Positive and Negative Effects of Technology on Children

free essayRampant development of technology and sophisticated innovations are the phenomena that the world is experiencing today in every field of the modern life including vehicles, fashion, construction, etc. Owing to all the benefits that have come with the use of technology, almost every sector is becoming computerized. Homes, social institutions like schools, churches, and hospitals are all using computers. At homes, children have toys in the form of robots and are also exposed to multiple computerized devices like phones, television, and PCs.

Education is a special area of interest as far as computer usage is concerned because it is from the school that individuals learn how to use computers. History confirms that the first generation to employ computers for the study were the baby boomers wherein 1958, the National Defense Education Act brought in new technology in schools (Tatnall & Davey 2014). In 1965, the elementary and secondary schools received mainframes and minicomputers for educational purposes (History, the history of computers, the history of computers in education n.d.). At present, the technology has spread widely, and it has become the norm in the school system.

A lot of individuals believe that children should be allowed to use computers as it is an excellent tool that helps in their early development. There are kids having issues with concentration or problems understanding concepts in class, and the use of computer games, or videos describing the information they need to learn can stimulate understanding in such children, and, thus, they will develop the desire to study. Besides, using computers arouses the wish for innovation in little ones at an early age, and the more they use it or play games on it, the more they might want to create their own in the future. Nevertheless, although the use of computer technology by children is advantageous, some individuals doubt whether the technology really aids them to learn and develop.

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The Benefits of the Use of Computer Technology by Children

There is no doubt that children should be allowed to use computer technology because it ensures that learning and growth take place in that kid in many different ways. Firstly, it is beneficial for the development of their concentration skills and understanding abilities. Today, it is common to find a two-year-old swiping the screen and pressing buttons in cellphones and tablets. Some might have no idea what they are doing but the level of concentration at the moment is high. Moreover, it is of much help if something is playing on the device like a children piano or songs as this kind of interaction with allows learning to occur. When a child clicks on a button that produces a particular sound, they will want to touch it again and again, and it will teach them to recognize different sounds. This truly ensures that learning takes place for the little one knows that a screen needs be swiped to bring new content and that buttons have to be pressed to produce new sounds.

Secondly, the research on human development has confirmed that children who are exposed to technology at a tender age learn faster, and grasp new concepts quicker than those who do not (Roxby 2013). For instance, a kid who has had the experience of playing a virtual keyboard on a tablet is more likely to know how to play piano in a real music classroom. Similarly, a child that is used to playing games and puzzles on a computer most probably will have sharp mind to solve problems later in life by making proper decisions when faced with controversial situations as they do when playing computer games to win the game. Such a little one grows up with “I must win” attitude which is later reflected in their future life choices.

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Thirdly, allowing children to use computers develops their skills of different kinds. For instance, kids who are learning to play the piano can practice it at home on the tablet and perfect the skill. Those little ones with problems reading or spelling words can get help from the special software that aids them to learn how to pronounce and write words correctly. Besides, the children who love football can watch football videos that include the names given to every move involving a ball and a player in the field. Kids also enhance motor skills and improve their coordination between their eyes and their hands when playing games on a computer. The motor skills will be handy when a child will need to draw an image of the object in front of them. Also, a child with communication impairments can use a computer to master skills that will help them in the process of verbalization as it is the case with autism (Ramdoss et al. 2010). Thus, skill development is one of the outcomes of the implementation of computer technology in the educational process.

Fourthly, exposing children to technology helps develop their talents starting from a tender age. For example, the football animations or videos with steps explained provide a child with the knowledge that other children will not have. Later in life, such a kid will demonstrate the confidence to take up roles such as a coach or a club captain in their school football team. Furthermore, he/she develops an interest in the game and may choose it as a career in the future. Additionally, girls love fashion and dancing, and computer videos showcasing fashion and dance moves trigger the need to dance or model like the lady they have seen on the screen. In the future, during school fashion shows or cultural weeks, these children take forefront roles because they are confident that they have what it takes to become models. Similarly, a child who has interest playing virtual instruments ends up a musician. Thus, computer technology is beneficial regarding the development of talents in the little ones.

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To continue, it has been noted that school children prefer to use computers in groups and in turns other than when alone. In particular, they want to play games together, participate in spelling games as a team. The kids feel free to form friendships and to seek assistance from their peers not from the teacher (Deiner 2013). And, the adults should allow this to happen because it fosters teamwork and collaboration where the young ones learn to work together (Stahl 2002). When children grow with this attitude, it will be less difficult to form discussion groups, and what is more important, it will be easier for low performing students to improve their mark with assistance from their classmates.

