I have published a handful of articles here on LifebyDamien.com that revolve around the phenomena of social interaction and interpersonal skills (namely their importance on a society). That said, I feel like today’s article is applicable, provides value, and provokes thought.
I’ve began listening to the WSJ podcasts, and just a couple of weeks ago, I heard a story about the first class of students to graduate high school, from a 100% online curriculum starting from Kindergarten. Wow. That is one heck of a display of technological advancement! For the life of me, I cannot find the article in print, online. I wanted to see what colleges some of the graduates were going to, and see what statistics could be had from the group. But I am a bit concerned.
My first concern was, “How are these kids going to know how to interact with other people?” Well, the founder of the institution was quick to address that all the students were given even greater chances of social interaction because the online curriculum allowed more convenience for travel and social clubs such as Cub Scouts, Camps, etc. I’m a bit skeptical.
Some of you may recall my article “It’s not Education, it’s a Distraction”, where I emphasize the importance of a structured education environment not being the academia, but the social skills obtained when placed among a DIVERSE group of persons. These online graduates, from their earliest stages, are sheltered from adverse social interaction, and are allowed, by default, to only learn how to interact with filtered groups of their own choosing (or their parents choosing). How are these children to learn appropriate interpersonal skills for dealing with adverse and vastly differ-minded individuals? When will they get their experience? At college? Or will that be all online also?
I would love to get Malcom Gladwell’s take on it. If “The Rosetan Mystery” as described in the intro to his NY Times Best-Selling book, Outliers, has any truth, there may be great cause of concern. The medical mystery of the Rosetan Italians of Pennsylvania took in a diet where 41% of calories came from fat, and they maintained the lowest levels of heart disease than any community in the nation! Arguably due to their Social and inter-personal activity and function as a community.
My concern here is that our own technological advances are numbing us to CRITICAL aspects of social and medical health for humans – Social Interaction. Further, I am concerned that through the strict selection of those we expose ourselves to (such as in this instance where one selects to interact only in specific social settings) will further segment the social landscape, and reduce our ability to see, accept, and make advancements from differences in social make-up, adversity, and what makes America – Diversity.
I’m not overly religious, and I don’t use the following quote to be so (I’ll probably quote it incorrectly), but it applies: “The greatest feat the Devil ever pulled was making people believe he didn’t exist”. Regardless of religious belief, it is a great example. Are we slowly reducing ourselves as a nation, and as Society while we are leading ourselves to believe that we are advancing?
*Photography Credit: Ben Hider Photography Taken 6/28/2013 (Opinions and sentiments of this article, or LifebyDamien.com, in no way reflect that, or represent the opinions, sentiments or positions of Ben Hider Photography. Ben just takes great photos!)