Conscious Thoughts

With All The Advancement In Technology, Are Children Losing Their Childhood?

Written by Garima Nabh

The digital age is fast affecting our everyday life but most especially affecting children. When a child is still young, the brain is still developing and malleable. Just as a child imitates adults or other people,  when they come in contact with today’s technology they become glued to it. I have personally seen a lot of  young children, even those less than five years of age especially, playing games on their parent’s phones or tablets. I also saw a video of a baby being given a phone and when the phone was taken away, the baby started crying. When the phone was given back, immediately the baby stopped crying and was staring at the phone. Of course, they may find it fascinating and try to understand with their tiny brains about the phone or tablets, but it makes them exposed too much to the technology.

The type of technology used determines how our brains develop. Technology writer, Nicholas Carr has observed “The emergence of reading encouraged our brains to be focused and imaginative. In contrast, the rise of the Internet is strengthening our ability to scan information rapidly and efficiently.” Why is this difference? It’s because when you are reading a book, there are no distractions there and you are solely focused. With the Internet however, there are adverts or pop ups which can be distracting, and can prompt one to click on them, thus, turning one’s attention away. I personally find it annoying when I see such things especially the pop ups.

Therefore, children are pushed to use recent technology which makes their brains and even their bodies less active. Reading results in critical thinking, problem solving, and vocabulary better than visual media. I prefer books that I have either as a hard copy or on an e-reader. Especially when am reading novels, I imagine the characters in my mind and also I see a lot of new words, for which I find the meanings and note them down. For a child however, it’s very difficult to do such things. Recent studies have shown that uninterrupted reading also results in faster completion, better understanding, recall, and learning than those who read text with hyperlinks and ads.

Also, spending more time on the computer or phone means less time for other activities. Firstly, it will make the child lazy and slow in performing other activities. They may be sitting on their bed or a table and chair instead of going out in the open, to do some exercise or play with other kids. This makes them less prepared to thrive in the crazy world of technology.

This generation, known as “iGen” has also been shown to have increasing levels of anxiety and depression. One of the researchers said that “There are indicators from all the different places suggesting that right around the time 2011, 2012, when most people had a smart phone, is when you see the mental health effects showing up.” This can be due to isolation from other people and becoming increasingly dependent on technology.

However, technology has some benefits. For instance, video games and other screen media improve visual-spatial capabilities, increase attention span ability, reaction times, and the capacity to identify details. Also, although children become less focused on remembering things, however they remember more about where to find those things using the search engines.

In conclusion, it’s very important to make a child active from the beginning. Being less dependent on technology and doing more physical work will make the child not only more active but also, happier and intelligent. Being outside the comfort of the home makes the child  also experience the positive and negative aspects of life, which will be beneficial in the future.

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About the author

Garima Nabh

Garima is from India and lives in Nigeria. She studied Biomedical Science from London and has been teaching science. She loves crocheting, cooking and teaching.