Date Started: 2nd March 2023
Date Ended: 3rd March 2023
Author Name: Sanghamitra Dixit
Qualifications: BA (Hons) Applied Psychology, MA Applied Psychology ( Spl. in Counselling)
Designation: Consultant Psychologist, ACRO Mental Health & Wellness.
Word count: 677 words
Reading time: 8 minutes.
Reviewed by: Mariyam Mohammed & Ayesha Begum.
Technology and the Internet for Children’s Development
A look into the increasing role of technology in early years
In a technology dependent society, children are learning new ways of developing
Hand a smartphone or tablet to a toddler, and chances are they’ll figure out how to open it and play in a matter of seconds (1,2). The technological boom in the 21st century means that children are becoming computer experts at a very young age (3). The COVID-19 pandemic changing the world as we knew it, things, including play and education, have shifted online— perhaps for good (4).
Technology is a boon— where else can one access so much information with a single touch? (5) There are endless (and valid) reasons as to why parents make the choice of using screens: they need to work, cook dinner, and manage their home— sometimes all at the same time (6). When one adds children in the mix— it is a massive investment of time and energy (7,8).
Through technology, children can access vast amounts of knowledge
Parents want to do the best for their children (9). Technology in such cases is a blessing— and yet, it can be exhausting as well (10). For better or for worse, technology is here to stay and is an intricate part of daily living (11,12)
A proper assessment of a tool includes critique of that tool (13). Below are some of the benefits and drawbacks of a technology-influenced life, and how today’s children grow up in such a world(14,15).
Benefits and Drawbacks
Increase in learning: Learning through the traditional methods of note-taking or books will always be timeless, but today, children want to be engaged (16). Learning can be fun, and with technology, this is possible (17). More sources of information made easily accessible, children have made leaps in learning (18).
Improved visual-spatial development: Screens allow for children to process a lot of cues in a small space (19). There are a lot of interactive games and teaching aids today which engage children’s visual and spatial processing skills, handing them the skills to assess hand-eye coordination (20).
Children can be more engaged through technology
Improved problem solving and decision making: Technology allows for puzzles and problems which enhance children’s logical reasoning (21). There are many resources available now at the drop of a hat. Children can experience and train their skills in different, colourful ways (22).
Lower attention span: Technology has been shown to impact children’s attention span as well as their ability to focus (23). The immediacy of technological interactions make waiting hard for children (24). Things are accessible so fast, the ability to be patient is impacted (25). This means children can become bored easily and would constantly need something to do as fast as possible (26).
Children can get stagnant due to technological dependence
Increased risk and lack of privacy: Accessibility to information is a boon, but the downside to using technology is that dangerous threats have access to your children too (27). The lack of privacy means that despite cybersecurity measures taken by parents, the children can still be harassed (28).
Stagnant lifestyle: There’s no way out of this— technology and available Internet means children remain in one spot or position for a long time without accounting for movement (29). Young children’s growing body also needs physical activity in order to use their body and remain healthy. This has led to growing concerns over obesity and poor physical development, as well as spectacles for children staring at screens for long (30).
Decreased social interaction: Kids are spending more time than ever in front of screens, and it may be inhibiting their ability to recognize emotions and social cues (31). At home, parents may be busy working on their own laptop and providing their children with devices— and this reduces the social bonding between the parent and the child (32).
Long hours in front of a screen can lead to social isolation
With the advent of COVID-19, technology is both a boon and bane for children’s development and education today (33). We may never get rid of technology’s adverse impacts— but as teachers and parents, we can find ways to control children’s exposure to technology and the Internet without harming the learning process, or their physical and mental health (34).
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