Is the Internet Hurting Children?
The effects of social media on adolescents have been overlooked due to increasing excitement over new communication methods, namely Twitter and Facebook. Social media and digital devices are changing the young lives everywhere, as recent reports show that more than 7.5 million Americans younger than 13 years have Facebook accounts. More than 90% of American kids of age 2 have an online history. The average teenage messaging rate is 3,400 every month. More than 50% of the kids at age 5 interact with a digital device regularly. Excess internet use also resulted in less familial interaction and more cyberbullying and depression. Because of the internet, movies are easily accessible, and young kids are exposed to sensitive and violent content. Study-based research has proved that the internet and technology have social, emotional, and cognitive effects on kids. More specifically, excess use of the internet and technology affects the comprehension ability and attention span of young kids. Excess digital engagement effects not only our thought process but our productivity and the ability to think rationally as well. Young kids share pictures, videos, and private information on the internet regularly, which can be dangerous for them, especially if they perennially remain on digital records. Inexperienced young internet users, when unnecessarily share personal information on the internet, are more vulnerable to potential blackmailers online. These issues should be addressed publicly to raise awareness among youngsters. We should also teach our youngsters how social media can empower them if used with responsibility. In the 1990s, the Children’s Television Act was passed by Congress, which recognized the need for limited time spent on Television. Today, we need more educational programs on limited digital media use than ever. A Harvard Graduate School professor and researcher call the digital media use by kids an “epochal change.” To assure kids of the positive and healthy effects of digital media, excessive use of technology must be managed properly. If used appropriately, modern technology can improve the education system, civilization, and democracy. To increase the opportunities and reduce the risk of the internet, we need educational programs as well as legislation.
The Impact of Technology on the Developing Child
To think of good old times when we were growing up is always delightful. Unlike today, children had different activities 20 years ago. They used to come up with new ideas for outside games, and expensive devices were not necessary to play those games. Children spent most of their time doing chores, creative crafts, homework, and family get-togethers. In this day and age, family norms have been changed completely by technology. Parents are highly dependent on technology for information, connections, and even commutes to make their lives easier. According to a study carried out by Kaiser Foundation in 2010, children aged between 5-10 spend 7.5 hours each day on digital entertainment, 75% of them have televisions in their bedrooms, and 50% of North Americans have their televisions on all day. With evolving technology, children are more engaged with the digital device instead of trying new creative activities to improve mental and physical health. Therefore, children these days find it exasperating to focus on learning and behavioral management in schools. Mainly due to the excessive use of technology, obesity and diabetes in children are common diseases in both Canada and the US. Moreover, excess use of technology has increased ADHD, autism, stunted growth, coordination disorders, anxiety, depression, and sleep disorders. An immediate call for a detailed study of the connection between technological overuse and these issues is necessary to provide an effective solution for parents. Sensory inputs like movement, touch, connection, and nature are important for physical development, coordination, and response. At least 2-3 hours of physical activity a day is required for proper sensory stimulation and touch to reduce anxiety. It’s for these disastrous effects of excessive use of technology and digital devices by children at such a young age that parents, teachers, and psychologists must appropriate and balance their use. Moreover, they should be encouraged to play outside in more natural environments by parents to stop sensory imbalance and proper neurological growth.