There is nothing to argue as to what benefits technological advancements have brought into the modern world. It is making both work and play easier and simpler. Undoubtedly, it has changed the way people think, feel, communicate, and live. Although the transition of such change is abrupt, it has been welcomed by the general population. However, it is one of the many worldly breakthroughs which its effects are disputed into two: benefits and costs. It may be generally advantageous but could be detrimental to children who are still learning and developing.
Children of the past generations are expected to take part in household chores. They would interact and spend a big amount of time with other children in the neighborhood. They are very physically active and participative. There seems to be no day that they will not spend most of their time outside. Children find joy in cycling bikes, running around, swimming in lakes, playing tag, and communicating with other kids in the neighborhood or even to kids who are total strangers to them. They just connect automatically when they see each other.
Now, a child’s companion and best friend could be his or her computer, cell phone, or iPad. Children of this generation find more comfort and joy in spending their time playing online or computer games. Most of them do not find happiness in the simple fact of being together anymore. They tend to be with their favorite gadgets. There are no more bicycle rides, tag games, lake swimming, and outdoor sports exposure. Activities of the past generation have been replaced by technology.
In the past, there was a great joy in conversing with family members during meal times in dining rooms. Now, even when it is time to eat, children would rather face their gadgets and not talk to the other family members. Even when children are at school or at public places, they could prefer playing with their gadgets rather than exploring their physical environment. These may result in deterioration of family core values. If these persist, can you imagine how the children of today will be like in the future?
Don’t get it wrong. The brilliant inventors and innovators created these technological gadgets with a pure intent. The circumstances of their innovative works now greatly depend on the users. The fault comes in when parents fail to monitor and control children’s use of technoloy.
Here are some negative effects of technology to children:
• Health complications: Children would spend their time sitting around while playing with their gadgets. Since there is less movement, fats from food intake would accumulate, slowly making the child obese. This, then, leads to certain diseases like heart failures, hypertension, and diabetes. Children are also exposed to the harmful blue light during evening use because of the suppression of the melatonin that regulates the sleep wake cycle.
• Failed relationships: Obviously, when children prefer to spend more time with their gadgets, the less they interact with the people around them. If children interact less with their parents, there would be no creation of a special bond between them. At worst, this could result to disharmony and disunity among the family members where children would rather find comfort and security with their gadgets.
• Exposure to risks: There are numerous sites of adult entertainment that are harmful for kids to access. The moment they are introduced to such materials, it will be difficult for them not to explore further.
• Poor social skills: Being preoccupied with playing gadgets would mean spending more time alone. Children would get used to and would choose to be alone where they do not engage in conversations with others. If this continues while they are growing up, the more they will be accustomed to it. Dealing with other people will not be easy for them. With all these challenges, the child could suffer depression and other mental illnesses.
• Poor writing and communication skills: Standard English is not used in chatting or in texting. Unconsciously, children make use of such method at home and at school, which results to poor writing and communication skills.
On the other hand, children being exposed to technology, has its own share of pros:
• Fun and leisure: Being able to play with gadgets allows children to think that having fun is important. Aside from having friends, children learn that there another avenue to express himself or herself.
• Exposure: Being exposed to technology at an early age with the guidance of adults, children learn some know-how’s in life aside from making friends, spending time with family, playing outdoors, learning to sing the alphabet and to count.
• Love, comfort, and security: Being provided with material possessions may be a form of love perceived by children towards their parents.
• Learning: Various information can be found on the internet and there are numerous technological tools that are created to cater to the needs of the children. Children, then, can access them anytime and anywhere through the aid of technology with their own convenience.
• Competition skills: When children play games with other family members, relatives, or friends, they enhance their competitive skills. This gradually affects how they will compete in the real world.
Everything taken too much will always bear negative results. The same goes to this issue. There should be no deprivation nor overuse.
• Do not deprive children from technological use. Set daily limits on when to use technological tools.
• Use technology purposefully. Encourage children to pick their favorite shows to watch or to just use social media in chatting friends. Choose games that could structure a child’s intellectual capacity.
• For parents, set a good example. Follow the rules that they also follow.
• Do not use technological tools to keep children busy and quiet. They will get accustomed to it and might think that the action is right.
Raising a child is not an easy task to do. It is important to keep on balancing between the pros and cons of children using technology. Parents need to master this skill. No matter how abrupt and rapid technological advancements may be, the present generation could learn how to handle and control the gadgets. To couple the unstoppable advancements of technology, adults should make sure that children’s use of technology is facilitating their growth.