In the United States, it’s not unusual for kindergarteners to have cell phones today. The prevalence of cell phones in children’s lives, meaning no restrictions on device apps for children under the age of ten, is corrupting his or her ability to focus, fewer social interactions, and poses health problems.
Critics may disagree with these speculations stating that technology offers a variety of opportunities for children to understand school concepts and be connected with his or her peers and family members. First, Shelly Pasnick, Director of the Center for Children and technology, stated on the Lenard Lopez Show Podcast that “children feel connected” (Shelly). Although children aren’t physically “connected” with each other, verbal irony, Shelly ridicules the fact that being “connected” with someone doesn’t have to be in person, but can also occur on-screen. Children are becoming socially confident through the use of technology to meet with his or her peers through a screen. Social media, which is easily accessed through technology, allows kids to stay in contact with family that is out-of-state or peers. Then, Shelly also said that “technology allows kids to understand school concepts better…visual aide” (Shelly). Some children learn better and understand concepts through the use of visual representations. By appealing to reason, Shelly provokes the audience to respond in a particular way by associating young students using technology to better his or her understanding of concepts learned in school. Through its use in school, technology helps younger students understand educational concepts by applying a visual aid. Finally, technology and its accessible features allow children to understand school concepts and form comfortable social connections with his or her peers.
The prevalent use of technology affects children’s ability to maintain focus. First, Linda Stone, former Microsoft executive, stated, “These [technology] distractions affect the way children’s developing brains absorb new information and can lead to continuous partial attention (CPA)…the state we enter when we are using technology and are forced to split attention between several different tasks…never giving full attention to any one task…unable to focus, due to bursts of new information” (Stone 4). Through her selection of detail, Linda Stone establishes a cause and effect theory on technology use. If one uses technology without taking into consideration the harmful effects, then he or she could become prone to easily losing focus. Bursts of new information coming from multiple sources force children to constantly shift focus, and never give full attention to one task. Then, a NYTimes study divided two groups of children who were shown two brief images of red and blue rectangles and told to disregard the blue rectangles and tell if the red rectangle moved (NYTimes). Throughout the study, the children who were “heavy multitaskers scored significantly lower than the children who were not multitaskers” (NYTimes). This particular study suggests that children who use technology often become accustomed to constant reminders and functionality, but are more sensitive to incoming information. Finally, the prevalent use of technology causes children to constantly lose focus and be sensitive to oncoming information.
When children use technology without timed restrictions, his or her ability to have social interactions with others is delayed or absent. First, a Procon user stated that “using electronic media to hide from stressful situations may actually begin to impact their capacity to interact with each other…a connection between social anxiety and talking online or through text messaging” (Campbell). By using juxtaposition when he places the phrases “social anxiety,” “talking online” and “text messaging” together, Campbell puts into perspective how social anxiety occurs when “in person” communication is put to a halt. In other words, using electronic media to communicate with others diminishes “face-to-face” communication, and strengthens anxiety when confronted with a verbal encounter. Then, Amy Eddings , host of the Lenard Lopez Show Podcast, depicted that “…this issue of social ability and technology. My image of the modern-day child is sitting in the backseat of the car with their thumbs going madly…take that same kid in a roomful of people” (Eddings). Amy Eddings uses imagery to depict how the modern day child has changed over the years. Children were once seen as preservations from the distortions of technology and media, but are now exposed to them at a young age. Finally, when children are exposed to the unrestricted use of technology, his or her ability to have social interactions is delayed or absent in this “connected” world.
When children are exposed to an overabundance of technology, he or she is more likely to develop health problems in near or future years. First, a Livestrong article put into the light that there are other advances in technology that are impacting children’s health more than others:
As video games and electronic entertainment continue to develop and work their way into more children’s lives, a rising fear among parents is that children are becoming more prone to health related issues, such as obesity and developmental challenges…beyond the traditional technology we automatically think of, such as video games and the television. Today children are riding in cars instead of walking and using elevators instead of stairs.
Advances in technology are manipulating children’s daily physical activities, and thus preventing them from burning calories. Constant use of these advances minimizes physical activity and increases more pleasurable detours to avoid having to do any activities that require effort. Then, Dr. Ashley Montagu stated:
…when it [technology] begins to become a substitution for personal interaction, issues begin to arise. Developing children require human interaction in order to properly develop. Young children require between three and four hours a day of physical activity and human ‘touch’…infants that are deprived of this amount of human touch and play exhibit more agitation and anxiety, and may become depressed in early childhood.
In order to develop properly, children need human interactions, or they will develop with higher chances of anxiety and depression disorders. This is where parents come into view. Dr. Ashley Montagu does an excellent job at using pathos to bestow among the audience that parents may be at fault in his or her kid’s development. It is the parent’s responsibility to supply this need of “human interaction” to their offspring whether it is an interaction from them or through other people. Then, Nicholas Carr, a technology writer, came to reason that “ given the ease with which information can be found these days, it only stands to reason that knowing where to look is becoming more important for children than actually knowing something” (Carr 4). Constant use of technology makes children used to know where or how to get access to information with little to no effort needed rather than actually know or understand the information itself. Exposing children to this “easy finding” lifestyle makes children feel agitated and stressed out when he or she can’t find desired information with ease. Allowing children to use technology with little to no restrictions applied could result in developing health problems in near or future years.
In the United States today, it is not uncommon to see children of young age engaging in the latest technological device. It is important to be aware that prevalent use of technology can cause a corruption of children’s ability to focus, fewer one-on-one connections with his or her peers and family, and poses health problems in the developing or future years in life. It is important for parents to be aware of the horrific disadvantages that children can encounter if timed restrictions aren’t set. The message, of course, is not to confiscate all of a child’s devices, but to set up an appropriate amount of time to use them. Every child is different, so balancing the necessary amount of technology for priorities and personal use is imperative. One may not be capable of seeing his or her future but can take action by making different decisions to change it.
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