Nobody can deny that technology has been a tremendous advance to human kind. Thanks to technology, the world moved faster the last decade compared to other times. Certainly, the world isn’t the same since computers, tablets, smartphones and 3D printers arrived.
Like all things in life, technology has a good side and a bad side. So, what once was a tool to develop your intellectual abilities, sooner or later can become an addiction. And it seems that adults aren’t the only ones who are spending too much time on their devices. The children too.
In this article you’ll know the positive and negative effects of technology on children. You’ll also know some practical tips to control what your children see through their electronic devices.
Certainly, technology can help your children develop their cognitive skills. For sure, children these days know many more things compared to our grandparents at the same age. Therefore, the use of technology will open the doors to more advanced technologies, leading us to an era of unprecedented progress.
1. Improves learning
The implementation of new technologies in classrooms has greatly improved student performance. These days, devices such as 3D printers, Apple TVs, document cameras and Smartboards are common elements in many schools around the world.
These devices take the experience of learning to the next level, encouraging students to learn more. Teachers have found in the new technologies a powerful tool to cause a great impact on students.
It’s proven that smart devices are very useful for teaching colors, letters and numbers to toddlers. Many parents are currently using apps such as Metamorphabet and Moose Math to give their young children their first lessons. This will help them to be better prepared before starting school.
2. Teaches how to solve problems
Not all video games are bad. Some teach valuable lessons to our children. As for example, how to solve complex problems and make your own decisions. Minecraft is a very popular game among young audiences. It offers a wide variety of game modes that can be very educational for your children.
For example, on the “Survival Mode,” the player is inserted in different scenarios full of challenges and dangers. The main objective is to take advantage of resources in the environment and survive for a certain period of time.
These kinds of games help young people to make different decisions to reach a goal. They also help them to be independent and to recognize that each decision has a different consequence. That way, children can learn valuable lessons that will help them face the challenges of real life.
For example, when trying to solve the math homework, having disagreements with classmates and other common problems at young ages.
3. Creates new technological entrepreneurs
Certainly, technology has come to stay. It’s very likely that our survival in the future depends on the new technologies that are currently being developed. And many children of these times will be the developers of the future ones.
So, it’s important to teach children at an early age how to use electronic devices to stimulate their interest. With the emergence of large technology companies, tech jobs are increasingly common. So, preparing your children now is the best way to guarantee a better future for them.
Tech summer camps are an excellent alternative to expose your children to the newest technologies. Many actual celebrities from the world of technology spent their vacations in tech summer camps and recognize that this experience helped them choose the right career.
4. Improves creativity
In the past, children only had crayons and a piece of paper to transmit their ideas and explain them to other people. But, a flat drawing only gives you a 2D perspective of things. However, computers and tablets have allowed many children to develop a realistic representation of their ideas.
With the right software, a child can make a 3D model, animate it and even make a prototype using a 3D printer. All this may be possible in less time than it would take to draw and make a model with your own hands. So, thanks to new technologies, no dream is impossible.
5. Helps to find people with common interests
Technology exposure also has good effectson the way your children interact with other children. Things like mobile apps, social media and video games help your children find friends who share their interest in technology.
When people unite in pursuit of a common interest, they can achieve great things. For example, they can form their own group of programmers and start developing their own apps and video games.
Tech summer camps offer an excellent opportunity for children to form lasting bonds with other children. Perhaps, these children may be the partners of your children in their future business projects.
6. Gives freedom of mind
Certainly, knowledge makes you free. With the right technology, any child is able to work on an idea until it comes true. For example, if a child has a unique idea, he/she can research online to find out if there’s any precedent. He/she can be inspired by other people’s ideas and find valuable information.
With technology, a child can develop their own ideas without requiring the help of someone else. That gives them the sense of independence and empowerment they need to be successful in future.
Many people are afraid of doing new things simply because of their lack of experience. However, children who know how to use the new technologies will have much more experience than the adults these days, so they won’t be afraid to take risks.
7. Generates new job opportunities
Amazon, Apple, Google, Facebook and other important tech companies generate thousands of jobs every day. And it seems that this trend will continue to grow in the coming years with the adoption of new technologies by younger audiences. So, it’s a good idea to encourage your children to pursue a tech career.
In the past, Silicon Valley was the best place to get a tech job. However, that’s starting to change. Places like Chicago, Boston, Dallas and Atlanta are generating thousands of jobs for technology enthusiasts.
Tech jobs are popular today and will continue to be in the future. So, those with more experience will occupy the most important positions on well-known high tech companies. And the best way to gain experience is to start learning from now.
As you can see, the benefits of new technologies are many. However, abusing them also has its consequences. Below you’ll find a detailed explanation of the harmful effects of electronic gadgets.
