Monday 21 January 2013

Plato's Touch-Screen Cave.

Since 2008 we've been enduring the worst recession in recent history. Money is tight, employment is lower than a 13 year old limbo champion...with low self esteem... living in Lowestoft... and yet Ipad's (and windows tablets) are flying off of the shelves and nestling in the palms of the masses. The ipad doesn't discriminate against any age of user - It's "user friendly". Its ease of use and its sleek design make it very convenient. Great! Older generations can get to grips with it quickly and its intuitive nature makes it a piece of piss for children. And that's what I am uneasy about. I have witnessed children, young children, using them as if it's second nature, and it literally is. Typical organic past times such as painting and drawing and writing are now being carried out on touch screen computers. This commercial just about sums it up really - a woman replaces a girl's art easel with a Windows 8 PC and uses the 'Fresh Paint' app.


 Is it not a bit sad that this generation of kids might never know what a real brush stroke feels like? Or what paint tastes like? Or how annoyed your dad might get when you paint all over the walls? But it's up to the parents who buy them for their kiddie-winks to decide whether it's sad, and many don't.  Parents who buy their children an ipad (or equivalent) obviously feel that they are aiding their offspring's development, however I feel that these computers could be depriving kids of first hand real experiences too. It's imperative  that there needs to be a healthy balance of doing real things and doing virtual things in a child's development if they are not to become  a socially, mentally and physically stunted being - swiping at their front doors with two fingers to try and unlock them, or pressing a doorbell and expecting an options menu to pop up.

 The more and more social these computers are deemed, the more and more alienated the populous shall become. They are computers after all, but because of their sleek ergonomic design and ability to share just about anything you do with others, dicking about on computers is regarded a social activity, carried out wherever and whenever we please.The reason I started this post about the recession and money being tight was because in reality, ipad's (and the likes of) are an indulgence and somewhat of a luxury. This notion is even supported by the slogan for Intel's 'Ultrabook' range in which they insinuate a tablet is not fundamental but instead an item of gratification. What we want and what we need are often two different things entirely but company's such as Intel are great at blurring the line - even when the slogans make the line blindingly obvious.

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