Lastly, the use of the internet supported software that allows kids to interact with those from other countries in a classroom encourages global connection and enhances cultural competence. To illustrate, while such communication, children ask each other questions regarding their culture and write down the answers. The teacher then asks the students to describe things they have learned about. From such interactions, the young ones get to appreciate the culture of other people, and this could be one of the ways to end discrimination (Bowers 2000). A culturally competent child knows that the world is made of people belonging to various cultures and discriminating others based on their origin is wrong.

Thus, having seen how important computer technology can be regarding children, it is paramount to come up with practices that will ensure that every kid benefits from it. First, it is clear that each school today has computers. However, they should not be stored in a laboratory; they should be used in a classroom setting to ensure learning takes place. Moreover, teachers have to allow every child to gain access to the computer. One must remember that the bright or disciplined children should not have more time on computers than other students; all pupils must be treated equally and spend the same amount of time working on the computer. In addition, schools and parents should also ensure that the children with disability have devices that can support the learning process (Margalit 1990). Furthermore, educational establishments have to hold meetings with parents to encourage them to purchase software that is child-friendly and cost effective to make sure that computer aided learning takes place at home as well. Lastly, boys tend to use computers more than girls while being at home; thus, parents must encourage their daughters to develop the interest in computers. All in all, by doing the above mentioned things, one will ensure that children get benefits from the use of computer technology as far as learning and personal growth are concerned.

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Possible Negative Effects of Computer Use by Children

Although allowing children to use computers technology aids in their development and learning, it has its drawbacks. First, the learning that takes place matters. At times, boys enjoy watching violent movies and cartoons which may arouse violence in them (Subrahmanyam et al. 2000). Besides, some children software contains the material that is not suitable for children at a tender age. Therefore, there is a need for parents and teachers to inspect the software before letting children use it which is a way of promoting good social behavior. At the same time one must bear in mind that when adults forbid children to use certain programs without explaining the reason, the kids become overly curious and will do it in the absence of the grown-ups that promotes dishonest behavior.

Besides, in cartoons and videos that children watch and games they play especially those involving a fight with an enemy, it may happen that when a kid is trying to tackle the opponent, the latter is mysteriously blown away making it easier for the young one to continue with the game. This kills creativity as the kid fails to work out a strategy on how to tackle the enemy in their own way. Later, such a behavior is reflected in real life when a person is unable to make decisions regarding a problem he/she is facing. In particular, an individual is likely to find the easy way out including eliminating the issue through murder or even committing a suicide.

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Additionally, overdependence on computers can make a child have a sedentary life without exercise which is an important part of their growth (Tassoni & Hucker 2005). A computer is very addictive that prevents a child from enhancing a mastery of other skills like building mud houses and playing with their toys (Kumtepe 2006). This leads to one sided development which is not suitable for a kid. Lastly, a child who spends much time working on computers may suffer from health problems like poor vision. Their eyes are not fully developed, and the reflection of the much light that comes from the computer has damaging effect which might cause future problems draining their parents’ money to pay medical bills (Computers and child development 2010).

Even though one can name numerous reasons of why children should not use computer technology, exposing kids to the computer gadgets is advantageous to them as stated previously in the paper. However, the rule remains that it should take place under proper guidance from parents and teachers (Munger 2005). The young ones have to wear protective glasses when using computers and should not spend much of their time glued to screens because parents can find other activities to keep them engaged. Adults have to ensure that children do not watch violent material. Thus, with proper guidance, like holding a child’s hand to show them how to click on an object or giving them instructions, computer technology has to be employed by children from an early age (Plowman & Stephen 2005).

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Conclusion

To sum up, today, children are exposed to computers at a very tender age. It is useful for them as it helps to enhance their studying and motor skills. It also promotes faster learning and the development of talents. Furthermore, it makes the little ones improve collaborative skills and cultural competence for they interact with their peers from other nations over the internet. On the other hand, technology can be of disadvantage to children since it promotes violent behavior, kills creativity and is likely to lead to eyesight problems especially when they are exposed to computer screens at a tender age when their vision is still developing. Nevertheless, despite the above states drawbacks, the use of technology by children is helpful in their growth and learning, and to avoid all the issues, teachers and parents should guide the children on what material to view or listen to on the computers at their disposal.

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