Learning Through Junky Tech
Brian Lam over at Gizmodo has written a thoughtful piece extolling the virtues of crappy technology. He explains that by giving children gadgets and machines which require some tinkering and hacking to get them working properly, they’ll learn valuable skills that can help them in the future. When they only interact with shiny new, 100% functional toys out of the box, there is rarely that same level of challenge and learning.
It’s not that I think all kids are bad. Nor is it about avoiding breeding spoiled brats. Buying high end gadgets for kids is not quite like buying new driver a sportscar. Not exactly. But a kid driving a beater that is slow, handles poorly and needs mechanical love once in awhile can teach an early driver a lot more about how to coax the maximum performance and life out of a car when learning on a piece of junk. Likewise with tech. Giving them great gadgets can deny kids the unavoidable toil poorly designed or rough-around the edges technology offers that can be so educational. I don’t have kids, and I won’t presume to actually propose parenting advice to anyone, but I can draw on my own childhood, where I learned tech by taking the harder way.