“Hey Siri, Call Becky”
“Hey Alexa, Text Jason”
“Hey Google, what is the weather?”
Technology is all around us whether you like it or not. Some of us, are more tech savvy than others, but we cannot deny that technology helps us create deeper insights, do more with less, and simply saves us time. Technology also has its negatives including the constant need to upgrade, lack of privacy, and it can be powerfully destructive. As a self-proclaimed technology enthusiast, I still find it easy to point out negatives, rather than the positives. Although I do believe that the evils of technology are only exemplified when you abuse how much time you spend using it, I do see ways we can steer away from too much technology.
A big change in the behavior of children is less exercise/play. Technology such as iPads, video games, television, smartphones, etc. can be to blame for making children much more sedentary when they get home from school, rather than going outside to play. Spending time outdoors has a huge number of positive effects on the body — it provides you with exposure to sunlight, which supplies your body with Vitamin D. This helps to fight infections and keep your skin healthy. Additionally, regular exposure to sunlight helps to keep your sleep cycle regular by influencing the body’s production of melatonin. Recent research has shown screens from devices such as tablets and smart phones emit harmful blue light that can cause headaches, eye strain and irritated eyes for children.
Technology is just overflowing stimuli that gives us instant gratification. It can also affect the way kids process information — when kids are exposed to high levels of technology, they tend to think through things only superficially and don’t develop the ability to think critically or be creative when learning new concepts. They only begin scratching the surface, when really the more we think critically, the more connections our brain makes. All types of technology can have negative effects on children when used in excess, because they lower children’s frequency of interacting with their peers. This makes it more difficult for them to pick up on social cues and develop meaningful relationships with others — something that can have serious negative consequences as they grow and develop. Engaging in new experiences with others creates that interpersonal relationship. They also have a difficult time developing emotion the same way other kids would if they spend too much of their time with technology and not enough time being engaged while in the presence of others.
This isn’t to say that all technology is bad, or that children should never use technology. Technology provides tons of positive opportunities for learning, entertaining, and socializing, but it should be monitored and used appropriately. Here are some tips to help head off these problems and encourage responsible technology use with your children. Instead of prohibiting technology use altogether, set daily limits for how long children can use technology each day. Talk with them about what seems reasonable and keep their schedules in mind. For many kids, once they get their initial fix of technology after a long day at school, they’ll get the same level of satisfaction that they would if they’d been using the technology for hours. If your children are fighting you on these rules, try explaining to them the negative effects that technology can have — this will help them understand why it’s important.
Blake Kraussel, Director of Administration and Employee Development