For quite some time I have been considering writing a post relating to social skills, in fact, I would go as far to say that I have had a version of this article in my drafts for probably two years or more.
I was speaking to a friend of mine recently over coffee, and we found ourselves on the topic of children! As a proud and active father, I was happy for the conversation to turn in this direction and soon found myself engaged in a broad conversation about the merits of teaching children technology from an early age.
You see the challenge from my perspective is this. I am at heart a technology advocate, in fact, it’s safe to say that over the years I have made a good living understanding technology and what it can do to make people’s lives easier. None of this would have been possible though without an even deeper interest in people, in what they fear and what makes them tick!
Over the years I have seen amazing technology projects fail and even greater ones not even start due to a lack of understanding. A basic understanding that at the end of every process is a human being with needs, fears, hopes and dare I say it dreams. Only too often I have seen technology forced on the unsuspecting masses without due care and attention resulting in barriers, blockers and issues.
Some of the most successful projects I have seen over the years are those that engage first with the human elements within the organisation, the people, staff, call them what you will. Early engagement ensures that potential worries can be understood and even alleviated.
So to my friend I commented this: – By all means raise children to be confident around technology, to understand it and embrace it, but, not to the detriment of their social skills. As parents, we have a duty to help our children become more socially aware, more astute to the unspoken messages around them and more in tune with people in the real world. It is this set of skills that they will carry with them through life and if developed properly will only compliment their technical understanding.
So here is to at least one non-technology day per week (at home not work!). One day where the internet is off (gasp), where catch-up TV doesn’t work and where social networks are banned. Here is to just one day per week where we interact with people in real-time face to face and without a screen.
good luck! …
thank you for reading
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