Where’s Thomas? – How Technology Changes Tomorrow for Youth

Go go Thomas
The opportunities of technology are changing things for young people

THUNDER BAY – “Where’s Thomas?” Thomas you ask? Well Thomas the Train of course. One of the neat things about an Internet Cafe are the young people who come in with their parents, and to see how young kids engage the Internet. It is interesting when you watch a two year old child who can already draw using a mouse. It is amazing how young people starting about age two can already realize that the mouse and keyboard are tools.

The young man in the picture is in the Head-Start program and is really enjoying the learning opportunities. He is also getting extra opportunities to learn by learning a little bit more each week about computers.

From observation, the interest that computers have on young people is likely to fuel the growth of new technologies, and increasingly replace older technologies. With young people Youtube is a great starting point, as there are many short clips from television shows. The advent and growth of Netflix is also likely to be used by many parents, as for a very low price, children can watch many of the educational television shows without commercials.

That move is one that likely will change how many companies attempt to market to young people. It may also, over time, dictate greater calls for government to take steps to encourage young people to become more active if increased computer time reduces opportunities for young children to engage in play and more active games.

The reality perhaps is that a combination of traditional games, and times with parents encouraging children to play and run around is really all that is going to be needed.

Something that I have been amazed at is how some of the new technologies are so easily understood by very young children. Having a two and a half year old child almost instinctively use the touch screen on an Ipod Touch is to realize that over the coming decades, it is very likely we are headed to an incredible technology shift in our society.

For those willing learn, many of the changes that are coming in our society will be via technology.

As a young person, “What time is it?” and chances are you will be told it is 1:21. Twenty after, or many of the terms used when time pieces were not digital are vanishing from the vocabulary. Clocks with hands are not as common today, and increasingly either are wrist watches. People have a clock on their wireless telephone, or on their MP3 players.

Many of the changes that are likely coming over the next five, ten, and twenty years with techology will perhaps make today’s latest and greatest pale look like baby steps by comparison. Think of it, five years ago, Twitter and Facebook didn’t exist. Only a few years ago, much of our region was not on high-speed Internet.

Today’s young people are engaging into the latest technology right now, they have no issues adopting new ideas.

That ability and easy adoption and adaptation of new technology is an advantage. It is part of the ever Emerging Thunder Bay.

While many see that in the growth of molecular research, the growing medical research community, it is also coming in our young people who are becoming very adept at the latest in technology.

When you watch two, three and four year old children so eager to learn, the future looks bright indeed.

James Murray

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