There are a lot of activities that children can engage in technology. They basically live in a world where everything that surrounds them is a gadget (Buckingham, 2007). Children especially in the developed world like the United States have become so addicted to technology that it seems as if they cannot live without it. Technology is used from watching movies and cartoons, to playing video games and even doing homework. Technology from computers to cell phones has affected every aspect of childhood.
There have been debates by different experts on whether technology impacts on a child’s growth positively or negatively.
Some have argued that technology does not change childhood negatively; in fact they claim that it enhances development. The opponents claim that technology has changed childhood negatively. What is undeniable is the fact that childhood in this era of technology is by far different from what it used to be in the earlier times (Sivin-Kachala and Bialo, 2000). This essay provides both sides of the argument.
The position of the paper is that technology as changed childhood for worse. Positive changes There is the argument that technology has enhanced intellectual development in children.
Technology that is educational has made information access and processing very fast. The easy access to information and research material has led to the creation of a generation of intellectuals. This is the argument that supporters of technology used by children base their claim. They argue that technology has been employed in education as a means of enhancing education. It is currently used as a learning aid (Sivin-Kachala and Bialo, 2000). The world requires smart people who are able to drive it into development from all the aspects of development.
After all, who hates intellectuals? It is from this point of view that technology is seen as having influenced childhood positively. Technology is molding researchers at a very early age. Children are learning to do things and search for information without the help of their teachers. This is made possible by technology. It has made them self-sufficient because they can source for data and information without any help. Technology has thus made researchers out of the young minds, which is a positive change (Sivin-Kachala and Bialo, 2000). Negative change
Unlike childhood in the past, childhood in digital era has a different way of comprehending space. This is because of the concept of virtual reality. Technology has brought the whole world close to the child such that he no longer can tell the right from wrong. The technology has brought the two ends together and separated the child from its childhood. The human relations and personal relationships have lost meaning in the digital world. Technology has led to the loss of the softness that was characteristic to childhood. In its place, what have emerged are aggressiveness, selfishness and seclusion.
It has become very hard to make them know that they are doing the wrong thing, even when it is apparent that they are wrong (Healy, 1999). Growing up in technological culture has effects on the language learnt in childhood. Something else that changes as a result of exposure to the culture is the concepts that children acquire as well as their discernment of the realism. The kind of language used by children in the present day is very different from what they used to know in the earlier days. They are nowadays fond of using abusive language and tended to be disrespectful to the older generation.
Children in this era have developed a tendency of alienating themselves from the older generation. The connection that used to be present between the older people and the children is no longer there. Children have developed independence from the adults and would rather go to their peers for help than face their parents or other adults for help. This is a negative change because the attachment that existed between parents and children as they grew up was very important in development and helpful in future life (Sivin-Kachala and Bialo, 2000). Childhood in technological era has tended to be that of isolation.
Most of interaction with technology is in isolation. The kind of engaging games that used to be there in childhood are a thing of the past. In the earlier days, children used to play around the neighborhood in interactive games. The kind of outdoor and imaginary games that children involved themselves in were important they led to establishment of sufficient sensory and motor growth necessary for attention and education. Due to the lack of these kinds of exercise as a result of long exposure to technology has led to loss of attention, poor achievement in school and lack of enough sleep (Schacter, 1999).
Technology has brought about health problems in children that never used to be there in the olden days. The problem of obesity is one of the issues. Children are fond of junk food and snacks and without active games there is no way of burning calories. This is the reason why obesity has become a very common childhood disease in the modern day. The children of this era have tended to be lazy and will never want to be engaged in active activities. There is also the problem of addition. Technology like video games and watching is very addictive. Most children when they are out of school, the only thing they involve themselves in are technology.
Even when in class, some are always thinking of what they are going to do after classes. This has led to lack of concentration in school work. This kind of addition is very dangerous in the development of a child in his or her childhood (Spodek and Saracho, 2006). Technology has denied children the time to study facts and work out the way these facts are related to each other. This has been the characteristic of childhood; exploration of the real world with facts. The digital children have the virtue world brought before them without having to explore. There are no questions asked or facts worked out.
They take everything the way it is given and that is what they know as the reality, which in the real sense is not. This has affected their creativity and innovation. Technology has killed innovation in childhood. In the childhood meant inventing new games and how to make the existing ones more interesting. This is no longer what happens for the kinds of games offered by technology are direct and very addictive. This is what the child plays over and over without getting bored (Goessl, 2002). There is no way of sieving the kind of information availed by technology to the children through the internet.
