I worry about what the world will look like in five years time when my son reaches high school. I was leaving school and starting college when phones started to include cameras. Luckily for me, we didn’t have them at high school and the cameras on phones in those days were too poor to shoot pictures at night or inside.
Much of the knowledge we have as adults centres on the mistakes and “fun” we had as young adults and luckily for most of us these adventures remain purely as legends that old friends bring out when you catch up every few years, and the memories fade and get embellished for good humour.
What we see now is life played out in pictures and videos shared with hundreds (or thousands) of people in a matter of seconds via social media.
Now mistakes can have drastic consequences
There is no forgiveness of time nor sunset, as the quality of cameras in phones, in-built flashes, and the ubiquitous nature of them now means that children making mistakes can have drastic consequences to self-esteem, friendships, schooling, future careers and families.
The speed of learning that we used to get from making mistakes has been outpaced by the capability of smartphones and social media available to young people. Those capabilities are improving at lightning speed while the wisdom of years doesn’t come any faster (although my three-year-old thinks it does).
Will everything they see be streamed live?
What will kids be able to do with their phones, watches, and glasses in five years time? Will everything they see be streamed live to their Google+ YouTube channel and immediately be searchable based on things happening in their suburb on a Saturday night?
Kids today have it good – the technology is awesome. I would love to be able to look back every few years at the things I did with friends so that the memories don’t fade too quickly, but unfortunately, in our day the photos were to blurred and grainy. However, I’m not so sure that Saturday night streaming from the local pub is something I would have wanted my friends, family, and employer to have access to.
There is going to need to be a lot of sharing of the wisdom we learned from our mistakes very early on so that technology can be embraced, stories can be embellished, and the only embarrassments faced are played out amongst forgiving friends and not the Internet at large. We (adults and parents alike) have a big job ahead of us.
I work for Trend Micro and the opinions expressed here are my own.