Question of freedom (Re: I Gave My 3 Year Old an iPhone)


What is freedom? First and foremost, a basic question.

A still barely defined one.

The second question following : What does freedom depend on?

The third, then:

Can freedom be dependence and vice versa?

My personal reflection.

Why the philosophic introduction? It’s the first things I thought of when reading the article  I Gave My 3 Year Old an iPhone: Have I Created a Monster? and the comments on it. A couple of days ago, after the article appeared the first time on the home page of WordPress, I remember to have clicked on the link immediately, with big eyes, expecting a literally “burning” page on a topic of such blatant controversy. As I suggested, it’s a burning topic with all sorts of responses. At that time, there were over 100 responses, at the present time, surely over 150.

So I dove into the issues of a parent reporting on “his way” of education of his young child, namely, 3 years old.

It’s not a new way of education and no new philosophy. With all due respect, technical revolution hasn’t started last year with the arrival of the almost omnipotent I-phone. First there had been the discussion on TV’s, and perhaps even before on radios. I don’t know what came first. Then the records. CDs. Little “high-tech gods” provided us then with walkmans and the computer came into use. I bet the newspapers and parent magazines of those prehistoric times were filled with articles reminding of the one cited. Media hasn’t prove itself being wrongly invented, so far, in the most cases, when mindful adults took control of it. I am not a pessimist.

Discussion and opinion sharing is everything, for me. After all, we should be living in an open world.

Do we consider it being a free world, though?

Instead of focusing on the variety aspects freedom seems to offer for a discussion, let’s take one out. The free choice of man to decide in favour or against technological development.

(Unfortunately, this development is often equated with civilization. Could one prove me this is a right equation?)

So now, what’s with our I-phone? Is it a new symbol of the free being and the entrance into a “more free” human era?

For this we should have defined first what freedom is. To start off, let’s state what freedom certainly isn’t.

To be free does not mean to be free of all obligations towards family, friends, society, environment. Right? Wrong?

If you feel that you owe no gratitude to your parents, it’s not your job to develop your child’s sould because the child relies on you and you are his source, if you feel that whatever happens to this world is not of your interest, if society collapses because everyone does what he likes doing and fears no law: Is this your dream of how your freedom should look like?

To be free does not mean to be in a relationship of dependency. Right? Wrong?

If you depend one someone borrowing you money, or on a drink to be drunk when you feel unwell, or a bad habit you practise but which actually does not benefit you: Is this your dream of how your freedom should look like?

Why do I ask such questions? To create a fluent connection to the I-phone and its “character”. Complicated but simple. I’ve just found it out after my friend got an I-phone himself. I’m not telling I wasn’t envious at him. I was. And then the self-educational process started in my head; a process which is less recognizable from outside compared to motor scills, yet this “process” made me understand what advanced technology means.

(Yeah perhaps it’s only reconceiling with the fact I can’t afford that toy, you might think. But who said that reconciliation doesn’t lead to straight thoughts?)

Iphones and similiar let me think I am deeply in need of a “my town” application or the last time table of the bus to your neighbourhood. Or the weather forecast for the next months possibly…

Advanced technology gives me the illusion of freedom and creates dependance.

I, personally, do not want to be dependant. I want to use my mind which creates the best apps possible due to memory skills, ability to learn languages, appreciate nature, feelings and thoughts.

This I have to learn and experience first. Only then should I turn to technology in order to reproduce what I’ve understood.

Remember: this I think as a barely grown-up. Would I think the same as a child exposed to the iphone? I don’t say a child using I-phones does not get the appropriate guideance. It’s the question of who dominates his life.  Who should it be dominated by.

Setting of priorities.

There was a comment which I suggest represents the wast-spread opinion of many modern-age parents and ones who strive to be such.

Do we need another IT genius?

It goes like that:

My daughter is 1 year 4 months and she already knows how to activate the iPod Touch, slide to unlock and flip through the homescreen. I’m so proud : D

I somehow expected it, you know. I agree, it looks nicely, a toddler staring professionally on a screen of a business man’s device, locking and unlocking it. It’s amusing and fun and I guess the motor skills of the little girl improve, somehow. At least the ones dealing with touch.

Yet I wonder, whether this little baby, being so clever at turning the phone on and off, knows how to talk. How to say thank you and when. Perhaps, if she’s so clever, the proud parent could have taught her the first letters.

Or perhaps it’s not really a question of intelligence. There were studies on adult apes , chimpanzees and the like, to observe their reaction and cognitive process when feeling hunger or when in need of action. The ape had to recognize a button with a banana on it in order to push it and therefore order the banana to come. And even more sophisticated ones, I simply do not remember all details…

Is this now a question of intelligence? In this case, the ape has shown much more.

Or another one.   Now it’s the case of a slightly other generation of ancestry, a person who surely didn’t grow up with technical devices and apps for breakfast. The person was delighted on the functions an I-phone has to offer for her little one. She even wrote how the phone is “dedicated” to the child.

I didn’t quite get the meaning of this.  I responded, but actually, the response goes to us all who we feel tempted by the technical options of today to integrate them to the fullest into our life:

The phone is truly dedicated as it has no choice.
Who else is dedicated to your offspring?
Songs being available are great.
Even greater it has been for me as a child to have a person available to me to sing a song with.
I don’t think a child’s mind has changed so much in the last decade. Do you?
Some say, they can monitor  activity at the phone.
And without… can they? Would they?
Would they try instead of extending the battery rather extending the time of personal dedication and guideance for the son, grandson, niece?
Or will she search for life experience through the apple search function, perhaps?…

Simple questions need oftenly one single word to be  replaced in them and the effect is  tremendous.

No, I’m not making it easy for me.

I’m not a parent, I can’t jugde on this behalf.

I basically note down what comes to my conclusion as a youngster having all these devices around me. A youngster who may claim that her intelligence wasn’t damaged at all by the lack of sophisticated technical toys due to limited financial household. That’s my experience and as a child I perfectly survived without television at home and I think, others would do the same. No problem at exposing oneself to technics. The very prove I do this is this entry.

But before, in my opinion, one should first have known how the world is without. The simple world we all live in, minus the toys. Since the sun shine and the wind blows without caring for the weather forecast app.

(Believe it or not, there is a beautiful saying in the Tora which states “Here I put in  front of you life and death, so choose life”. I consider it being the ultimate prove of reasonable free human will. Examine and choose what makes you live.)

“Have I created a monster?”, the author of the entry asks.

No, you haven’t. Every person creates him-/herself.

Nothing against learning letters through guideance of an electronic device.

It’s just, once you dive into it, you can hardly get out. Neither can your child.



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