In the current digital age, kids are exposed to technology at a very tender age, from television to computers, tablets, and phones. While exposure to technology prepares children for schooling, future careers, and innovation and helps attain developmental milestones, excessive and unregulated immersion in technology is detrimental and may result in health and social problems. Here are the effects of technology on child growth and development, so parents can harness technology for good and avert the adverse effects.
Did you know that;
- Kids aged 8 to 10 years spend approximately 8 hours daily, while teenagers spend 11 hours daily on different media. This accounts for more time spent on technology than school.
- 71% of older children and teens have a TV set in their bedroom, increasing screen time significantly
- 53% of kids have a smartphone by 11 years
- 88% of teenagers use text messaging, spending an average of 3,364 texts monthly
Technology offers kids many learning opportunities to teach different topics and develop the mind. From TV programming to online databases and apps, kids learn a wide range of things and get help with school projects and areas of interest.
Technology allows children to share their thoughts online and connect with like-minded age mates, which builds their confidence and self-esteem. They also learn to accommodate other people’s perspectives as well as interact with diverse cultures.
Among the biggest impacts of technology on child growth is preparing them for future tech careers, such as IT, cybersecurity, software engineering, data science, and mobile app development. Kids get excited about tech and develop technological skills early. Additionally, tech allows kids to explore their interests and establish expertise in different topics.
Technology is rapidly making its way into the classroom and aids in teaching and learning. Teachers use technology to create digital content, demonstrate and reinforce concepts, motivate learners, and post assignments online. On the other hand, students use technology to research projects, collaborate with other learners and teachers, access gamified learning, and attend online classes.
Technologies like laptops and tablets keep kids’ imaginations running and assist in bringing them to reality. They learn new things, personalize learning experiences, overcome challenges, and unmask hidden artistic selves, improving their learning capacity and pursuing new lines of thinking.
Technology also facilitates content creation and offers problem-finding and problem-solving situations. Electronic devices boast decision-making skills too, when kids encounter challenges and create lines of action.
Technology can promote bonding by letting kids stay in touch with friends and family living far away. They can connect and chat with them on digital platforms like Facebook, Skype, and Zoom. In addition, children connect and interact with their age group members when playing games online and chatting on social media.
When using different technologies, kids learn to multitask effectively for higher productivity and better time management. Multitasking helps students in school as they can listen to a lecture while taking notes, read a book while eating, and write an article while verifying information online.
Technology harms children’s health in several ways. First, when kids spend substantial time behind screens, they are less physically active, barely having time to play outside and burn off calories. As a result, these kids gain significant weight, increasing the risk of obesity.
Second, overuse of devices before bedtime dampens sleep quality, which may impact overall well-being. Third, kids may depend on devices to solve problems rather than using their brains, harming brain development and problem-solving skills. Lastly, more media use increases kids’ probability of developing mental health problems like depression.
With increased technology use, children don’t develop social skills, resulting in withdrawn, shy, and socially awkward kids. They struggle to interact with other kids, friends, classmates, and family. Technology also threatens face-to-face social interactions, and kids increasingly prefer to be alone with their devices.
Technology affects academic performance in two ways. First, it improves academic achievement by increasing interactivity, comprehension, engagement, and inclusivity in learning. Second, excessive amounts of technology lower academic achievement because kids spend less time on school work and homework and more on screens.
With technology, kids struggle to focus and have lower attention spans. This is primarily because technology gives instant responses and gratification, making waiting a task. In line with this, teachers opt for shorter lesson plans to compensate for these shortcomings.
Technology exposes kids to a sea of information online, including inappropriate content, hackers, and cybercriminals. The internet also increases kids’ vulnerability to phishing, identity theft, cyberbullying, and privacy issues.
Technology has positive and negative effects on children’s growth and development. Although technology offers numerous learning opportunities, encourages self-expression, and improves creativity and multitasking, it poses several health problems and exposes kids to online threats.
Parents and teachers must supervise screen time to ensure it balances social time and physical activity. The best technology for kids is balanced, moderate, and supervised to leverage the benefits and alleviate the adverse effects on child growth and development.