Letter: Technology

Last updated 12:23 15/01/2013

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OPINION: Technology used as a tool of effort brings good, but as a substitute brings bad. Human weakness tends us to the lazy use.

Calculators deprived people of simple arithmetic ability. Computers have resulted in a veneer of cut-and-paste expertise, where power-point presentation is more important than substance.

Cellphones have destroyed time management and manners, and ushered in a demand for instant 24/7 gratification.

Television has eliminated imagination and self-entertainment, and with the development of social networking comes the public display of every private emotional, moral, mental and physical wrinkle.

Raising children so they are masters of technology and not slaves of it, is life's biggest challenge.

Our limitedly educated parents believed tools were no substitute for skill. Books evoked better scenery than television showed, anybody could do anything through effort, and idleness deserved a kick in the pants.

They raised four commerce, agriculture, arts and science graduates. The greatest gift, possibly unintentional for they largely seemed to ignore us, was the freedom to get into mischief. By largely following this road map we have raised one commerce graduate and two PhDs in engineering and statistics.

In a letter from Chris Kennedy (Jan 10) the values of my youth were dismissed as out-of-date 1963 myopia. Perhaps, but I wonder how the next generation will fare with its helicopter parents, restrictions applied for its own good and who cannot function without clutching an iPhone. Will they be enthralled slave or master?

MERVYN CAVE
Manapouri

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- The Southland Times

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