As more and more children are accessing gadgets such as tablets, desktops, laptops, smart phones, gaming devices, and more; it can indeed be a wonder if it is good or bad for young kids to be exposed to technology. Well, to help parents out there decide on this matter, we are listing the pros and cons of technology exposure among young children.
It can definitely be advantageous for parents to have kids carry smartphones as it becomes easier to track the whereabouts of their children. You can easily call or text them and in addition, there are options to subscribe to GPS tracking to know the exact location of their children. Other advantages are as follows;
- Because the rule of the game when it comes to technology is engagement, kids easily develop their hand and eyes coordination through tech gadgets. Hand-eye coordination is important when kids begin to attend school as they will learn how to effectively utilize their hands when writing and drawing.
- Improve basic skills such as reading and writing. There are numerous software available which can help parents teach children how to read and write. There are thousands of resources and websites which parents can access to gather ideas when it comes to teaching basic learning skills for children. There are also programs and software which can be downloaded onto the kid’s handheld device for this purpose.
- When parents expose their kids to technologies at a tender age, they are actually helping them to be prepared for school readiness. Parents can use technology to not only teach kids about basic skills such as to read and write but also for more advanced cognitive development strategies. The availability of programs that will teach math, science, history, sports and more are bountiful.
- It also helps increase children’s motivation and desire to achieve something. This is because countless computer activities and applications are designed to encourage kids to finish certain tasks, unlock levels, and win a game. The use of learning video games can actually build a foundation for kids to learn about perseverance and overcome obstacles. This can be applied inside or outside computer games onto real life scenarios.
- Children can learn spatial skills. Visuals is one of the core elements of technology and through it, kids do not have to imagine how tall a building is, or compare the size of a cat with that of a tiger, or how big a palace is compared to a house.
- Technology helps develop problem solving skills. When they play video or computer games, their minds are actually working when it comes to finding solutions in order to beat a boss, complete a mission, and progress towards the next level of a game for example.
Even with the benefits enumerated above, parents can still become worried that their kids may acquire negative habits that will impair their child growth and development due to technology. Such concerns are valid when you consider the disadvantages of exposing kids to tech at a very young age. Here are some of those issues:
- There is a possibility that they will be able to access unsuitable content such as violence, pornography, and other inappropriate contents. The problem becomes bigger when these are shared to fellow children too.
- Development towards being a disconnected youth who can socialize excellently in the online world but suffer social anxieties when confronted with face to face interaction.
- Exposure to health risks as it helps kids to lead a sedentary lifestyle. They spend too much time watching TV, playing video games, and using computers but spend so little time or none at all for physical activities. In addition, children eat a lot, especially unhealthy foods when they are in front of TV’s, computers, or handling other electronic gadgets; thus, they may acquire medical issues like obesity and diabetes.
- In relation to health concerns, staring too much on an electronic device’s screen (i.e. TV, computer, tablet, and smart phone) may lead to poor eyesight. I’ve seen kids suffer from vision problems, wearing prescription eyeglasses as early 10 years old. This is not always because of a congenital issue. It is often caused by too much gadget usage.
- Another medical concern is the possibility of developing Attention Deficit Disorder or ADD. A research conducted at a children's hospital in Seattle, as published by the journal Pediatrics in April 2004 showed that excessive exposure to electronic screens at a young age increases the risk of developing attention issues by as much as 28%.
- Their sensibilities are not yet mature; hence, they have poor judgment and may end up performing inappropriate activities or worse, become involved with criminal acts. For example, they can become addicted to online gambling, discover hacking, and download illegal materials or more.
- Digital devices are actually mind distraction and destruction when not controlled. Many experts and even parents agree that technologies are actually making kids disconnected from reality. This affects how they interact with others and how they maintain relationships with family, friends and others. There are also still unknown dangers that lurk behind these electronic devices apart from the recognized ones like hacking, pornography and more.
Technology is a necessity and provides ease and convenience in today’s situation. However, because of the disadvantages that impact child growth and development, parents should master strategies on how kids use technology to their utmost advantage.