Children are tech addicts – and schools are the pushers

A Facebook friend posted The Guardian opinion piece Children are tech addicts – and schools are the pushers.

When Silicon Valley bosses send their children to screen-free schools, why do we believe the claims of the ‘ed tech’ industry?

I will reproduce the thread of the discussion below. However, first I will give you the conclusion I came to after thinking about this some more.

The recent spate of oligarchs who have tried to convince us that social media is evil, and that the computer billionaires that have foisted this on us are now repenting has an ulterior motive that they are hiding. The oligarchs have come to realize how powerful social media has become as a tool for disrupting the control by the ruling class. They now feel the need to put a stop to this before the olicarchy is overthrown by the people. Hence the battle to get rid of net neutrality, the attempt to censor “fake news” from the internet, and the spate of articles convincing us that the little people should pay less attention to the internet.

You don’t really think that the people who have become billionaires from computer based enterprises really want to shield their progeny from computer education, do you? I don’t see that their repentance for making billions from their enterprises is resulting in their offering to give all their billions back to us, do you? No, they want to keep their ill-gotten gains, and take away our freedom to learn about other cultures and other economic systems by talking to each other in an unrestricted way on the internet.

My initial reaction
There is only so much baloney like this that I can read. I used to study and I was an electrical engineer at the start of the computer age. I am amazed at how much more information is available to me now with computers than there was when I started. I still have a collection of slide rules, but I am amazed that we actually used to depend on those. For my bachelor’s degree thesis, I used a mechanical adding machine to do a lot of design work. Oh what I could have done if I had had a computer.

I have decades worth of technical magazines that I collected over my career. It was 20 or more years ago when I realized that even if I had the magazine in my collection, I could find an article online faster than I could find it in my library.

I made a career out of developing, supporting, and instructing about computer simulation of electrical circuits. I could get better insight into how circuits worked by simulating them than I could get in the laboratory.

Brian Leonard
The myth of technological progress is a utopian fantasy. I work with children who are addicted to these machines, don’t know how to communicate, and suffer all kinds of social problems related. Look what technological progress gave us: depleted uranium bombs, drones, nukes, automation and computer management systems, Google, Facebook, and corporate surveillance– technology is not going to save us– it’s more likely to destroy social relationships and possibly even life on earth. It’s thanks to so-called progress that we face a mass extinction, nuclear and oil and all other kinds of toxic contamination of the environmental, machines made in Chinese slave shops and using metals mined by slaves in Africa…. I’d rather not cheer for that progress which is destruction. But you can believe your utopian fantasy…. The evidence all around me shows destruction, not progress. We need Ludd, not a brave new world!
Steve Greenberg
You can cherry pick the problems and ignore the advances, but you are not doing a fair assessment. Society is free to make good use or ill of technology. If the society has made some bad decisions, try to correct those. It is silly to think that getting rid of technology will solve societal problems.

If you look at your personal experience, but keep a blind eye to other experiences, then you will not be a good teacher to your students. If you can’t see that oligrachic ascendancy is the real problem, but you focus on technology instead, you will be wasting your energy. You are more likely to send us back to the dark ages than you will be able to lead us to a better life.

If you think of only “Chinese slave” shops, but don’t see the advancement in standard of living in developing countries, then you are swallowing the oligarchy’s propaganda that tries to make you think that people in advancing countries are your enemy.

People in India, China, and other advancing countries have a right to do jobs they are capable of doing to better their lives. Don’t be so quick to think that forcing them to stay on the farms is fair treatment. It is not ordained that Americans have a right to a superior lifestyle to the rest of the world.

Remember the history of the industrial revolution. At first, people were attracted from the farms into industry because it promised them a better life. Soon the factory owners started to take advantage of these workers. Unbridled competition caused the oligarchs to drive down the wages and worsen working conditions. Eventually workers rebelled, formed unions, and solved many of the problems of urban work. We have backslid in recent years, but that doesn’t mean that workers won’t rise to the occasion again to put us back on the right track.

In the past, workers didn’t overcome their problems by giving up. I know it is hard for middle-class people to think of goiing through the struggles that the workers of the past did. That is why it may depend on the younger generation to save us.

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