In the past, there were categories of information that were suitable for children at every age. At that time it was possible for children to be directed to the material that is proper for their age. This is no longer the case. Children are learning most of the things from the internet. The kind of question that could be evaded to protect the child’s morality has been answered by the internet. Sex-related content in the internet has been exposed to children at a very young age. Children have ceased to be children any more and become more like teenagers.
It is like the stage of childhood is getting out of the lifecycle. This is because the things leant during this stage in the digital era are the sort of things that people became aware of at teenage. The children nowadays want to be in boy-girl relationship at the age of eight years. The sad thing is that they are well aware of what goes on in such a relationship (Armstrong and Casement, 2000). Technology has distracted children from other things that have been important in their childhood for a long time. The means to discovery through exploration has changed.
For the things that the children would inquire from the older people or explore to find answers, they now need to go to the internet and get them. They are given answers in details that in the old days were concealed to protect them. Children longer engage in debates and discussions. By debating or discussing subjects or topics that they fail to understand, children are able to gain a better understanding. Where they are hunting for information by themselves, they are likely to get desperate when they do not get, or worse, get into their mind incorrect information (Spodek and Saracho, 2006).
Reading has been completely killed by technology. Children are becoming dumber for engaging themselves in things that are not helpful to them. Reading or studying at home is a forgotten concept. Studies show that children who mostly do their homework are the ones who enjoy the pleasure of doing it using their computers. There are very few who will seat down to read long comprehensions, while there is a movie or cartoon waiting to be watched, or a video game waiting to be played. The brain power and potential of childhood is going to waste due to technology.
Children no longer do thorough research for their assignment when there is the option of copying and pasting from the internet (Sivin-Kachala and Bialo, 2000). Aggressiveness in childhood is more than it used to be in the past. It has been argued that watching violence and playing violent games tends to make children become more violent. This is a fact that has been quantified through psychological researches. Children have tended to be more aggressive towards their peers due to long exposure to aggressive films and video games.
There is a new meaning of kindness, forgiveness, compassion and the other virtues that were instilled in children during their childhood (Haugland, 1995). This is because of the contradiction that is brought about by technology. It has become their best teacher and the ones that are more attractive. There is no way to teach a child that scores are settled through forgiveness, while the same child is learning that they are settled through fist fights. What the child has learnt from his games or films are the ones that are more of a reality to him (Goessl, 2002). Summary
Technology has impacted negatively on childhood. It has changed childhood more to the negative than the positive. There are very few positive effects of technology on childhood. The many negatives discussed prove the extent of the problem. It is a pity that children do not go out to play any more like they used to do in the past. Technology has also affected their functioning in that they no longer differentiate fiction from the reality. They are living in a world of their own filled with gadgets and machines. This is based way of communicating in the children of today.
Their interaction is no longer with fellow humans, but with machines and virtual beings. Conclusions It is clear from the research that technology has killed what childhood used to be and there is no way to reverse it. Technology has become deep rooted in their life that it has become part of them. Preventing children from hazards associated with technology has become very hard. Where the child is restricted at home, there is the option of accessing it in school. Others get access through their friends. Technology has become the base on which people are basing their life.
Nevertheless it is important for parents to watch what their children engage in. the parents should understand the kind of danger their children are exposed to and then find ways of helping them to live healthily through technology. It is also important to get professional help where things get out of hand. Parents need to understand that technology is harmful to their children and that it is there to stay. It is therefore their responsibility to control how their children interact with it. References Armstrong, A. & Casement, C. (2000). The Child and the Machine: How Computers Put Our
Children’s Education at Risk. New York: Robins Lane Press. Buckingham, D. (2007). Beyond technology: children’s learning in the age of digital culture, Cambridge: Polity Press. Goessl, L. (2002). Technology: Its effects on children. Retrieved on April 30, 2010 from http://www. helium. com/items/613503-technology-its-effects-on-children Haugland, S. (1995). Computers and young children Will technology change early childhood Education? Early Childhood Education Journal Volume 22, Number 4 Healy, J. (1999). Failure to Connect: How Computers Affect Our Children’s Minds — and What
We Can Do About It. New York: Simon & Schuster. Schacter, J. (1999). The Impact of Education Technology on Student Achievement: What the Most Current Research Has to Say. Santa Monica, CA: Milken Exchange on Education Technology Sivin-Kachala, J. , & Bialo, E. R. (2000). 2000 Research Report on the Effectiveness of Technology in Schools, 7th Edition. Washington, DC: Software & Information Industry Association. Spodek, B. & Saracho, O. (2006). Handbook of Research on the Education of Young Children New York: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.