Eric Korczynski: Children Should Not Have Access to Excessive Technology

There is no solid evidence yet that proves whether social technology does or does not make children crazy. This is because the kids that have been subjected to technology during important developmental stages aren’t old enough for us to analyze the effects technology has had on them; however, when any technology is used in excess there are signs children may be negatively affected.  Even though we don’t have great data on how technology psychologically impacts kids, it’s still important to make sure kids don’t have too much exposure to it.

Children under the age of eight are rapidly growing physically, mentally and emotionally, which is why this is such an important matter. Too much technology can be bad and stunt a child’s growth. Dr. Aric Sigman supports this by claiming excessive screen time interferes with a child’s “ability to focus, to concentrate, to lend attention, to sense other people’s attitudes and communicate.” While acknowledging the negatives, it would be impossible to banish all technology from children’s lives. A prime example comes from the Alliance for Childhood which reports that kids younger than two years old have access to technology and regularly use a wide variety of devices. These reports should be enough to show how society is allowing excessive tech use to children who do not need it. From circumstances like this, children are being exposed to overwhelming amounts of technology that their body isn’t capable of handling or processing. When confined to moderation though, technology can be a wonderful tool in terms of child development. When excessively used though, technology can be a developmental obstacle that children are going to struggle with as they get older.

When I’m with my little cousins, they are always using some form of technology. They have access to iPads, laptops, electronic gaming systems, etc. All being under eight, I can’t help but wonder what these habits are doing to their well-being. It’s almost a chore to get not only my cousins but any young child away from their technology. This isn’t because children are being given moderate amounts of technology, it’s because they have constant access to technology whenever they please. I’ve seen this numerous times in public in regards to children interacting with their technology. Young children are either using some form of technology, or they are complaining because they don’t have any technology. The idea that children can’t be happy without technology is terrifying because they have already developed such a dependency on it in the early stages of their life. There is so much to learn and experience in the world and I feel kids may miss the opportunity to see or learn something amazing because of their excessive access to technology.

Technology is taking over our culture because of all the benefits it offers. However, when it comes to children, free reign of tech use is not the healthiest approach. There needs to be some balance, an understanding of the word “moderation.” Ultimately, it comes down to parental permittance of safe and effective tech use in moderation. Gary Shapiro, an Everyday Health columnist discusses the difference between educational and recreational screen time. There are so many educational tools offered to children through applications and devices that those who care for children should start promoting these and prevent the use of meaningless television and other non-beneficial forms of recreational screen time. By doing this, society can figure out the perfect balance in terms of tech use. In addition, there are other benefits technology can offer children as described by Amy Williams,. These advantages include, but are not limited to  improving “decision-making and problem-solving skills,” and increasing “multitasking.” Personally, I can attest that technology has enriched my learning and day to day activities just because of the convenience and versatility these devices offer. I can juggle several tasks when I use my devices to their potential, thus, increasing my productivity. As for problem-solving, there are many applications made for children that help to increase these skills. The great thing about applications is that when made correctly, they can be both entertaining and advantageous to children. A lot of this responsibility falls on the shoulders of the parents and/or supervisors of these children though. Due to the fact that these adults are the one’s supplying children with all this technology, they need to administer it properly. Gary Shapiro says adults need to slowly integrate moderate use of educational and healthy technology for children. This is going to be key if today’s youth is going to know how to use technology is a healthy and effective way.

As I stated earlier, there is no solid evidence proving that technology is making children crazy, but that doesn’t mean there is proof it is only beneficial. The key is moderation. There is no escaping the inevitable digital world that we now live in, but that doesn’t mean we have to completely give into it, either. Traditional methods of learning, hobbies, and forms of fun shouldn’t be forgotten because they also have a lot to offer. By living a life that involves a balance between tech use and traditional, pre-digital age lifestyles, caretakers can facilitate and guide the youth of society on a path to success. It comes down to the adults of society and their need to walk a fine line in terms of their permittance of technology use with children. Too much technology, and who knows, maybe the children really will go crazy.