Children and technology: positive and negative effects.
Photo by Patricia Prudente on Unsplash
Technology has become an integral part of our daily lives, and children are no exception. As smartphones, tablets, and laptops become more accessible and affordable, it’s not uncommon for children as young as toddlers to have access to digital devices.
But what impact is this constant access to technology having on our children?
In this article, we’ll explore technology’s positive and negative effects on children, and discuss ways to mitigate the negative impacts. From improved education to increased risk of depression, the effects of technology on children is a topic that every parent, educator, and policy maker should be aware of.
Positive effects of technology on children
Access to information and resources
Providing children with access to information and resources can be extremely beneficial in their development and educational growth. With the right guidance, technology enables students to access a wide array of educational and extracurricular materials.
It allows them to deepen their understanding of course material by providing an abundance of online reading materials or tutorials, and using multimedia tools to help them learn their lesson in a fun and engaging way. Moreover, easy access to library material is available for research projects or general leisure reading.
By utilizing these resources appropriately, children can craft greater confidence in the topics they are studying and develop further research and development skills outside of class.
Improved learning and engagement
Education is a fundamental human right and an important component of living a productive life. For the well-being of children in the future, they must be provided with educational benefits to optimize their learning and engagement.
Two primary advantages improved learning and engagement offer are increased self-esteem and a greater likelihood of success in the future. Increased self-esteem corresponds with improved academic performance, as motivated students are more likely to focus on their studies and strive for excellence.
While better engagement can result in better motivation, which leads to a strengthened focus on subjects and schoolwork, resulting in higher grades overall. Hence, educational benefits geared towards improving learning and engagement can have long-term implications for students in terms of providing them with greater opportunities for success.
Development of essential skills such as problem-solving and critical thinking
One of the educational benefits for children is the development of important skills such as problem-solving and critical thinking. To do this, students should be actively encouraged to approach tasks in an engaged and creative state of mind.
It will help them understand how to assess situations and devise solutions thoughtfully, enabling them to operate independently and confidently. These essential skills empower our children both academically and personally – something that will serve them well in their future endeavors.
Improved communication and connection with others
Social benefits for children are plentiful. One such example is improved communication and connection with others.
Positive social interaction enables children to develop the essential skills required for successful communication and healthy relationships throughout childhood and later in life. It can also positively affect mental well-being, as children learn from one another and build confidence through interpersonal conversational exchange without fear of judgment.
In addition, participating in group activities encourages teamwork, cooperation, and empathy; helps build an understanding of how communities work and how they can support each other; and teaches that everyone has something to bring to the table.
These skills will stay with them well into adulthood, allowing them to thrive in their relationships, careers, and everyday lives.
Increased opportunities for collaboration and teamwork
Children can benefit from increased opportunities to collaborate and form teams, allowing them to build interpersonal skills in a practical and useful way. Working as a part of a team or in collaboration with others accomplishes more than working independently and building important social links.
Listening to others’ opinions and working together towards a shared goal develops communication skills, builds trust between peers, and strengthens problem-solving abilities that help children develop personal resilience. The more experience children have in forming teams, explaining ideas, and collaborating, the healthier the future relationships they will have with those around them.
Exposure to diverse perspectives and cultures
When exposed to diverse perspectives and cultures, children’s social benefits are far-reaching and essential in developing a well-rounded individual. Exposure to diverse ideas and backgrounds encourages children to think critically, be open-minded, and learn acceptance of those different than themselves.
From a very early age, children can start developing the skills needed to engage with various people worldwide. With this knowledge, children can grow up understanding that just because something is different does not mean it is bad or wrong.
Furthermore, this exposure helps create stronger relationships among family members, friends, peers, and the community. Exposure to other cultures through food, music, and language allows children to better understand how everyone is connected to one planet.
As they grow older, these values are even more important since they help foster open-mindedness toward differences while embracing empathy towards them.
Negative effects of technology on children
Decreased physical activity and increased sedentary behavior
With technology at the forefront of our lives, children are growing up in a world where physical activity and sedentary behavior are drastically changing. Unfortunately, the availability of technology has vastly decreased a child’s daily physical activity and increased their sedentary behaviors such as watching television or browsing on the internet.
This development has created an increase in childhood obesity which can lead to social challenges and can also have long-term health implications if not addressed. Therefore, parents should monitor technology time for their children and ensure that healthy lifestyle habits including regular physical activities are incorporated into their daily routine.
Increased risk of other health problems
Prolonged technology use has been linked to higher rates of obesity among children due to the sedentary behavior technology encourages, as well as having a significant impact on their diet. Furthermore, technology usage has been associated with poor sleep quality in children, resulting in feelings of tiredness during the day.
It can lead to a lack of physical activity and exercise needed for building muscle strength and maintaining a healthy lifestyle. As technology continues its rapid advance, it is important to balance it with physical activity to minimize its negative effects.
Decreased sleep quality
A lack of technology boundaries can lead to longer than necessary hours spent on devices, leading to later bedtimes and less sleep overall. While technology is not the sole cause of decreased sleep quality, it can be a contributing factor and should be managed accordingly.
The decrease in children’s sleep quality resulting from improper technology management can manifest as physical exhaustion, difficulty concentrating, irritability, and mood swings.
In conclusion, children’s responsible use of technology is important for their physical, social, and emotional development. To effectively utilize technology in a positive way, parents, educators, and policymakers should:
- Set clear boundaries on how much time children spend using technology daily.
- Encourage physical activity to promote good health habits and help reduce the risk of obesity.
- Ensure adults supervise technology to use to ensure age-appropriate content and activities are accessed.
- Support exposure to other cultures through books, videos, and discussions.
- Encourage children to take regular breaks from screens, especially before bedtime.
- Educate children on the dangers of oversharing personal information online.
- Help children develop critical thinking skills to distinguish real news from false information.
- Model responsible use of technology for children to help them learn and understand its proper use.
- Provide access to mental health professionals when necessary to address any issues related to excessive technology usage.