when I write a page on the paper….Thankfully I still don’t use calculators and GPS is not so common in India but I feel you have brought out a very valid point and I sometimes wonder the same thing too.

  • Reply
    Prats
    December 22, 2011 at 7:06 pm

    I so agree with you. You know it becomes such a pain for me now if I have to write a page in Hindi which I have studied for 10 years…. Have to actually think of the spelling when I write a page on the paper….Thankfully I still don’t use calculators and GPS is not so common in India but I feel you have brought out a very valid point and I sometimes wonder the same thing too.

  • Reply
    Psych Babbler
    December 22, 2011 at 10:25 pm

    I think most people today still have to look at their own numbers on their phone before passing it on to others. Like you though, I do remember my own numbers! It’s others’ numbers I can’t remember…because I rarely ever dial them!

  • Reply
    Psych Babbler
    December 22, 2011 at 10:25 pm

    I think most people today still have to look at their own numbers on their phone before passing it on to others. Like you though, I do remember my own numbers! It’s others’ numbers I can’t remember…because I rarely ever dial them!

  • Reply
    Psych Babbler
    December 22, 2011 at 10:50 pm

    That’s really good Makk…I’ve noticed that I can go without my mobile phone but seem dependent on my laptop…

  • Reply
    Psych Babbler
    December 22, 2011 at 10:50 pm

    That’s really good Makk…I’ve noticed that I can go without my mobile phone but seem dependent on my laptop…

  • Reply
    Psych Babbler
    December 23, 2011 at 3:30 am

    Welcome here Kinmin! I agree with you that children upto a certain age or grade should definitely be taught how to do things manually…including a lot of writing! Unfortunately, even if parents try to curb the use of technology, as you said, the pressure is always there and the parents will be outnumbered. And not just that, parents probably will worry that they are depriving their children of growth and fear criticism from others and will eventually cave in to technology! And I can’t believe a 10 year old was saying she *needs* an IPad! What is the world coming to???

  • Reply
    Psych Babbler
    December 23, 2011 at 3:30 am

    Welcome here Kinmin! I agree with you that children upto a certain age or grade should definitely be taught how to do things manually…including a lot of writing! Unfortunately, even if parents try to curb the use of technology, as you said, the pressure is always there and the parents will be outnumbered. And not just that, parents probably will worry that they are depriving their children of growth and fear criticism from others and will eventually cave in to technology! And I can’t believe a 10 year old was saying she *needs* an IPad! What is the world coming to???

  • Reply
    Psych Babbler
    December 23, 2011 at 3:39 am

    Welcome here Fleur! I think you have put it very well “Just because something improves our lifestyle doesn’t necessarily mean they are good”. In terms of spelling though, we need to remember that spellcheck or autocorrect aren’t perfect either — the ‘their’ and ‘there’ mistakes that people continue to make because of their dependency on spellcheck as opposed to actually understanding the meaning and context is a perfect example! Both are words and both are accepted by spell check.

  • Reply
    Psych Babbler
    December 23, 2011 at 3:39 am

    Welcome here Fleur! I think you have put it very well “Just because something improves our lifestyle doesn’t necessarily mean they are good”. In terms of spelling though, we need to remember that spellcheck or autocorrect aren’t perfect either — the ‘their’ and ‘there’ mistakes that people continue to make because of their dependency on spellcheck as opposed to actually understanding the meaning and context is a perfect example! Both are words and both are accepted by spell check.

  • Reply
    Psych Babbler
    December 23, 2011 at 3:58 am

    That’s real good Prats that you don’t have to use calculators! I use them for big sums…poor mathematical skills you see! 🙂 Hindi…I can’t remember the last time I wrote it…probably when I was still in India but even then, it wasn’t much because I didn’t do Hindi after Year 10! It’ll be interesting to see what happens if I have to write a whole page!

  • Reply
    Psych Babbler
    December 23, 2011 at 3:58 am

    That’s real good Prats that you don’t have to use calculators! I use them for big sums…poor mathematical skills you see! 🙂 Hindi…I can’t remember the last time I wrote it…probably when I was still in India but even then, it wasn’t much because I didn’t do Hindi after Year 10! It’ll be interesting to see what happens if I have to write a whole page!

