The exposure of children to modern technology has been a debatable subject in society for at least a decade. When compared to the Baby Boomers or even the X generation, modern youth has overwhelming access to information technology. If 25 years ago a rare family could afford a console, nowadays almost every child has a laptop and a smartphone, which they can use to access the Internet from virtually any location that has Wi-Fi or 4G internet. Although modern technology provides many opportunities for learning new skills, connecting with people across distances, and promoting the openness of information, the negative impact on the social and physical development of the new generation is the most worrisome.
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Positive Effects of Technology Exposure on Children
The 21st century is the most knowledge-intensive period in human history up to date. Computer technology is utilized in virtually every field of labor and practice (Hsin et al. 84). In that regard, children are not more exposed to technology than adults are. Familiarity with various operational and information-gathering systems are guarantees of future employment. In addition, the access to information that the Internet provides enables children to learn on their own, reducing the influence of the government and other interested parties in forming the hearts and minds of the new generation, effectively making them more independent (Hsin et al. 86).
Internet technology helped decrease the inequality of education as well, as even the poorest students could have access to virtually all of humanity’s accumulated knowledge. Without a doubt, technology can influence our children in a positive way, making them more open, tolerant, educated, and ready for the challenges of real life.
Negative Effects of Technology Exposure for Children
Although there are numerous positive effects of technology exposure, there is also a multitude of negative ones. Computers and the Internet provide an alternative social medium that offers the means of entertainment and conversation, which does not require the physical effort of going out or socializing directly. This creates social ineptitude in children, as they become less skilled in regular socialization. In addition, using the computer for more than 1 hour a day creates a myriad of health problems ranging from poor eyesight to obesity (Siddiqui and Singh 72). This adds to the social development problems that children have.
Another serious issue is the rift created between parents and children. Since technology is such an effective way of keeping a child docile and entertained, many working parents forego raising their child properly (Siddiqui and Singh 73). As a result, families become detached, and a lack of connection between parents and children leads to massive social and development problems. Parents are no longer viewed as role models and sources of knowledge, which effectively diminishes their authority and creates familial disobedience.
Lastly, due to a lack of effective control over the content on the Internet, the child is exposed to various streams of information. While some of that information is truthful and correct, some of it might be harmful due to being twisted, wrong, or of extremist nature (Siddiqui and Singh 74). Without any experience in the real world and an incomplete knowledge base, children are in danger of being indoctrinated by malevolent forces. In addition, plenty of information on the Internet is not worthwhile and is a complete waste of time.
Technology exposure, like nearly anything else in our lives, is a double-edged sword. It has the potential to do good as well as evil. The difference, like with medicine, is in the dosage. The government has no effective means of regulating access to technology and the internet without infringing basic human rights. Therefore, the task of raising their children adequately befalls the parents. Families should be educated about the proper use of technology and about the dangers lurking behind the web pages. Nevertheless, society has taken a turn towards a sedentary lifestyle, which will inevitably cause new social, political, and healthcare challenges.
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Hsin, Ching-Ting, et al. “The Influence of Young Children’s Use of Technology on Their Learning: A Review.” Journal of Educational Technology & Society, vol. 17, no. 4, 2014, pp. 85-99.
Siddiqui, Shabnoor, and Tajinder Singh. “Social Media Its Impact with Positive and Negative Aspects.” International Journal of Computer Applications Technology and Research, vol. 5, no. 2, 2016, pp. 71-75.