When I was in school, my parents made sure I put my school work as a priority. But that being said technology has always caused problems with students, especially children and teens. The problem is that this distracting technology is now making it into the schools themselves. Here is what technology is doing to our students from earliest to latest:
Radio brought the first non-reading type of entertainment into the home electronically. No longer did anybody even students have to leave their homes to get stories told to them either. Amateur radio on the other hand was an educational hobby. Radio actually comes up multiple times in this pseudo timeline.
Private Line Telephones:
While private lines existed before radio, and didn't become common until after television, in the 40's and later they started to become common. With the Private Line (non party-line) telephone, people including students could use the telephone for hours on end only limited to by what they had to do (eat, sleep, and go to school) or by the people who actually paid for the line (parents). Private Line Telephones started early electronic social networking.
Television was the holy grail of distractions for students. Not only did you have radio bringing entertainment into the home you had television and this time with actual pictures. Television also makes another appearance in this pseudo timeline.
Radio again rears its head. This time with the portable transistor radios that made car radios very common and portable radios common. With the transistor radio a student of virtually any age could bring entertainment with them wherever they went.
Rock and Roll Music:
Rock and roll was the first type of music truly aimed at the teenage generation. This brought students namely teenagers out to socialize quite a bit, rock and roll also combined with the transistor radio brought a whole new distraction to our student population.
Citizens Band Radio:
Radio yet again, this time it comes to us as a social networking tool. Citizens band radio became cheap and allowed people of all age groups to communicate with each other over the air. Independent of the telephone network, CB radio allowed social networking on a whole new scale and even allowed you to meet new people.
Television gets an upgrade with public cable transmission systems becoming available to the masses and with satellite transmission of new channels. Of these channels MTV grabs the teenage generation with rock and roll, just like rock and roll grabbed them before.
Personal Computers and Game Consoles:
Personal computers and games consoles were a major step in electronic entertainment. While computers did have educational uses, games were and still are common. In the early days programming skills were learned on computers.
While data communication has been around since the 60s, the personal computer, combined with modems and deregulation of the telephone system allowed the proliferation of online services and bulletin boards. This was yet another way to socially network with each other and send electronic messages.
While expensive at first like all of the other mentioned technologies, the cellular telephone moved the private line telephone from the house to the car and then to the pocket. By the early to mid 2000s cellular phones started becoming the primary lines for many younger people, especially students.
The internet took data communication to a new level, combined with the world wide web and electronic mail, social communication took another revolutionary turn. Combine this with social networking that became very common in the mid to late 2000s.
Combining the internet with the cellular telephone created the smartphone. The mid to late 2000s and the early 2010s look promising for smartphones which bring all of the above mentioned technologies (except CB radio) to the pocket and hands of our students of all levels distractions will only get worse.
The whole point is, computers are not the only distractions, but they are notable.