A Digital Dystopia


(Nathan Breban/LHS Peak Press)

A quite tech-savvy cat enjoying her computer time.

In this digital day and age, how important is reality?

That is the question that Jordan Shapiro, a professor of psychology and philosophy at Temple University, has recently asked, and even wrote a book about. Within his book “The New Childhood,” he makes many points that may put modern parenting techniques into question. Shapiro makes the argument that rather than limiting the screen time our children have, parents should instead embrace the technology and connect with their children that way. 

This is an important question to ask, for the presence of social media is greater than ever and can greatly influence younger audiences. Due to many things becoming digital, more and more people are gravitating towards electronic lives. To quote Shapiro during an interview conducted by NPR: “Home was safe, and now these devices bring the entire world inside. Are your kids home or are they in Fortnite? They’re here and somewhere else — in the ugly agora and within the beautiful picket fence.” 

For years, parents have been trying to limit the amount of technology that their children are exposed to in a worry that it may affect their health. While that may be true, this limitation may also be affecting their children mentally. Many studies over the years have concluded that activities such as playing video games can be addictive, which in turn means that children who play video games constantly may go through withdrawal and unnecessary stress. However, Shapiro has recently discovered a reason to believe that supporting your child’s electronic habits may help support them as they grow into adults. 

Now, while Jordan Shapiro believes that more electronic interaction is vital for children as they mature, he notes that it is also important to know that they should also understand electronic responsibility. Daniel Nelms, a Junior at Liberty High School, agrees with this statement. “I personally think that children should have experience with the outside world, they can’t just be in front of a computer all day since there’s more to life than just video games.” Another quote that Shapiro makes during his interview: “How are we going to maintain those positive things, the compassion, ethics, good social skills and intimate relationships, if we’re teaching them to live in a world that doesn’t look like the world they’re living in?” Shapiro believes that while it is important to have electronics in a child’s upbringing, they should also realize that there is an entire world surrounding them just waiting to be explored. If anything, Shapiro mainly supports this electronic upbringing because it allows for more social interaction much earlier in the child’s life, all the while making it safer rather than physical interaction.