The smartphonification of today's youth

Summary:Smartphones have become almost ubiquitous even though they haven't been around that long. They are creating the most advanced generation in the history of mankind.

Smartphones 300
Image credit: Sprint

Every generation sees new things that improve life and quickly become commonplace. We're all guilty of saying to our kids things like "when I was young we didn't have [fill in the blank]." Our kids quickly roll their eyes and tune us out because they can't believe that [fill in the blank] never existed. Right now this is happening with the smartphone.

Think back and it's surprising, but the smartphone has only been around for a few years. It is a technology that is being adopted amazingly fast, and it's becoming nearly ubiquitous in developed countries. Try to imagine life without the smartphone and you quickly realize how ingrained in our lives it has already become.

The touch interface on smartphones is tailor-made for inquisitive children and they are learning how to use important technology from the first moment they hold one.

I'll bet parents with very young children haven't given much thought to it, but their kids have never lived when smartphones weren't around. Those of us with older kids probably remember when our children held their first smartphone with eyes filled with wonder. They were as impressed by the magic as we were when we first picked up a smartphone. So much goodness in the palm of our hand.

Young kids are now seeing the smartphone as soon as they see everything else. There is still wonder in the experience but only as much as there is with everything else they see for the first time. 

The smartphone is now a standard part of their world from day one. They are exposed from the start to one of the most incredible advances in technology ever to come along. They will grow up learning to not only use this technology to make their lives better, it will become second nature to them as they grow up. They will surely use it better than we do as a result.

You probably see this happening all the time. Kids love bright shiny objects that make noise and the smartphone is the high-tech version of the ring of keys we used to hand our kids to keep them occupied not that long ago. The difference, and it's a big one, is the shiny smartphone actually teaches our kids. That may happen through educational videos the parents run to keep the child occupied and out of trouble, or it may be a kiddie game. 

Even if the parent doesn't run an app, just letting the child play with the phone is teaching them about the technology. The touch interface on smartphones is tailor-made for inquisitive children and they are learning how to use important technology from the first moment they hold one.

It's early in the life of the smartphone as it is for the young children of today. They will both grow in capability together and kids today will be a new generation of very connected people. This connection will be both social and educational, and today's children will have a wealth of information in their hand as no generation to come before.

More importantly, they will never know what it's like to not have that information about the world at their beck and call. They are the most advanced generation of people in the history of mankind, and the smartphone will play a huge role in that. They are the children of the future, here today.

Topics: Mobility, Smartphones

About

James Kendrick has been using mobile devices since they weighed 30 pounds, and has been sharing his insights on mobile technology for almost that long. Prior to joining ZDNet, James was the Founding Editor of jkOnTheRun, a CNET Top 100 Tech Blog that was acquired by GigaOM in 2008 and is now part of that prestigious tech network. James' w... Full Bio

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