Even after watching Scott McLeod’s Ted Talk, I am still wary about letting children loose on technology. Nowhere in his talk did he mention parental guidance.
Yes, the children he cited in his talk did accomplish amazing feats through technology. Yes, they used their creativity and passion to solve problems. But did they do it on their own? Was there a supportive parent/guardian in the background? Was there someone who encouraged them?
The video raised a lot of yellow flags: At nine years old, Martha used HER phone to take photos and create her blog. She had her own phone!?! Did you see Emma’s room? What does it say about her identity? Even Maude’s profile shows her ambiguity; it reads in part, “addicted to technology, even though she knows it’s destroying her.” Isn’t there anyone that helps her address her self-professed addiction?
Another thing I’m pondering is how these children, like the teens in Generation Like, equate their popularity (as evidenced by the number of likes) with a sense of success. Do they experience an intrinsic feeling of a job well done, or is it based on visual, extrinsic validation?
There is no question that what the children did were extraordinary, not to mention financially profitable. These children were disciplined enough to work on their projects, continue working on them over a period of time and over obstacles (as in Martha vs. the School Council). It would be great to foster students with this kind of work ethic. But are all students ready for this? Going back to Generation Like, if a school let someone like Steven Fernandez create videos the way he does, what can of worms would that open?