1. Retards physical development
Activities such as crawling, walking and running are healthy for toddlers. That way, their muscles and bones develop better. In addition, they learn to make their own decisions from an early age.
It isn’t normal for a child to spend all day sitting in front of a TV, tablet or computer. Lack of physical activity can seriously affect children’s health.
2. Affects social interactions
Children, who spend too much time on their electronic devices, spend less time with other children. It seems s like the more connected you’re with social media, the less connected you’re with your friends and family.
Children need to interact with other children to learn to talk politely, make eye contact, listen carefully and use facial expressions. A child who doesn’t know how to interact with others will have many difficulties trying to face the real world. These difficulties will then become serious problems in adulthood.
3. Generates health problems
Overexposure to technology also has harmful effects on children’s health. For example, children who spend too much time in front of a screen have a high probability of suffering from obesity, neck and back pain and vision problems.
In the United States, about one third of children are obese. Many of these children prefer to spend time watching TV or surfing the Internet than practicing physical activities. During that time, children develop anxiety about consuming processed foods high in fat. These habits may increase the risk of obesity.
- Neck and back pain
Usually, children tend to tilt their head, neck and back in order to see better what appears on their electronic devices. Maintaining an inadequate posture for a long time has many negative effects on the human body.
A poor posture generates excessive efforts in muscles and bones, which triggers an unbearable pain over time. If the posture isn’t corrected in time, the damages caused could be irreversible.
- Vision problems
Children who spend too much time in front of a screen tend to blink less frequently, so their eyes become dry. The lack of eye fluid can cause infections and irreversible damage to the eyes. Also, long exposure to blue light from monitors reduces the production of melatonin, a hormone that induces sleep.
4. Reduces sleep hours
According to a recent study, children who use their electronic devices before going to bed are more likely to develop sleep disorders. Even having a smartphone or any similar devices near the bed during sleeping hours implies a high risk.
Children under 13 must sleep between 11-14 hours. Sleeping the necessary hours brings many benefits:
- Induces growth
- Prevents heart disease
- Helps you burn calories
- Facilitates the learning process
- Helps you stay alert
So, excessive use of electronic devices before and during bedtime will generate totally opposite effects on your health.
5. Interest in formal studies decreases
Technology can also affect children’s values. What was previously important as studying or doing homework begins to be irrelevant. The more time children spend playing video games or surfing the Internet, the less time they’ll have for their school activities.
Therefore, as a parent, you must set restrictions on your children and teach them that electronic devices aren’t an option during school activities. That way, they’ll learn to use technology only in their free time.
6. Generates loneliness feelings
Many parents give electronic devices to their children, ignoring the possible effects they may have on their personalities. Children who focus too much on their gadgets literally disconnect from the real world. They can spend hours watching a screen ignoring the things that happen around them.
Over time, the child becomes lonely and loses his interest in spending time with other children. This will seriously affect their personality and prevent them from relating to other people in the future.
7. Exposes to radiation
All wireless devices emit a certain level of radiation. Adults can withstand radiation better than children. A child’s body absorbs radiation at a different rate, increasing the chances of cancer and other serious illnesses.
So, if you have toddlers at home, try to minimize the time they spend on their electronic devices.
8. Violates privacy
Most children aren’t aware of the negative effects of sharing personal information on social networks. Although social networks keep you connected with other people, they also expose you to cyber-bullying.
Negative comments can have a terrible impact on children’s self-esteem. If children take seriously everything others write on the Internet, the effects could be devastating.
So, teach your children to ignore negative comments and block those contacts that may directly or indirectly be harassing them.
9. Generates attention deficiency
It’s difficult to catch a child’s attention when he/she is immersed in a virtual world. Children who spend all their time distracted playing with their electronic devices won’t pay attention to what’s going on around them.
Reading a story full of visual content could help you separate your children from their tablets, at least for a moment. Full-color images help develop the imagination. In addition, they stimulate children’s interest in learning to read to know what will happen in history.
10. Affects talking and writing skills
Certainly, people in the past wrote and spoke better than new generations. Smartphones don’t know about grammar rules. Everyone writes as they wish. It doesn’t matter if it’s right or wrong.
Children learn to speak and write with the content they find on social networks. In addition, those grammar correcting tools have diminished their interest in learning to write correctly.
11. Gives access to inappropriate content
The Internet is full of content that can be disturbing for an adult. Now imagine the effects that same content could cause on a child’s mind. Therefore, parents should restrict their children’s access to certain content.
On the Internet there are many applications that can help you do it. Even the newest web browsers include parental control options, preventing access to websites with adult content.