Technology advancement over the past years has been rapid. Compared to the nineteenth century, exposure to technology worldwide in the 21st century is at a much higher percentage. These days, access to smartphones and other electronic gadgets is effortless and has become relatively cheap. Technology plays a vital role in the growth and advancement of human beings. The internet, computers, television, video games, mobile phones, and many other electronic gadgets play vital roles in people's lives. Developed countries have been able to assimilate computer use in the school curriculum while steps are being taken by the developing countries to imitate the same. Children cannot be described as viewers; instead, they are active users. They learn by mimicking what they see be it from their caregivers or the media. There are many risks involved in embracing technology as an education media. Although technology has a crucial role in the education of children, there are still many negative impacts of technology on their development.
Technology has several negative impacts on a child's social skills and interaction development. Excessive use of technology such as television, playing video games and the internet impairs the development of a child's social skills. Children are unable to make friends in person; they do not take responsibility for their actions and fail to develop healthy communication skills. When interacting with peers or adults, children who use electronic gadgets a lot are unable to maintain eye contact. Avoidance of social situations due to social anxiety is also a consequence of the excessive use of technological devices. Watching television is not a creative activity. Too much tv, therefore, reduces the creativity of a child which is true for any other form of entertainment media. More time is spent sitting down and watching activities performed by others instead of on hobbies and improving the child's talent (Ortiz).
Studies have shown that excessive use of electronics, such as televisions and computers, causes grey matter atrophy. This is the shrinkage or loss of tissue volume. The grey matter controls memory, muscle control, emotion, speech, decision making, self-control and sensory perception such as seeing and hearing. Shrinkage in the grey matter, therefore, affects these functions. Executive functions of the brain are also impaired including the ability to plan, prioritize, organize and control impulses. Cognitive skills such as judgment and emotional regulation are affected. Volume loss in the insula, which is responsible for the development of empathy and the ability to read social skills, occurs. The development of the child's brain is thus impaired due to the loss of tissue volume (Ortiz).
Watching television and other media for children between 6-18 months is associated with a substantial decrement in the rate of language development. Studies done show that each hour of watching baby shows caused a 17 point decrease in language scores while reading to children every day resulted in a 7 point increase in language scores. The decrease in language scores can be attributed to the fact that very young children are sometimes incapable of linking objects, people and events in a video to reality making it hard for them to learn from media (Bavelier et al. 8).
The brain of a child is more susceptible to influence by the environment. Some forms of technology such as video games can be addictive thus affecting the brain development. Playing video games releases dopamine and produces effects that are similar to drug cravings (Ortiz). Although video-game and internet addiction are yet to be recognized as psychiatric disorders, there is an emerging scientific consensus that they could be pathological. The term pathological implies that there is a reduction in the ability of children to function normally in the society (Bavelier et al. 8).
Long periods of electronic equipment use such as television sets and computers increase the risk of obesity and other physical conditions associated with inactivity in children (Malamud and Pop-Echeles 3). When children spend numerous hours in front of the television or computers playing games, the chances of going out to play are scarce. This laxity and lack of physical activity lead to increased body fat and the risk of obesity. Obesity, in turn, increases the risk of other heart conditions thus affecting the physical development of a child. On the other hand, children who participate in organized sports enjoyed both physical and social benefits. Participation in sports helps develop motor skills, social interaction, creativity, and enjoyment. Studies also show that participation in physical activities improves psychological health (Yeora 6). Media activities do not involve any mental or physical exertion. Therefore, physical and mental development is impaired.
A study performed showed that presence of computers at home negatively affected children's GPA scores (Malamud and Pop-Echeles 3). The decrease in GPA is typical of any other electronic equipment. The duration children spend studying reduces when there are technological devices such as computers at home. A reduction in the amount of study time directly impacts school performance. The intellectual development of children is impaired especially when there is no parental supervision to limit the use of computers or televisions.
In as much as technology has many negative impacts, it is impossible to thoroughly discredit it since there are very many advantages it offers. For children to fully enjoy the use of technology in a positive way, parental supervision and control are very important. Technology must be used in moderation since too much of anything is poisonous as shown in the points discussed.
Bavelier Daphne, Green Shawn, and Dye Matthew. "Children, Wired - for Better and for Worse." September 2010, pp. 3-11, doi:10.1016/j.neuron.2010.08.035. Pdf. Accessed 12 May 2018.
Malamud, Ofer, and Pop-Echeles, Cristian. "The Effect of Computer Use on Child Outcomes." May 2008, pp. 2-24, www.columbia.edu>edu>paper>computer2.pdf. Accessed 12 May 2018.
Ortiz, Adrienne. "Negative Effects of Technology on Children," San Angelo Times, 19 April 2016, www.gosanangelo.com>wellness. Accessed 12 May 2018.
Yeora, Kim. "The Impact of the Internet on Children's Daily Lives: Physical, Social and Psychological Well-being".2003, pp. 1-97, www.getd.libs.uga.edu>pdf>kim_Yeora.pdf. Accessed 12 May 2018.
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