In today’s technologically advanced world, kids are becoming more and more accustomed to having access to a device with an interactive screen. Some believe this is entirely overwhelming and destroying the youth of the generation. While others see it as the way of the future and don’t necessarily think that it is a bad thing to allow children access to all kinds of devices and technology.
But is technology helping or hindering children? Or is there a happy middle ground that can be settled on? As the old adage goes, everything in moderation. Now, we will not debate that there are clear cut good things and bad things that come with the use of technology, but it’s more than just looking at Sports News and playing video games.
Let’s take a deeper dive into the good and bads of technology in the hands of children and see if we can’t find a good middle ground where everyone can mostly agree on technology being used as a good thing for our children and their future.
There are numerous different bad things that inevitably will come out of almost anything we spend time on, and technology is no different. There have been numerous topics that come up as bad outcomes stemming directly from the high user rate of technology by children. They include lower attention spans, increased risk of privacy, depression, obesity, falling grades, bullying, and face-to-face social issues.
These can all be affects from the use of technology, but in the case of all of these, are the outcomes being properly monitored or are young children and adolescents being given too much free rein over their screen time? Issues such as attention spans, depression, obesity, falling grades, and face-to-face social issues stem from a lack of boundaries with technology, not directly tied with simply using them, but rather by abusing them.
Increased risk of privacy, bullying, and a myriad of other issues stemming from so-called use of technology are more so due to the lack of supervision and parental attention. The bads are bad, but not directly from the technology itself, but rather the discipline and abuse of the tool. And those that are quick to demonize technology are often those who benefit from it and use it in a responsible way.
While we often hear about all the bad things that go with the use of technology and children, there are many good things that can come from the use of technology as well. Technology can help with learning in the classroom, preparing for the future of technology, improved usage skills, multitasking, improved problem solving, and better decision making.
Technology gives children access to a wealth of information that many years ago would have been found only in textbooks and encyclopedias. The access to information should be seen as one of the most important aspects of technology for kids of any age and schools are starting to employ the use of devices in the classroom. And in the future, technology will be a leading force in anything we do as a society.
Improving the usage of technology skills will help improve children’s ability to multitask, increase their ability to problem solve through the use of apps and games, and create better, faster decision making skills. But there needs to be accountability and supervision to make these good things happen.
This is not a black and white subject of debate, but rather there needs to be some common middle ground where everyone can congregate in order to find balance in technology use for children. Limits and supervision should be established in helping our children learn how to use technology safely and to the highest level of benefit without allowing children to enter the pitfalls of technology use.
Set time limits and use parental controls to limit access to undesirable information and content streams. This may take some time, but it is important. Go over expectations with your children and even play games and interact with children while they are on their devices. And let them safely explore. You never know exactly where the technology might take them in the future.