Effects of Technology on Children: Does Your Child Have an Addiction to Technology Part I
posted by: Guest Blogger
Raising kids today during the peak of the digital era, along with the explosive growth of technology, can be tricky. Do we really know how much time our kids spend on their devices?
Today’s younger generation is being exposed to excessive hours of screen time. Between computers and tablets at school, to gaming systems and cell phones, devices are becoming an extension of one’s self. The way technology and media are mingling together it’s safe for kids to assume that it’s the proper way of life: to always have a device in hand.
As parents do we fully understand the risks and side effects of excessive screen time in the development of children?
I know I didn’t!
When the Nintendo Wii first came out, they touted a system that focused on mental stimulation and physical activity. With that in mind, my husband and I were all in. He and I grew up with Nintendo gaming systems and we wanted to share that same novelty with our kids, except the Wii offered a spectacular twist.
That was only the beginning.
Before we knew it, we had enough devices for everyone in the house. Which I’m sure, is now the normal way of life in the American culture.
Is it Healthy for Kids to Have Unlimited Screen Time?
There’s no doubt that devices and digital media have moved to improve our lives in tremendous ways. But just like food, most things need to be consumed in moderation.
But what’s healthy and what’s not?
Over the last 20 years professionals have been able to study and understand the negative impacts of excessive screen time in kids, teens, and young adults. It’s important for parents to set expectations and boundaries that are aligned with what’s healthy for their child’s brain, development and physical health. Consider this, if your child is spending a good portion of their time on a device, then that’s time taken away from socially engaging in their environments. Their environments are one of the most influential pieces of their developments, especially at school.
USA Today looked at wrote an article on the two sides of having cell phones in school; safety and on the other side unhealthy distractions. Academic studies have shown that students attention spans are compromised by phones. These studies have also proven a 10.6% decline in test scores in student’s who are regularly interrupted by text messages. The results are simply surprising.
The Different Types of Screen Time
Passive Screen Time
Passive consumption is when you are uninvolved with the information taking place on the screen (Television, app, or game) through mindless repetition. This screen time involves no thought, no creative activity or interaction.
Interactive Screen Time
Interactive screen time involves cognitive or physical engagement in the use of the device. Such as, a learning app or game, physical movement with engagement of the Wii or other gaming system, etc..
No doubt, there are circumstances where children will benefit from the advancements in technology. In another article, Amber from Mile High Mamas talks about upcoming changes in schools to make classrooms cell phone free zones. Where academic professionals also believe screen time, can be a distraction and should be limited.
Stay tuned next week for Parts 2 and 3 of this 3-part series for additional information on “The Effects of Technology on Children.”