Kids and Tech: Are we Googling our Way to a Stratified Society?

These are strange times. I listen to the news and worry about the price of gas, global warming and if my child will have a future. It’s almost surreal and yet I realize my parents and my grandparents also had things to worry about as they raised their children.

While my mind swirls with “big people” problems, I juxtapose these thoughts with the daily craziness that comes with raising an eight year old. I am not talking about homework, making sure the chickens are fed or the trials and tribulations of friendship. No, I am talking about the language the child is using!

In a world where technology changes as fast as the weather, my daughter can stop me in my tracks with the words she uses to manage her world – ripped from the headlines of the technology found around our house. Here’s just a sampling of what I am talking about:

“Mom, power off the car while I run in and pick up my jacket,” she said as she ran back to the classroom.

“Put it on pause just a second,” she said, asking me to stop talking for a moment while she ran to the bathroom.

“Let’s just delete those,” she muttered as we cleaned out old clothes from her dresser.

And of course, like any good household, the minute grandma forgets what she was going to say, my daughter suggests she just “Google it.” In fact, her answer to most things is to “Google it” and I hate to say it, but we do and it works!

I was a rhetoric major so I am comfortable with language and its evolution. But I wonder if we are heading into a Max Headroomfuture where we will have a stratified society with those that are part of the information/technology world and those who are merely observers. If you remember the show, the way the bosses controlled the masses was to give them a steady stream of television. Make it free, manage the information and make sure the constant drone pacified everyone.

I see these differences happening even in my daughter’s small world. In our house we consume information. She’s exposed to the latest technology and she quickly adapts to new devices and services. But most of her friends, who have limited to little access to information and technology often don’t understand some of her references. She readily admits she can’t explain what her mother does because they just wouldn’t get it.

Thankfully in third grade, these differences aren’t deal breakers. But as she gets older, I can see how the kids will start to self-select. The techie kids hanging out with the other techies. So I wonder, are we heading toward a truly stratified society? And more importantly, will it matter if the polar icecaps melt and California ends up under water? Can you see why my head is spinning? These are strange times.