Are our children masters or slaves of their smartphones?

Moderated by Larry Dignan | June 17, 2013 -- 07:00 GMT (00:00 PDT)

Summary: Today's youth and their smartphones are virtually inseparable. What does this relationship mean for the always-connected generation?

Matt Baxter-Reynolds

Matt Baxter-Reynolds




Charlie Osborne

Charlie Osborne

Best Argument: Slaves


Audience Favored: Slaves (83%)

Closing Statements

Every generation changes the society

Matt Baxter-Reynolds

In her opening arguments, my esteemed opponent mentioned that the "next generation [may lack] necessary social skills." It could be that skills within digital relationships in the future end up being as important or more important than the sorts of real-life relationships that we generally have today.

Charlie raises some fantastic points in her rebuttal, and I'm grateful for the opportunity to debate this topic with her. We just don't know how society is going to change, and we've never known that throughout all of human history.

But we do know that every young generation -- whether the current lot, those who grew up in the 1960s, or who grew up in the 1860s -- they always change the society that they grow up in. If nothing else, we need to understand that change. One of the challenges is that this change, becauses it is technological in nature, will be very fast.

The problem with smartphone dependency

Charlie Osborne

Children are slaves to mobile technology due to the social network and connections such devices offer.

As social creatures, being without support networks is a painful thing -- especially for children as they grow up. If you hand a mobile device to a child and extend this network, then removing it can cause elements of panic or rage as you are cutting away at this support. Whether in the classroom, at home or on a family outing, having given a child a smartphone at an early age, you can't expect them to surrender devices without a fight.

Problems associated with smartphone dependency will likely come to the front as new generations grow up with this technology. For now, however, as a former teacher I believe they can contribute to a lack of concentration and social awareness; although possible to remedy, these are afflictions that we have put in place by giving the younger generation such technology at earlier and earlier stages.

Charlie gets the win

Larry Dignan

The winner of this debate hands down went to Charlie Osborne. Matt Baxter-Reynolds had a case to make, but just didn't make it with his answers. However, Matt's performance wasn't nearly as bad as the crowd vote suggests. Although it pains me to go with the crowd, Charlie gets the win. Now I'm going back to my smartphone and 140 character brain farts. 


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  • Too much time and attention paid to things that don't matter

    They live their lives in a world that is not real. They really have a need to pull out and look around at what matters. Reading an endless stream of tweets by celebrities does nothing for them and dims their view on what is important. Celebutants are not role models.
    Reply 9 Votes I'm for Slaves
    • happyharry_z...what you said was a 100% correct

      Too much time and attention paid to things that don't matter
      Over and Out
      Reply Vote I'm Undecided
    • Nascent Evolution

      Like Charlie, you appear to be stuck in the rapidly evolving past. The manner in which these devices are utilized is evolving and dramatically changing our definition of social interaction; not to mention all other aspects of our lives.
      Abandon the current paradigmed rut. Think of what could be, not what your fear.
      Reply Vote I'm Undecided
      • Rapidly evolving past?

        You'll have to explain to the rest of us how the past, which is static, could be "rapidly evolving".

        The definition of social interaction is not changing at all- social interaction is just being phased out by digital communication. One's ability to differentiate between the two tells a lot about their "assimilation" status.
        Reply Vote I'm Undecided
  • Slaves... and so what?

    Every since electronic media began one generation or the other has become enthralled by one form of diversion or other. Radio, TV, the Internet.... and now Smart Phones and other mobile devices. Don't sweat it because through it all these kids will somehow manage to have normal lives, full of interaction with other people in the REAL world. They have no choice.

    Besides, weren't there people complaining about the printing press?
    Reply 3 Votes I'm for Slaves
    • Normal lives?

      They can't even add or subtract without a digital device. Nor can they sp3@k our language anymore. The rise of the machines.
      Reply 5 Votes I'm Undecided
      • Future shock

        Should we be complaining that they can't use a slide rule and their calligraphy sucks? Or that they know txting shorthand but not secretarial shorthand?

        Technology and languages evolve. The skills you had in the 20th century won't necessarily serve you in the 21st.
        Reply 1 Vote I'm Undecided
        • @rtechie

          what "skills" do phones provide? it's all APPS that work for you...

          now if you consider typing with your thumb a "skill"....
          Reply Vote I'm Undecided
      • Remember the calculator and the abacus

        My tag says for themself.
        Reply Vote I'm Undecided
        • ... and English Grammar

          (all your tag are belong to us!)
          Reply 3 Votes I'm Undecided