Is Technology Really Ruining Kids: In northeast Mississippi, on March 19, 2018, a 13-year-old girl was died after being shot by her 9-year-old brother over a fight about a video game. This is one of the several stories around the globe that reveal the shocking effects of technology on child development. With ever-increasing dependence on it, technology has become a part and parcel of our daily life making the modern era as ‘stay-connected’ one. Consequently, it’s quite difficult to stop the new generations from desiring to have frequent access to it.
It has posed more than ever responsibility on the parents today to not only model the restricted and only necessary use of technology before the young ones but also keeps an eye on its use by them. To materialize this, we need to understand the impact and implications of tech on children and make the positive use of it possible so that it might not affect their behaviour and development negatively.
Correct use of technology can actually be a godsend to help cognitive development and sharpening skills. The spatial and musical aspects of intelligence as proposed by Howard Gardner in his theory of multiple intelligence are directly linked with modern-day technology. Moreover, regular use of technology can help to make children multi-tasking when they learn to do several things at the same time. However, unrestricted and unmonitored use may lead to negative development and over-dependence on gadgets.
Generalizing Critical Period Hypothesis (CPH) we may assume that the likelihood of children being affected by social environment and input is high and the impacts are more serious. Despite the positive sway of early exposure to technology, there might be a few negative upshots of overuse of it.
Technology has proved to be a great distraction. The ever-increasing number of social media apps and their continuous updating, unhealthy competition in the gaming industry, ever-improving audio-visual quality, and free access to all of them is stealing the quality time of young children as they feel a need to be engaged in all the above. They are decreasing the attention span of children as they continuously move from one app to another which is resulting in the same behaviour in their social dealings and task fulfilment. As imagination in most of the cases is a result of focus, young children being not focused are lacking a great deal of imagination which is actually affecting their writing skills and flow of ideas. With a balanced use of technology, the children may spare time for book reading which can lead to the nourishment of imagination and ideas.
Having less contact with the real world and more dependence on gadgets and technology, the children may also lose their natural ability of critical thinking. It is obvious that the best in man comes out when the best is challenged. Simplified versions of every text, direct access to the dictionary by just a touch-and-hold on a particular word and easy access to explanation can restrict the use of reading, writing, and discussion skills.
Furthermore, in the realm of social media and excessive use of technology, the privacy of the younger generation is at risk. In a craze of making more and more friends and followers, they are more prone to share their home addresses, study places, and other private information that make them vulnerable against hacking, threatening, bullying, and some time to sexual abuse and exploitation. The common wish to look attractive has brought our children on the verge of hypocrisy and the children from middle or lower-middle families pretend to belong from rich families which may eventually lead them to social evils to achieve what they dream.
It is, however, also not wise to ban the use of technology when the world has turned into a global street. Technology can be proved a boon if used wisely.
With the rapid advancement in the field of education, parents alone cannot cope up with the queries the children may raise during their homework when they stuck. Technology here not only saves time but money as well. Moreover, they can access different subject specialists around the globe through YouTube videos, blogs, and vlogs and can better understand a theory or idea if not satisfied with the explanation provided by their school teacher. WhatsApp groups nowadays are one of the best media of discussion among classmates.
Amidst this COVID-19 outbreak, educational institutes are closed all over the world and the people have felt the need for virtual classrooms more than ever. In most of the countries, the students are connected with their teachers through Google classroom, Microsoft teams, Skype, and several other sources.
Along with this, there are several puzzles like video games that are quite helpful to release stress and have a mental break. They not only relax you mentally but may also enhance the ability to focus and remember hence help retaining memory.
This is a fact that the children are technology-native whereas most of the parents are technology-immigrants. In this case, it is difficult for the parents to keep a vigilant eye on technology use by kids. The parents need to equip themselves in order to make the use of technology productive and not destructive or distractive. They should set a timetable for their children which may include reasonable screen time. If necessary, the screen time may be set as some reward or positive reinforcement which could be allotted only on the fulfilment of certain conditions like timely completion of study tasks, necessary outdoor game or play, as a reward of some physical exercise, etc.
They also need to model themselves before them to inculcate positive behaviour rather than only dictating them. Parents can devout some time for storytelling, physical activity, or mental game with kids to incite their imagination, ensure their physical health, and enrich critical thinking. If it happens, we may have fewer complaints about technology.
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