Is Technology Damaging to Kids?

I have heard a lot of mixed reviews on whether or not technology helps kids learn or if it actually damages them. I agree with both sides in some of their arguments so I am a little torn and don’t think I could side with just one. I am more in the middle of the debate where I believe that since technology is embedded in our lives so much it can’t really be avoided completely. That being said, if we are going to let our kids use it they should be using it educationally and only for a certain amount of time.

I know that when I start teaching, I will definitely use technology in my classroom because that is how the world works now and so far, I have found some really useful websites that will help my students in multiple ways. I believe that using technology can be beneficial when used correctly. From the articles I have read they agree with this idea and say that we must use it correctly if we are going to use it at all. An interesting study was done in 2010 that “found that when kids were read to by a parent—as opposed to watching a video in which a person read to them—the part of their brain that involves emotions and problem-solving lit up. “However, if you use technology with your child, he’ll learn that it can be a collaborative tool,” says Dr. Wartella“. This was really interesting to me because when a child is read to- in person- they learn more than just reading; they learn emotions and problem-solving. Watching videos does not do this for them and that is something they really need to learn about at a young age. We must remember that although there are apps and websites with educational games, kids still need that one-on-one teaching to learn more and develop other important traits and qualities.

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Photo by: Kevin R. Colvin

I feel very strongly that since technology is a major part of our lives, we must teach kids how to use it appropriately. The internet has just about anything and everything you could think of so if we leave that to our kids then they might get on a website that they should not be on. As responsible adults we need to research sites our kids are on and always monitor what they do so that they don’t get on a website with sexual or violent content. As children get older they will start to read ads that ask them to buy something so we also need to get across that they need to ask before buying something and teach them to be a responsible media consumer. Learning how to live in a high-tech world effectively, safely, and responsibly is a task we need to start teaching children earlier than ever.

The same article ended with 5 rules we should think about when using technology:

Unplug yourself- remember to be the example parent that isn’t always on the phone or computer. Get your kids to be in the habit of putting down the technology every once in awhile and find something to do as a family (play outside, go for a drive, read, etc.)

Fire the electronic babysitter- quit relying on the tablet or phone to entertain your child when you are driving somewhere or waiting for something.

Develop healthy media habits early– limit the amount of time you allow your child to use technology from a young age. If you develop these habits earlier then it is much easier to limit it in the future and it won’t make them rely on it so much.

Teach how technology can aid learning- technology can be a very valuable resource for learning and researching. It is up to parents and teachers to show kids how to search for reliable resources and stay smart about what they do on the internet.

Be skeptical- always do research on an app and website before giving it to your child. There are great apps and others that just want money. Make sure you read reviews and research yourself to know what your child is learning from.

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Photo by: US Department of Agriculture

Resources:

https://www.parents.com/fun/entertainment/gadgets/is-technology-good-for-little-kids/

https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/the-power-prime/201212/how-technology-is-changing-the-way-children-think-and-focus

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