The term “smart kid” has traditionally referred to children with above-average levels of intelligence. As we forge ahead into v 2.0 of the digital age, the term is beginning to take on new meaning. “Smart kid” now refers to a digitally connected child: one who is mobile, always connected to the internet and social media, and one who uses technology to more deeply and thoroughly explore and communicate with the world around her.
Smartphones, smartwatches, smartTVs, they all suggest a connected product. While kids aren’t products, they are becoming as connected as the devices that they carry. With advances in technology, there are new models of smart devices being developed at a rapid pace, all finding their way into the hands of modern kids. It seems like every child today has access to at least one smart device, making 2015 “Year Of The Smart Kid.”
Originally, the main way to access information on the internet was through a computer. Most households would have a single desktop computer, centrally located, to which the child was allowed access. In those early days, social networking was scarce and not as developed as it is today. Children were exposed to the slow, uninviting internet of the time, limiting desire and the content they could access. Computers were mainly an educational tool for schoolwork, on which children could type and print homework.
Fast forward to the laptop age, the time where computers were mobile, but finding mobile internet was still a challenge. With less wireless access points than today, internet on the go was similarly very limited. While kids could use laptops, they were generally not connected.
These days, almost every kid old enough to read has access to multiple computers. Most children today have their own laptops to do whatever they wish, and wireless access points are in almost every home and coffee house. This makes the children of today much more connected than in the previous years. Not only are there more access points, but overall internet speed is much faster, allowing the connected kids of today to accomplish more, faster. Not only do they do schoolwork on computers, but they completely manage their social lives from these devices.
Social networking is exploding at an alarming rate. Most people that have access to the internet have their own social media profile, including today’s teens. While social networking such as Facebook started with college students, it soon opened to everyone else, expanding like wildfire. Now people of all ages run their own social media accounts. Social networking opens up a whole new world of communication for today’s teens. Before, kids would have little to no contact with other children outside of their own school. Now, they use their computers as command centers for their social lives, being able to message anyone they wish, anywhere in the world. Not only can children communicate via messages, but they can share any piece of media that they want, being photos, videos, and created content. Popular social networking outlets have given kids unparalleled opportunities to express themselves, sharing every piece of knowledge and entertainment with their peers. Almost any kid with a computer can stay connected twenty-four hours a day and stay in the loop of what’s current and popular. And, the constant connection is not limited just to computers.
A few years ago, another technological revolution emerged in the form of a smartphone. With the mainstream release of phones that are always connected to the internet, major phone developers offered the knowledge of the world in the pocket of the user. Many companies jumped on board to the latest trend, making smartphones abundant and non-expensive. This has helped smartphones find their way into the pockets of kids, thus further connecting them to the information super-highway.
Smartphones, the always connected, all-in-one media devices of today, have boosted the social media platform to another level. These devices have turned ordinary kids into media-generating machines, like an army of diminutive journalists. If a major event occurs in the world, surely a photo or video of it will appear on the internet, thanks to built in cameras presently integrated into most smartphones. It is sharing like this that is changing the landscape of media and pop culture. The latest news and trends travel faster and further than ever before. Smartphones are allowing kids to access this information and apply it in a real world setting, in real-time, thus further boosting their knowledge and social lives.
Tablets like the iPad, which are a laptop/smartphone hybrid, are quickly taking over the landscape of media. Tablets offer the portability of a smartphone, with the functionality of a laptop. With a broad spectrum of features, tablets are helping kids stay connected more than ever, allowing them to share stories and look up new information on the go. Tablets have also been tagged as excellent learning tools, both inside the classroom and out. The larger screen allows for informational websites and texts to be displayed correctly, thus furthering the knowledge of the “smart kid.”
Before, the way to solve an argument about something was to look it up on a computer. Although this is still a great way to find information, kids are relying on their mobile devices, such as smartphones and tablets, for instant information gratification wherever they are. Finding an answer to almost any question is as simple as typing it in on their cell phones. This is making today’s children smarter, offering the complete knowledge of the world right at their fingertips. No question will go unanswered these days, with smartphones and tablets in the hands of almost every teen.
Communication is reaching new levels thanks to these devices. Apps like FaceTime and Skype are even allowing kids to video chat with one another from any location, allowing them to keep in touch with friends and family. Other apps are allowing kids to express their thoughts in an organized manner, and publish them on the internet. Many kids have WordPress blogs and journals online where they can express their opinions and talk about their experiences. In a way, this technology is allowing the voices of today’s teens to be heard on a global scale, and allowing the content they generate to survive in perpetuity.
We are now in a digitally connected world, and those able to use the technology the most efficiently tend to be the younger generation. They use it to it’s fullest potential, connecting their lives to the internet and to others. Without technology, the teens of today would not be as socially aware as they are now. The technology is enabling kids to view more information, to learn more than the previous generation, and to evolve at a faster pace. It is also allowing them to connect with those around them and build their social lives, thanks to to apps like FaceBook and Twitter. Smartphones, tablets, smartwatches, and the plethora of other connected smart devices, have ushered in version 2.0 of the digital age and have made 2015, Year Of The Smart Kid.