A first-grade teacher was found saying, “Yes. Kids love technology. But. They also love Legos, scented markers, handstands, books, and mud puddles. It’s all about balance.”
The thought is rather overwhelming and intriguing. The world claims to have seven wonders but somehow there are even more than a million wonders to a child. Undoubtedly, technology remains amongst the top few on that list. You will often find toddlers and babies staring at some television or mobile screen with wide-open eyes. Children are most likely to imitate what they watch and observe. You can find children who have adapted to technology and have become very comfortable with it.
Every coin has two sides. Therefore, this regular use of technology influences them and impacts their thoughts, action, and behavior.
Technology and Children
It is not surprising that children love technology and have become so used to it as they often observe the people and activities around them. Children are curious and they have a question ready for every answer or explanation that you give them. Somehow, if your answers don’t contain them then they try to find an answer themselves. Amidst this process, they often engage and align themselves with the various unexplainable technical activities around them. For instance, how is there a visual representation on the television screen, how does a mobile phone work, why does the washing machine drains the water, etc?
However, many times we encourage them. A study shows that 70% of parents let their kids use mobile phones with the goal that they could tackle tasks. Moreover, 65% of parents utilized them to keep their youngsters quiet in a public spot.
Children learn by example. We don’t understand that whatever the child sees or understands at this young age will make a permanent impression on the child. It impacts their thinking process and their mindset and is visible in their actions and behavior.
Negative Impact of Technology on the Behavior of Children
“Children need the freedom and time to play.”
-Kay Redfield Jamison
Some of the negative impacts that technology has on the behavior of children are given below.
Mobiles, TVs, different OTT platforms, and the content they present manipulate the way a child naturally thinks. Children believe what they see to be true and act accordingly. Furthermore, it either raises their expectations or disappoints them. In both cases, the child’s natural thinking process, critical thinking, and mindset get influenced.
Often the content that kids see on television or phones or movies etc. affects their emotional state. It makes them question themselves and challenges their beliefs. It might outrage them or overwhelm them. They feel the emotion that the content reflects. However, they fail to understand that most of the content that is out there is manipulated and fake.
Parents often use mobiles and TV as an incentive. An average of 29% of parents uses mobile phones to put their children to sleep. They don’t understand that by doing so, they are training the child to become habitual to it. As a result, parents start restricting children when they become addicted. They deal with the child’s stubbornness and rude behavior but hardly realize that it was their doing. Moreover, regular use of machines and devices is one of the major reasons why many children don’t know how to do tasks by themselves. Somehow, it is important to be familiar with chores.
Privacy and Safety
The use of technology brings children closer to the world and all kinds of people. Chances are higher than your kid might get involved in some bad company and does some wrong actions under peer pressure. Children can be negatively influenced by a wrong company or by some negative thing that they watch. It risks their security, privacy, and innocence.
The technical is more likely to isolate children from the real world. How often do you see children running around in parks and playing? They love browsing screens and taking a phone away from their hands become impossible. They are no more familiar with the life and world where they belong. It isolates them from their world of games and colors and unicorns and wonders and surprises and takes them to a place that does not and should not fit their imagination.
Now VS Then
The world today is suffering from a global pandemic. Moreover, it has only added to the situation created between children and technology. Even if willing, kids are bound to stay at home. Children are a storehouse of energy and curiosity and creativity. Being at home restricts them and does not allow them to do anything out of the box even if they want to. Children were already becoming addicted to technology. Staying at home has only made it worse as they have nowhere but phones, televisions, video games, tablets, and laptops to channel their energy.
However, the situation was not similar two or three decades before. Children didn’t know most of the technical advancements of today’s world but they would be free-spirited, natural, and kind-hearted. They would be like the air that could flow in any direction it wants. They were not bound to routines and such heavy competition to win. Parents let their children whatever they wanted and they hardly understood the concepts like peer pressure, emotional breakdowns, hectic schedules, etc. Children today might be advanced but they don’t understand that advancement can be achieved over a lifetime and it will still never be enough but childhood can only be enjoyed once.
“Technology should improve your life, not become your life”
Technology is known as the great growling engine of the engine. It keeps on evolving and improving and it never fails to present a better version. However, in this technical world, we often forget that children might fail to listen to others but they never fail to imitate them. They observe what they see around them and act in the same manner. Children often find the people around them stuck on mobile or laptop screens and thus it intrigues them.
Technology is good if it fuels their imagination and thinking. Somehow, the results are often contradictory. It affects their critical thinking and behavior in negative ways. Moreover, children get addicted to technology and believe it to be true and real. However, this situation has only developed over the past few years because twenty years back children would be more free and joyous. Parents need to spend maximum time with their children and channel their thoughts and energy in the right direction.
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