How Our Kids Will Use Technology to Save the Planet

Family Matters on 11.22.11
Contributor bio | twitter

Photo: Laura St. John / Sara Young

Oh, technology, you are just like a celebrity: Only the bad news -- obesity, cyberbullying, sexting, blowing things up -- makes the BIG news. What about all the good stuff you do for us?

How Kids + Technology = Solution

Besides the amazing feat of connecting over 500 million people in the entire planet together (I bet you can count on one hand the number of people in your life who refuse to join the rest of us on Facebook), technology has the power to solve our world's most complex problems: new cures, clean air, energy.

Everyday, I help teach the beneficial impact of technology to our future leaders -- kids. The most amazing thing happens when a young mind starts to absorb that technology is not just another interactive plaything. I promise that both you and I can sleep better tonight knowing that the thousands of kids we've taught with our Puterbugs program will be way more prepared for the digital world -- more than we ever were (or could ever be). The advances just didn't exist when our ship sailed. (My wooden ship had 386 computers and tattered sails -- how about yours?)

A Breakthrough of New Cures, Clean Air & Energy

It's likely that you missed the recent news when online gamers cracked the AIDS enzyme puzzle. (Like I was saying earlier -- good news often equals no news.) After scientists were stumped for 10 years, online gamers came to the rescue with their amazing spatial reasoning skills and and created the enzyme model -- in just 3 weeks! That's not only good for the medications that scientists may now be able to make due to this breakthrough, it also tranlates to great news for my kids: I think twice before unplugging them from monster-truck driving, super Mario-gaming actvities. When directed properly, I know it's giving them a skillset that may pay off someday with an amazing discovery!

More news: Did you hear about the 13-year-old boy's idea that may revolutionize solar power? (Probably not.) He came up with the great idea to design solar panels like tree branches to collect the sunlight. Now that's what I'm talking about!

The Opportunity is Now

If you want your kids to think creatively when it comes to technology, then begin prompting it now. Learning opportunities are everywhere: become aware and jump on them. For example, when you start your car to drive them to school, you can talk about gasoline, hybrid cars, and electric cars. That opens the door up to talk about how to get electricity through our sun's energy. That leads to the opportunity to talk about why we need to keep our air and planet clean. Seriously, it can go on and on -- and I'd love to hear about how your kids respond. Their perspective is so fresh.

From solar to wind power, hybrid to electric cars, oh technology, I can't wait to turn the keys over to the next generation. When their ship sails -- probably a rocket ship -- they will make you the star celebrity you deserve to be.

Laura St. John is Co-Creator of Discovery Kids Puterbugs, a technology program for kids that teaches kids 8 and younger healthy ways to use technology as a tool, not just a toy. Classes are offered in locations throughout the US, as well as an anywhere-anytime online format. Join Laura's webinar on Dec 1 at 1pm EST to learn more about bringing the program to your area.

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