Iycee Charles de Gaulle Summary It child might become too absorbed in

It child might become too absorbed in

It
is common to hear parents, somewhat jokingly, say their toddlers know
more about navigating their smartphones than they do themselves. They
are proud that their babies are tech savvy, as they should be. Many
parents believe that since their children will be using technologies
when they start school, they would be behind from the start if they
do not have some technological skills ahead of time. Some of these
parents probably lack confidence in their own technological abilities
and want to make sure that their children are better prepared. Even
low-income parents want to be sure that their children have
opportunities to learn, so they let them spend a lot of time at
public libraries or with friends or relatives who have computers at
home (Plowman and McPake, 2013). 

On
the flip side, some parents feel that it is unnecessary for their
young children to have early knowledge of using electronics. They
argue that there is no benefit in an early start because
technologies change quickly or become obsolete. Anything learned
when they are 4 will be out of date within a few short years
(Plowman and McPake, 2013). Also, they feel that if they encourage
their child to be familiar with technology, the child might become
too absorbed in it and neglect other learning opportunities, or
worse, a child with loose reigns might somehow stumble upon
something he isn’t supposed to find, like pornography or a site
loaded with a virus (Edwards, 2017). Technology, it is thought by
some, has particularly adverse effects on preschoolers because they
are still developing cognitively and socially, leading to advice
that young children should not be exposed to computers or television
because this will be detrimental both at the time and later in life
(Plowman and McPake, 2013).
As long as
technology is used appropriately, interactions with technology can
provide excellent learning opportunities. For example, learning how
to maneuver in different types of technologies, getting them to
operate a certain way, and having opportunities for personal input
to get a personalized response, is great in educating children on
operation and control. Also, interacting with technologies can help
children to better comprehend the rest of the world because they
have more ability to see and witness other cultures and lands (Feds
Weigh In, 2017). Technology can create an early yearning to learn
more and more. This will help with self-confidence as navigation
becomes less intimidating. With the gain of self-esteem, there will
be a wider range of challenges to tackle as the young child grows
into an older child, and then from a teenager into adulthood.

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If misused or
overused, however, there can be several negative effects on a
child’s development and quality of life. Many homes are saturated
with leisure technologies, which can lead to too much television
viewing and hours upon hours of playing console games.

24%
of 2-year olds use technology at the dinner table. By age 8, that
percentage nearly doubles at 45%. Also,
by age 6, 44% of kids would rather play a game on a technology
device than read a book or be read to. By age 8, most children
prefer that technology is present when spending time with a family
member or friend. (New
ASHA Survey, 2015)
Judith
L. Page, PhD, 2015 ASHA president, says, “The most rapid period
of brain development takes place before age 3. The primary way young
children learn is through verbal communication that technology
simply cannot duplicate.” She goes on to explain how critical it
is that children have sufficient opportunities to develop their
vocabulary and communication skills by listening, talking, reading,
and interacting with their parents and others (New ASHA Survey,
2015).

Many
parents are exhausted after working all day. It can be tempting to
use electronics as a babysitter, even when it is against parents’
better judgment. Technology over-usage can cause children to be more
sedentary. Instead of being active with physical play, a child might
sit for long periods of time using a tablet, a smart phone, a
computer, or watching television. This can set the child up for a
long lasting struggle with being overweight as a result of too
little exercise. Another issue is Vitamin D deprivation. This
vitamin comes from sunshine and is important to our immune system.
Since the sun shining on the screens of devices makes one unable to
see the screen well, it is easy to conclude that the indoors option
will usually win. Thus, too much use of technology can indirectly
cause a deficiency in vitamin D.

Besides so much
time spent inactively due to electronics, excessive time spent in
solitude might cause a lack in social skills and emotional
development. It can be more difficult to develop friendships, and
there can likely be a lack of engagement with the family. Developing
communication skills is critical in order to do well in school and in
life in general, so it makes one wonder what will happen to so many
who shut themselves off to necessary socialization. Witnessing a
child staring at a tablet or smartphone for a long length of time
causes concern, making those who see it happening believe the child
might be addicted and lacking in social skills. This leaves them
wondering what it will do to the child’s self-worth.
Many who claim
to be experts on the subject of technology use among young children
have very conflicting messages as time goes by. For many years,
adults heard warnings issued by the American Academy of Pediatrics of
the dangers of children using media at the expense of social
interaction. In October 2015, however, the same group changed their
views to say that media usage should not be avoided, but used as an
educational tool with guidance and supervision. (Levine and Guernsey,
2015)

After weighing
out the positives and the negatives of the use of electronics by
young children, most would likely conclude that moderation is the
key. Balance the use of technology with traditional activity.
Children’s early experiences with various technologies can complement
their learning, especially when they are supported and monitored by
adults. With parents helping their children when things are
difficult, encouraging and giving praise for achievements and helping
them manage their emotions when they get frustrated, playing and
learning with technology will be no different from the playing and
learning they’re achieving from other kinds of activities.

A study was
conducted a few years ago that involved two Philadelphia libraries.
One was located in a financially well-off community and the other in
a low-income area of the city. For several years, two researchers,
with the help of assistants, observed how parents and their children
used the books and computers in each of the two libraries. Each
library had the same level of offerings, but there was still a big
difference between the two. Just because there were computers
available didn’t mean there was an automatic advantage. In the poor
community, adults struggled to fill out forms or work with computer
software. Their children looked at picture books, but didn’t read
much. They got bored with the books because no adults helped guide
them through stories. There was no one to ask them questions. The
kids played computer games that didn’t have much to do with reading
or learning new skills. Some of the games weren’t designed very well,
to help them learn, so the kids just banged on the keyboards in
frustration, and eventually gave up. At the same time, the children
at the other library usually had an adult by their side while they
used the computers, guiding them to appropriate games and software
while asking them questions about what they were playing with. These
children were able to interact with adults, enjoy conversation, get
introduced to new skills, and get educated about how computers work
and how to use them to learn and solve problems. (Levine and
Guernsey, 2015)

While
there are very good explanations from those who are advocates of
technology usage at an early age, as well as reasonable arguments
against it, now it should be more evident that when used in
moderation, technology’s effect on young children is significantly
more good than bad. Usage with supervision allows the interaction and
bonding to bring about great social skills, gives opportunities for
teachable moments, and enhances knowledge by being much broader in
its capabilities than other forms of learning.