My mom works in a kindergarten classroom at Viola Gibson and every year she tells me about the two or three kids who don’t know how to hold a pencil or don’t know how to spell their name. Those kids are not as developed as the other kids in the classroom and that sets them back in their progress at school. It used to just be standard for children to learn how to count and spell at pre-school and coloring was a daily activity.
I can easily see why parents are tempted to hand off their phone to entertain their whiny kid and give them a few minutes of quiet time but in the long run I think it only causes harm. Instead of running around the park and interacting with other kids, the children are lured to the screen of entertainment.
Technology is rapidly increasing its presence in children’s lives. A 2010 Kaiser study reported that 75 percent of American children have TVs in their room. Those with TVs in their room have reported sleeping problems and are more likely to have lower test scores at school. They also reported that minors in this generation on average spend 7.5 hours per day on using technology for entertainment. That’s almost a third of an entire day.
Think about it, instead of picking up the crayon and coloring, kids in this generation are picking up their parents’ phone and playing games on it. Not only will this decrease their development of motor skills, it affects their imagination and creativity. The Kaiser study also reported that in order to achieve healthy child development, children need movement, touch, human connection, and exposure to nature. None of that is achieved when a child is engrossed in a video game.
I don’t necessarily blame parents for the influence of technology in their child’s life. Technology has taken over in the education system for faster and more efficient communication. Some schools now feature iPads instead of the standard paper and pencil. We use SMART boards instead of white boards and we test on computers. The whole world of technology evolves around us and this is starting to show on the younger generation.
The world is intrigued with connection. How can they get better, faster connection to the people around them? That’s the idea of phones, TVS, and the Internet, to connect people around the world. Connection is what is motivates our progress, but I think the very thing that is motivating us actually has the opposite effect on society. Technology affects a child’s physical, psychological and behavioral health. also on their ability to learn and create relationships with the people around them. If children are relying on technology for entertainment and learning then they will be underdeveloped in the people skills that are needed for everyday in society. Connections should be about the people instead of the device that makes it possible.
I’m not exactly sure what the answer is to fix this growing concern and there might not even be a solution. Because technology will forever be evolving and so will human beings. Our obsession with new gadgets will always drive consumerism, and I don’t think we will backtrack our way to ordinary crayons and paper when there is a screen available. But I do have hope that human interaction will always overpower technology’s influence.