Technology has significantly changed almost every aspect of our society over the past few decades. Foote (2013) paints a clear picture of the impact of technology by comparing Chaplins time to the contemporary period that is characterized with the technological revolution. Before the development of the railroad, Foote (2013) observes that traveling was both extremely difficult and dangerous in the 1850sas travelers would spend about 128 days to complete the Oregon Trail, with an estimated mortality of 4 to 6 percent (Foote, 2013). I cannot imagine how life is more comfortable, fast and safe today. Also, I have noticed is the way todays children play and interact with others compared to previous generations. Despite these positive benefits of technology, it also causes adverse consequences on their development.
One serious negative effect of technology on childrens development is the reduced physical exercise that leads to chronic diseases in this population. I contend that there is a very big difference in the way children play today and a few decades ago. In fact, I have realized that todays children do not get as much exercise as my parents used to when they were young. I attribute this significant difference to a large variety of technologies children can access today, including computers, smartphones, television, and the Internet. According to Bavelier, Green & Dye (2010), the media encourage many young people to live a sedentary life particularly when they get home from school. Rather than going outside to play and interact with their peers, I often see many children prefer to stay indoors using such technologies, which affect their physical health and development negatively. The reduced exercise can explain todays prevalent child obesity, with one in five children (ages 6-19) reported being obese (Ogden et al., 2016).
In addition, technology affects childrens social and emotional wellbeing. Many young people have turned to entertainment media to pass their time (Bavelier, Green & Dye, 2010). I bet spending a lot of time of these media leads to addiction, which compromises childrens ability to establish and maintain strong and lasting relationships, and alienation from friends and family. Also, technology can promote antisocial behavior. Entertainment media content is rarely intended to improve human development but to sell and what sells may be things that harm children. Bavelier, Green & Dye (2010) asserts that technology makes cultivate addiction, behavioral aggression and violent conduct, and distraction. I find this observation accurate because children are exposed to violent media such as television, video games, and online. A good example of media exposure is bullying, which is not just a rite of passage as commonly perpetuated, rather a vice that can cause serious impacts on childrens development, such as depression, stress, low self-esteem, violent tendencies, among other negative social outcomes (Sabella, Patchin, & Hinduja, 2013).
Furthermore, technology can have the serious negative impact on childrens cognitive development, which is critical academic outcomes. There is a growing research evidence that supports the idea that technology can bear both positive and harmful impacts on childrens thought process, memory, imagination, and pay attention. I strongly believe that this influence is not simply impacting these young people on the surface of their thinking. Given the fact that childrens brains are still developing and considerably malleable, constant exposure to technology is wiring their brain structures in a manner that is very different from previous generations. Increased exposure to these media has changed childrens attention, comprehension, and concentration spans by providing them with visual stimuli, fragmented attention, and little need for imagination (Greenfield, 2014). The i-Generation cannot handle post-secondary learning while the gap between schools and the children is so huge to mend (Wilson, 2013).
Bavelier, D., Green, C. S., & Dye, M. W. (2010). Children, wired: for better and for worse. Neuron, 67(5), 692-701.
Foote, J. (2013). Speed That Kills: The Role of Technology in Kate Chopin's THE STORY OF AN HOUR. The Explicator, 71(2), 85-89.
Greenfield, P. M. (2014). Mind and media: The effects of television, video games, and computers. Psychology Press.
Ogden, C. L., Carroll, M. D., Lawman, H. G., Fryar, C. D., Kruszon-Moran, D., Kit, B. K., & Flegal, K. M. (2016). Trends in obesity prevalence among children and adolescents in the United States, 1988-1994 through 2013-2014. Jama, 315(21), 2292-2299.
Sabella, R. A., Patchin, J. W., & Hinduja, S. (2013). Cyberbullying myths and realities. Computers in Human Behavior, 29(6), 2703-2711.
Wilson, R. (November 20, 2013). In Defense of the i-Generation. Retrieved from https://this.org/2013/11/20/in-defence-of-the-igeneration/
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