Bethany is a junior in her second year of journalism and is editor of The Fluco Beat. She enjoys painting and spending time with friends. She has a border...
The Pros & Cons Of Kids Having Technology
May 24, 2021
In 2015, a survey conducted by Common Sense Media found that 1 in 5 children receive their first cellular device by eight years old. More than half of the children in the United States receive their first phone by the time they turn eleven.
Some of you may see no problem with these statistics, but for others, these results make their head spin. There are pros and cons to almost every situation, especially concerning this controversial question: How early is too early for children to be exposed to technology?
Technology is everywhere in our modern world, and it is hard to escape it. Children are constantly exposed to technology wherever they go. There are even technology classes some kids have to take in school. Some parents out there believe that this type of exposure to technology is not beneficial to the child’s development.
Mauricio Canales has a five-year-old daughter named Charlotte. They have made an effort to ensure that she has not been exposed to any technology, although she understands and knows what it is. “For me, there are a lot of reasons why we keep technology away,” he said. “Not having technology in the home or around helps children hone in on their creativity. Fostering an environment for creativity allows for imaginative and engaging play. It also cultivates quality time with her, without interruption by ‘phone snubbing’. We are able to read to her a lot and tell oral stories, which is far more engaging neurologically and supports learning and social adaptation,” he added.
Canales notes that removing technology also allows Charlotte to focus on outside play and overall body movement. “Learning to move and be comfortable with their body, develop hand-eye coordination, and have overall balance helps to prime their potential and how they’ll perform later on in life,” said Canales.
One problem that people have been noticing with excessive use of technology with children is that they have lower attention spans than they should. Our brains have adapted to the instant gratification provided by technology. Most of the time you only have to wait a couple of seconds before the technology registers what you want from it, so when they are forced to wait for something, they get impatient and can’t focus.
Some other negatives of access to technology include:
- Lack of Privacy- When you put something on social media, it is there forever. No matter how hard you try to delete it, it will always be out there somewhere. It is so easy for someone to look up your name and find out a lot of information about you. By not using excessive amounts of technology, you lower the risk of your private information being spread.
- Depression- Have you ever seen something online that makes you feel upset? Some of the things portrayed on the internet have this effect on people. The more you expose yourself to this feeling, the more chance you have of developing depression.
- Obesity- although technology can be on the go, most of the time we find ourselves sitting down for long periods of time using technology instead of getting the exercise we need. This lack of exercise leads to obesity in many adolescents.
- Bullying- One huge problem in today’s society is cyberbullying. Cyberbullying is bullying through social media or any kind of technology. According to Statista, a statistics website that collects data, 36.5% of teenagers across the U.S. have experienced cyberbullying sometime in their lifetime.
Although some people feel as though technology is bad for young kids, many others feel the opposite. Makayla Gentry, a sophomore at FCHS, has different opinions on the subject. Gentry was given a phone when she was around seven-years-old. She believes that her exposure to the device at such a young age did not help or hurt her in the long run. “It was definitely nice to be able to have some freedom as a young kid and to be able to talk to my family whenever I wanted,” said Gentry.
While there are many negative impacts on allowing young children to use technology, there are some positives as well. One major plus to allowing children to be exposed to technology is that they are able to learn using the technology. Many schools incorporate technology into everyday instruction and it is the main way they teach the students. The students are able to be exposed to a more interactive style of learning when they use technology instead of the typical pen and paper style.
Some other positives include the following:
- Preparation for possible technology based jobs in the future- exposure to technology at a young age opens up opportunities for certain careers that may interest you.
- Increased levels of multitasking- many kids games on the phone or computer have high levels of multitasking and attention span in order to play. Although online games are not the exact same as real life, it may help prepare the child for something they may experience in the future.
- Education- there are many educational games and websites that are available on the computer or phone. These websites/games could help your child learn something new and gain more knowledge.
- More available social life- one big part of development for a child is social skills. You use your social skills almost everyday as an adult and in adolescence. Using technology, some kids are able to build on these social skills to prepare themselves for what the future may hold for them.
In the end, technology is everywhere and it is associated with almost everything we do. It is extremely difficult to completely cut yourself off from all technology, but it is definitely possible if it is something you want to do for yourself or your child.