It is a common observation that children adapt to technology faster than adults. They seem to have an excellent instinct to figure out how a gadget works. A 5-year-old girl may operate a smartphone better than her father. A ten-year-old boy may operate a computer better than his mother. Children love technology, don’t they?
But is the use of technology good or bad for children? Well, the answer lies somewhere in between. Technology can benefit kids in many ways. It can harm them in many ways too. Let’s take a quick look at the main advantages and disadvantages of children’s use of technology.
Advantages of Children’s use of technology:
Development of skills:
When you let your child spend some time with smart devices or computers, it may help them develop necessary skills faster. For example, many smartphone apps and games for young children are designed as learning tools. They can help in developing the child’s hand-eye coordination, dynamic spatial skills, and fine motor skills. When the children watch cartoons, they often repeat the dialogues and sing along with the songs. This helps in developing their language skills. Spending time with smart devices and computers may also help in children’s visual attention. It can help them to maintain focus for a longer duration. Also, certain apps and games may give children a habit to pay more attention to details to complete tasks.
Technology can be a great educational tool. It can help children learn their lessons in a more fun way. Developmentally appropriate computer programs can improve your child’s reading and math skills. Even many schools across the world are using innovative technology to impart education.
Technology brings the world’s knowledge at your child’s fingertips. Their learning need not be limited to their course books. Children are curious beings by nature with minds full of questions. Technology can help them find all the answers they want. Proficiency in using technology also prepares the children for good professional opportunities in future.
Motivation to complete tasks:
Many smartphone or computer games require children to complete various levels. They are required to solve problems, find solutions, and to keep trying till they succeed. This may help in developing children’s problem-solving skills. And may develop a good foundation to keep the child motivated to complete tasks at hand.
Technology brings the world of knowledge to your child. Through various audio-visual means, including 3D and Augmented Reality, children can see and learn things beyond their scope of experience. Online courses can also give them knowledge and skills beyond their school curriculum. It can enhance their creativity by letting them explore more creative ideas and skills.
For older children, technology is not just helpful but essential. They need it to compete with their peers. They need it to stay connected with their friends. It also allows them to connect and build relationships with people from faraway places.
Parents can also use technology to protect their children. Smart wearables and tracking apps can help parents keep track of their children’s whereabouts. Phones can keep children stay connected with their family even when they are far away.
However, while the use of technology can help kids, its abuse can harm them too. We have seen some advantages of technology for kids. Let’s take a look at its harms too.
Dangers of children’s use of technology:
Bad effect on health:
Too much love for smartphones, tablet devices, and computers can have several bad effects on your child’s health. Staring at screens for a long duration can hurt their eyes. Too much screen time can lead to a sedentary lifestyle. It can cause obesity and other health problems. Love of smartphones and computers may even lead to smartphone addiction and gaming disorder.
Habit of finding an easy way out:
The Internet brings the world of knowledge within your child’s reach. It can be very beneficial in broadening your child’s horizon. But they may also abuse the great power of the internet to make their study work easier. For example, copy/pasting the information from the internet, instead of studying a book to learn it. This might help them score well but will hamper their learning.
Spending too much time with gadgets can also result in psychological problems like social withdrawal, loneliness, depression. Children who spend too much time communicating through social media and messaging apps may feel awkward in face-to-face interactions. They may have poor social skills. Playing violent games too much might even increase their aggressive response and reduce their empathy. Spending too much time with smartphones and computers might even lead to smartphone addiction and gaming disorders.
Poor performance in studies:
Love of smartphone games, social media, online videos, etc. may divert children’s attention away from studies. This might lead to poor performance in school. And that, in turn, may lead to several psychological issues like lack of confidence and depression. And, of course, it harms their future scope too.
Exposes children to cyber threats:
Children’s unmonitored use of smartphones and computers can expose them to unsuitable content and cybercriminals. Children do not recognize the threats of the cyberworld. And their curiosity may take them to dangerous and unsuitable places on the internet. This may put them in danger and lead to traumatic incidents.
In today’s world, our life is surrounded by gadgets. So it is impossible as well as unadvisable to banish your child from using technology. Modern technology can be very beneficial for your child. It can help in developing their skills, give them support in studies, and broaden their horizon. At the same time, it can be very harmful and dangerous too.
So children’s use of smartphones and computers must never be unmonitored and unregulated. And it should never be allowed to affect their physical and psychological health. You, as a parent, need to be very watchful to make sure your children are using technology, not abusing it. And that their use of gadgets is within healthy limits.