  • Reply
    Comfy
    December 23, 2011 at 9:01 am

    I am good at reading maps, I am glad about that. I do take directions when I am going to a new place but don’t need it again when I have driven there a couple of times.
    I have always had bad bad spellings so I can’t put that on spellcheck. Calculations I agree have gone for a toss since I left college. But the phone numbers are the ones that have taken the most hit. As sad as it sounds I don’t even try to remember them 🙁

  • Reply
    Comfy
    December 23, 2011 at 9:01 am

    I am good at reading maps, I am glad about that. I do take directions when I am going to a new place but don’t need it again when I have driven there a couple of times.
    I have always had bad bad spellings so I can’t put that on spellcheck. Calculations I agree have gone for a toss since I left college. But the phone numbers are the ones that have taken the most hit. As sad as it sounds I don’t even try to remember them 🙁

  • Reply
    Rs Sujatha
    December 23, 2011 at 5:10 pm

    ah i barely go through school without flunking in maths so i need the calculator even for a 5 by 3 division 😀

    the motor skills is what worries me at time. 
    and true, the lose it if you don’t use it is aptly put

  • Reply
    Rs Sujatha
    December 23, 2011 at 5:10 pm

    ah i barely go through school without flunking in maths so i need the calculator even for a 5 by 3 division 😀

    the motor skills is what worries me at time. 
    and true, the lose it if you don’t use it is aptly put

  • Reply
    Psych Babbler
    December 23, 2011 at 8:27 pm

    That’s great Comfy…my map-reading skills have only been building in the last few years. And you know, the reason why you don’t try to remember phone numbers anymore is because there really is no need to, is there? What with everything now stored and all most of the time, we don’t even have to dial the numbers and just have to hit the ring button, why would we remember them???

  • Reply
    Psych Babbler
    December 23, 2011 at 8:27 pm

    That’s great Comfy…my map-reading skills have only been building in the last few years. And you know, the reason why you don’t try to remember phone numbers anymore is because there really is no need to, is there? What with everything now stored and all most of the time, we don’t even have to dial the numbers and just have to hit the ring button, why would we remember them???

  • Reply
    Psych Babbler
    December 23, 2011 at 8:36 pm

    Sujatha, the motor skills is indeed worrying. I read recently that in many primary schools here, there are kids who are unable to catch and throw a ball! I wish I remembered to save the link! And maths can’t be a strength for everyone…the same as with reading/spelling…I do assess kids with learning difficulties so it is understandable that we can’t do it all. But there are definitely some who just don’t do it thanks to the technlogy!

  • Reply
    Psych Babbler
    December 23, 2011 at 8:36 pm

    Sujatha, the motor skills is indeed worrying. I read recently that in many primary schools here, there are kids who are unable to catch and throw a ball! I wish I remembered to save the link! And maths can’t be a strength for everyone…the same as with reading/spelling…I do assess kids with learning difficulties so it is understandable that we can’t do it all. But there are definitely some who just don’t do it thanks to the technlogy!

  • Reply
    Scribbyscribs
    December 27, 2011 at 4:27 am

    lol  N punched her guy’s address even after 8 month ..now this it too much I say! I leave alone remembering the way to her BF’s place the aspect is about security…I mean what if someone is kidnapping you or you’re lost and you tomtom has given up some day? then,where do you go? what do you do? so depending upon such gadgets is not bad but too much of it certainly makes you not independent!

    and I have the same views on the skills of kids these days…I really I’m able to teach m daughter to learn the basic things in life before / along with the hot&happening gadgetry skills!

  • Reply
    Scribbyscribs
    December 27, 2011 at 4:27 am

    lol  N punched her guy’s address even after 8 month ..now this it too much I say! I leave alone remembering the way to her BF’s place the aspect is about security…I mean what if someone is kidnapping you or you’re lost and you tomtom has given up some day? then,where do you go? what do you do? so depending upon such gadgets is not bad but too much of it certainly makes you not independent!

    and I have the same views on the skills of kids these days…I really I’m able to teach m daughter to learn the basic things in life before / along with the hot&happening gadgetry skills!

  • Reply
    Psych Babbler
    December 27, 2011 at 9:38 pm

    Oh I totally hear you Scribby…such dependency can have other problems too. There was this one time both she and I went to he city with her driving and the damn TomTom took us all over the place and told us to turn at places where you couldn’t possibly turn…it was a nightmare! They aren’t the most reliable things I reckon! And yes, Chirpy is born into this gadget-world but hopfully you can get through to her before they do!!

  • Reply
    Psych Babbler
    December 27, 2011 at 9:38 pm

    Oh I totally hear you Scribby…such dependency can have other problems too. There was this one time both she and I went to he city with her driving and the damn TomTom took us all over the place and told us to turn at places where you couldn’t possibly turn…it was a nightmare! They aren’t the most reliable things I reckon! And yes, Chirpy is born into this gadget-world but hopfully you can get through to her before they do!!

Leave a Reply

CommentLuv badge

error: Content is protected !!