BBC Radio 4: Children And The Digital Age

Jack Simpson

Head of Marketing and Communications

So it goes

Our Chief Executive Craig Dean featured on BBC Radio 4’s ‘You and Yours’ programme earlier today.

Today’s show hosted by Julian Worricker posed the question, ‘Do we overreact about children and technology?’

Featuring a range of callers from teachers to software developers plus guests such as Dr Marie Griffiths, the programme hosted a debate over whether children are spending too much time online. Are youngsters in front of computer screens excessively these days or are they just becoming computer savvy from a young age? Thinking back to my childhood, I’m sure my Atari didn’t do me any harm!

The first caller showcased the benefits of computer gaming. Jann Mardenborough beat 90,000 virtual drivers to gain his place in the GT Academy. This meant him driving for real at Brand’s Hatch, then later at Silverstone, beating 11 other finalists to become a GT Academy driver. Just over two weeks after the race Nissan confirmed Mardenborough as its full-time driver for the season in the Blancpain Endurance Series. Without his devotion to computer gaming he wouldn’t be where he is now.

Talk then turned to parents who were both impressed and concerned over their child’s tech aptitude. They were worried about an over-reliance on computers and if this could be detrimental to their communication skills. However, children need to keep up to date with technology; it’s part of this generation’s development and key for a hi-tech future. I think there needs to be a balance between the amount of family time, homework and computer time. It’s important to get that balance right in order to produce these social shapers of our future!

Lawrence Jones (founder of the internet hosting company UKFast) said that without computer obsessed children we’d have no internet. Although he emphasised the fact that without communication skills, as well as a love for computers, developing great software would be impossible.

Then it was time to go live to Craig Dean! Craig believes that using computers from a young age can develop skills you couldn’t learn from formal education as it is too focused on knowledge rather than skills. Children who acquire this aptitude are more likely to end up in the I.T. industry. Here at Web Applications we look for people with more than one answer to a problem, people who propel themselves forward and have a passion for I.T.

The debate acknowledged that there are good and bad aspects to technology. If there’s a balance between education and social use of computers then a great career in I.T. can be up for grabs! The technological world is improving all the time and is such a powerful tool; maybe I should have shown more interest in my Atari!