Lorna, my wife, has a theory that we’re in a very tight window of opportunity where computer and web familiarity is an advantage to you in the workplace. From there we’ll rapidly move to a situation where lack of it is a crippling disadvantage (if we’re not there already) and finally to a phase when it’s just the norm.
After that, we swing back to real world social skills being a major competitive advantage.
This is all interesting in the context of the campaign launched by The Daily Telegraph this week – Hold on to Childhood – calling on us to protect our offspring’s time as children, which is being eroded by the way we’re structuring society. Daniel Finkelstein of The Times had a fairly predictable pop at the idea on Comment Central, and The Telegraph‘s Ben Fenton mounted a decent defence of the paper’s forward-looking approach to technology on his blog.
I can’t help feeling that the ideas expressed here are backing up Dr Tinworth’s theory rather nicely. Certainly, as Finkelstein argues, electronic toys are, on balance, good for children. But, unless kids get a more rounded experience of childhood, and the social education that comes with it, they’re destined to a second-class position in the workplace and, quite possibly, in life.