Technology can be a great tool but, it must be used in moderation especially throughout early developmental stages in life. Technology is quickly becoming a babysitter to many young children and they are beginning to miss out on important face to face interactions that build skills through the developmental periods of their life. Although research is in its early stages, too much technology may also be responsible for the increase of physical, psychological and behavioral disorders that are currently plaguing our children.
In the early stages of life, children need to be able to make a positive emotional connection with their caregiver, giving them a sense of belonging and security. If their caregiver is an iPad, that connection cannot be made. Just as TV was in the 20th century, iPads and other mobile devices are used to entertain our children when they are bored or to sooth them when they are unmanageable. It is because of technology that children are beginning to need to be entertained at all times. If you ever look around the next time you go to a restaurant you will see that most children are engaged in some sort of mobile device either playing a game or watching a video of some sort instead of human interaction. Sure you will see the adults interact with them for a few minutes when they are first seated but, it doesn’t take much time to notice that both the children and the adults will disengage with one another and grab a mobile device of some sort. As I sat an observed on a couple of occasions, I also noticed that when a child was making a fuss about something, the parent just handed them a phone or iPad to play with instead of interacting with them. Psychologist Michele Borba says that “kids don’t learn crucial life and character skills such as empathy, communication, respect, compassion, and tolerance by facing those screens or having earplugs jammed in.” (Sophy MD ; Borba). Jenny Radesky, a clinical instructor in developmental-behavioral pediatrics at Boston University School of Medicine urges parents to increase “direct human to human interaction” with their offspring. She goes on to say that these devices may replace the hands-on activities important for the development of sensorimotor and visual-motor skills which are important for the learning and application of math and science” (Walters, 2015). Child development relies on milestones and the overall spectrum of these milestones is shifting because children are not getting the human interaction from their environment that it takes to develop properly. Dr. Jim Taylor Ph.D. says that “technology is changing the way that in which children think, siting that frequent exposure is actually wiring the brain in ways very different than previous generations” (Taylor Ph.D., 2012). Children are no longer playing outside or using their creativity or imagination to “build” things to play with. These habits are beginning to limit the challenges that are being put on their bodies to achieve adequate sensory and motor development. We are not built to be sedentary. According to Cris Rowan “Child obesity and diabetes are now epidemics in both Canada and the U.S. and diagnoses of ADHD, autism, coordination disorder, developmental delays, unintelligible speech, learning difficulties, sensory processing disorder, anxiety, depression, and sleep disorders are associated with technology overuse , and are increasing at an alarming rate” (Rowan, 2013). It has also been found that “playing violent video games is a significant risk factor for later physical aggression in both Japan and the United States.” (Kinetics, 2010).
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