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Saturday, August 20, 2011

The negative effects of technology on kids

According to Leigh Goessl, technology has blended in with daily activity to become a way of life and children today take for granted all of which is automated. It's hard for kids nowadays to imagine a world that existed without all the gadgets, electronics and seamless operations computer technology provides.
In many ways technology has improved quality of life, but as with anything else, there are always tradeoffs. One of the tradeoffs is the negative effects technology has on children, the generation who will become tomorrow's parents and leaders.
Here are a few of the negative effects of technology on kids:
*Instant Gratification
One of the most prominent things technology does is nurture a societal philosophy of instant gratification. Technology enables things today to happen rapidly, and as a result children growing up in today's world have learned to expect immediate fulfillment.
The concepts of people living under the old adages of 'patience is a virtue' and of 'good things come to those who wait' are rapidly deteriorating as the younger generations don't have to wait for things they desire.
If kids want to hear a song, they can hop online and download it. No longer do kids have to patiently wait for Saturday morning to watch their favorite TV shows because there are a host of channels offering children's programming 24/7. Cell phones encourage text messaging and other features which allow instant access to virtually anything.
Is immediate access so bad? Maybe this isn't a problem per se, but over the course of time there is potential to develop into behavioral issues when a time comes where a child (or adult) has to wait. Is this their fault? After all they were born into the technical revolution where instantaneous fulfillment is the norm.
Higher rates of obesity are often attributed to technology. Kids today no longer spend their afternoons and weekends roaming their neighborhoods and playing in the backyard nearly as much as previous generations did.
Kids today tend to spend their time being entertained by television, video games, Internet and other electronic devices. Are kids really exercising less? Statistics seem to indicate this to be the truth and perhaps the lack of mobility is increasing obesity in society as a whole. A distinct negative effect.
*Heightened Fear
In days of yesteryear, kids lived a more carefree life than those growing up in today's automated world. Today's constant access to news feeds showcases a plethora of the bad and unfortunate events happening across the globe and as a result, it seems parental fear is heightened.
Many parents are fearful due to these events and are no longer secure in allowing their children to wander the neighborhoods and keep a much more stringent watch on what kids do. Unfortunately, this leads back to the digital toys and gadgets to keep kids entertained.
It is sad today's children are living in a world full of fear and trepidation. Parents are afraid of allowing their kids escape to the adventures of the outdoors without supervision and this is an indirect cause of technology.
There are other direct effects of technology on children. Many children, even when given the opportunity to get outdoors and play, often prefer the seclusion playing on the computer or with video games. It's been speculated many games are addicting; even many adults have seemingly become addicted to technology.
*Moral Judgment
Has technology caused a moral decline in society? For instance, piracy is a huge issue these days and many kids engage in illegal downloads off the Internet. Unfortunately, many of them learn this from their parents who are downloading songs, movies and other forms of intellectual property.
This goes back to the instant gratification philosophy. How many parents today actually sit down and teach their children about the ethics of illegal downloads from the Internet? It's not hard to speculate that since instant gratification has become the norm, and expectation, most parents don't even realize the wrongs associated with illegal downloads.
Technology developments are useful innovations and enhance quality of life, however, there have been negative effects on children. While these effects are varied, and some are speculative, the good part is parents can easily mitigate the downsides of technology and emphasize the positives.
The fix entails parental responsibility, intervention and guidance. If parents actively stay involved and work to mitigate the negative effects of technology on their kids, many of the problems associated with it easily deteriorate and become less of an issue.