Is technology bad for children?

Technology is having an increasing impact on our everyday lives in the 21st Century. We are living in a digital age where technology and the Internet are not only for adults and teenagers anymore. Children are now being impacted by technology and media platforms at an early age from the use of tablets, smartphones, televisions and other shared electronics. However, is this unavoidably bad for their development? Could technology actually be creating a more academically advanced future?

In a study which specialises in children’s media, the Joan Ganz Cooney Center reported in 2011 that ‘almost 25 percent of young children (ages 0 to 5) use the Internet at least once a week and just under half of all 6-year-olds play video games’. Although while there are educational TV shows like Play School and The Wiggles, technology and media are consumable in many different ways (streaming, browsing, playing etc.) for adults and children. Katrina Youssef, a Children Services Professional in Sydney,

gave her perspective from her 8 years’ experience with young children and the impact of technology, “in today’s society technology is used around us every day and is growing rapidly. We should always keep updated with the latest trends in technology so children are able to understand it… technology is the future whether we like it or not”. However, she continues to mention that while technology is good for children there needs to be time limits when using the technology, “it stops them from being social and active; everything should be balanced out”.

In a research report investigating the media usage of young children, Always Connected: The new digital media habits of young children, written by Aviva Lucas Gutnick et al, informs that co-viewing with a child while watching educational programs aids in the child’s learning. Although they also state a recommendation from The American Academy of Paediatrics, that ‘children under age 2 [should] avoid watching any television at all, and parents should limit the viewing time of older children to no more than 2 hours a day’.

In other words, technology for young children is harmless if monitored and kept under control by the use of time limits. The overuse of technology creates bad habits and stops them from being social and active.

For more information on Always Connected: The new digital media habits of young children, it is available for download from: http://www.joanganzcooneycenter.org/publication/always-connected-the-new-digital-media-habits-of-young-children/

References

Gutnick, A. L., Robb, M., Takeuchi, L. & Kotler, J., 2011. Always Connected: The new digital media habits of young children, New York: The Joan Ganz Cooney Center at Sesame Workshop.

O’Neale, R., n.d. Kids Matter. [Online]
Available at: https://www.kidsmatter.edu.au/health-and-community/enewsletter/kids-online-statistics
[Accessed 26 September 2015].

The Joan Ganz Cooney Center, 2011. Always Connected: Young Children’s Media Use on the Rise, New York: The Joan Ganz Cooney Center and Sesame Workshop.
Youssef, K., 2015. [Interview] (25 September 2015).