Kids and Electronics

One of the great aspects of technology is its ability to connect different people from all over the world and accessibility.  However, whenever I am out and about in public places, I always see young children and even toddlers using some type of electronic device.  Usually they appear to be playing a game of some sort.  The sight of this always disturbs me a little bit.  There are a couple of reasons for this.

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First of all, it saddens me because I feel as if these kids are missing out on something. They are missing out on spending time with their parents and siblings who might be sitting there right next to them.  Life is short, and it is a little depressing that kids are spending more time connecting with technology than they are with other people.  Soon enough these young kids will become teenagers, and they will probably turn away from their parents anyways.  So I feel that it is crucial that at this time period in their life, these young kids should be spending time interacting with parents before they begin to drift apart as they tend to do when they get into their teens.  As adults, people usually reconnect with their parents and family as they grow older, but is the reconnection going to be that strong if they do not spend much time with the family at a younger age to begin with.

Additionally, I am concerned about the mental, emotional, and social development of kids due to the early introduction of technology into their lives.  When I was growing up, technology was meant and designed for adults.  Now, it is kids who know how to work electronics and even the internet better than adults.  It is still be seen how the next generation will act and behave in comparison with older generations that did not have technology growing up.

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The effect that laptops, smartphones, internet personas, video games, technology, and the virtual world will have on these kids and their social lives is a very great concern.  Will they have a better understanding of how to navigate professional and personal relationships because they have somewhat of a guide passed down from older generations warning against the things that they should not do on the internet?  On the other hand, is the internet going to become the foundation of their relationships the way playground interactions and phone calls used to connect kids previously?  And how is the fact that people act differently behind a computer screen and in real life going to impact the relationships that they have?  Ultimately, will growing up with technology make social interactions easier and better for them or more difficult and worse?

In addition to this concern, I feel that the immediate gratification that comes with technology may have the biggest impact of all on their lives.  Technology is fast and quick.  Kids are used to getting whatever they want with the click of a button or now a days directly by just touching a screen with their finger.  I believe that this can create difficulty for kids when they have to learn to cope with real life situations.  How are they going to deal with not always getting what they want when they enter school?  Will they be able to show compassion, understanding, and respect for others or will they just be self involved because of their own ego?    I would just hope that these kids will be able to deal with the stress that technology can not fix.

Obviously, there are some important questions that need to be addressed as we begin to understand how technology is really affecting kids as they grow up.  For example, at what age should we start allowing kids to utilize technology and electronics?  Should we start as early as possible or wait until they understand the consequences that come with posting on the internet?  Should we put limits on the amount of time they spend on the internet or does using the internet as much as possible give them a competitive edge in the real world once they graduate? Along those lines, does technology actually create equality among students because someone who is shy or poor has the same basic tools available to them as someone who is outgoing or rich??  There are many questions that need to be further investigated regarding technology use among younger kids, but for now, I would exercise caution.

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