I’ve recently read an excellent article from Will Shanklin on Gizmag, talking about Google Glass and how wearing these brings you to the next level of connectivity, while disconnecting you from your present and surroundings.
I’m totally in line with Will’s opinion, specially when we observe how we switch easily between our smartphones and back to reality. But I’d go a bit further: I think that kids growing with smartphones were (sort of) born with the ability to connect, because they’ve always known this. For them, these devices are no more new stuff. They have always been there.
When he was 1.5 year old, my son found (by himself) how to unlock my iPhone far before talking or reading. Now that he is 3, taking part in distant new year’s eve party with Skype or touching a surface to command a device is amazingly natural for him! He doesn’t understand why he couldn’t touch the back screen of my reflex camera (because it still provides a joystick to go through the menu).
Will my son live disconnected from his surroundings? When I first saw one of the latest Apple ad showing this teenager spending a family party on his phone, I thought it was demonstrating this new generation of kids being disconnected. So the ending of the ad (the teen projected on TV what he was in fact filming) is indeed nice. Here it is:
Just commercial? I don’t think so: this next gen will benefit from technology, live by it, learn from it. The only important lesson for them to learn is to keep the pleasure to disconnect from time to time and to enjoy the present and surrounding environment.