Technology has had a significant effect on children. Kids in the current generation are enamored with technology. Although, perhaps it is not the fact they adore technology so much as it is the simple fact they have never lived without it.
Kids today would probably have a pretty difficult time imaging life without items such as video games, Internet, cable, cellphones and tablets. There are very few children who aren't technically savvy and adept at using these gadgets since they have become a part of every day life.
Technology has had many effects on children, some effects are good, others not so much. In either case, society has to adapt to the fact technology is going to continue to grow and be a staple in a child's life. Innovation and technological progress is not going to go away anytime soon, if anything technology will become a larger influence in their lives as this rapid pace of development continues.
Here are some of the negative and positive effects of technology on children:
Negative effects of technology on children
In days past, many children spent their days running around the neighborhood and driving bicycles to the store for ice cream. Video games were played in the form of 'cops and robbers' and other children's games out in the backyard. Life was more carefree and kids didn't have any electronic toys to keep them occupied. Additionally, parents didn't have to worry nearly as much as they do today when sending their kids out to play. Life was very different pre-technology.
Technology has given extended news in a variety of mediums, with heightened exposure to negativity because it is available 24/7. Today the media thrives on generating fear, and people are constantly bombarded with the negatives in society. While the expansion of the news, due to technology-driven ways to share, doesn't directly impact children, it indirectly has a huge effect on their lives. Parents are fearful to let their children escape to the adventures of the outdoors alone and, as an alternative, have often provided electronic devices as a replacement for entertainment. Kids nowadays tend to occupy themselves with digital "toys".
There are other direct effects of technology on children. Society is currently in a debate over problematic issues such as childhood obesity, addiction to gaming/Internet and faced with the challenges of how to protect kids from Internet predators. All of this issues are blamed on and often linked to the development and expansion of technology.
Additionally, some question whether or not technology has caused a decline in moral judgment in children. For instance, how many parents sit around the dinner table and discuss the ethics of illegal downloads from the Internet? Traditionally, parents teach their children not to shoplift, but theoretically, is illegally downloading movies and music much different? Or what about the violent content often displayed in video games?
There is also speculation that technology causes laziness in children. Technology doesn't necessarily cause laziness, but it can give tendency to it for those children who haven't been taught any other way. Another effect that is potentially occurring is a loss of "reality" sometimes occurs when kids (and adults!) get too wrapped up in virtual life.
All of these effects, however, can be fixed with parental responsibility, intervention and guidance.
Positive effects of technology on children
Despite the drawbacks, all of the effects from technology on children are not negative. In fact technology has unequivocally increased the quality of life in many ways.
Technology offers children a sense of empowerment and provides kids with the tools needed to solve problems. Some argue that electronic devices dumb people down but, theoretically, this doesn't occur unless it acts as a constant replacement for problem solving. Technology, specifically the Internet, offers a vast amount of knowledge and children have access to absorb much of this information. Computer software, designed specifically for learning, can also be a terrific tool to utilize in developmental learning and creativity.
Video games offer ways for kids to collaborate and take turns. In this way, they learn basic principals, such as teamwork and sharing. This is not to exclude motor skills and hand-eye coordination that is improved due to the movements needed to effectively navigate a mouse or play a video game.
The key to balancing these positive and negative effects of technology on children is moderation. If parents allow their children to maximize and absorb the benefits of technology while minimizing their exposure to the down sides to technology it is a win-win scenario because kids receive the best of worlds.
Parents can strategically use technology to enhance the learning experience, generating positive effects. Technology is here to stay and, as a society, we need to guide children towards the future because, after all, whatever impact technology has on them now is what will shape society's forthcoming generations.