Technology is something that has been the talk of the town for every age group these days. Everything has become tech-driven, and so has everyone! And why not that be? When what it offers is so satisfying. Notably,2020 has foreseen new dawn in the field of technology called Artificial Intelligence, which will change the tech game forever for many!
But when everything is changing at such a rapid and dynamic pace, do we take a second out to think about the effect of the same on the young generation present around us, which has barely seen the real world and are all set to jump in the virtual one? What kind of impact their brains would elicit out of it? How positive and to what extent negative?
Let’s find out the same here in this article-
1) CREATIVITY/EXPRESSION ENHANCEMENT: It is important first to understand our take on children's expressiveness. They are quite expressive and have unique thoughts until the mature world teaches them the order of thoughts usually possessed by masses.
Earlier, they had to express their thoughts with a pencil on an artbook, limiting their thoughts within the four walls. But post digitalization and technological advancements, they now can paint online, learn new skills, and create something big that reaches out to the masses. Who knows what they create today might be a real-time art piece loved by many? Also, seeing such appreciation online, kids acquire a lot of self-confidence.
2) SOCIAL SKILLS ENHANCEMENT: The apps present online and the kind of throng size that an online platform exhibits help enhance a child's social skill set. It can make them learn a lot, right from being competitive to being cooperative; they understand it all online. Parents no more need to find a friend for them to ensure a healthy upbringing. It cannot be mistaken for them being completely indoorsy; instead, technology is not a substitute for social development outdoor but an aid or say a supplement to the same. Apart from being an audience to these games that are present online, they can learn to code and be the game developer. Isn't that amazing! It surely is. So, STEM exposure could even land them to their dream jobs and internships at such an early age. That is the power of technology.
3) SOCIAL INDEPENDENCE: According to the world-famous tech executive Sheryl Sandberg," technology is something that has given space to kids to learn and outgrow technical skills without the fear of failure and societal judgment at an early stage. Hence, they can excel in the future by pushing their boundaries to create something bigger." As kids, we never had a reach to a larger society and stayed confined for years in the same community, stuck lurking our skills due to the fear of judgment. But this limitation can have a way out in terms of technology; it's your choice whether you want to encounter people online or not. This social independence helps in better conceptualization and derivation of your idea too.
4) PROBLEM-SOLVING ABILITY: These days, online games are all centred at teaching the sense of perseverance. Many games have a 'survival mode.' Ever dug deeper into the logic behind the same? There surely is a logic behind it. This survival mode is best described as staying alive for a longer period than your opponents. This challenge makes you win the game. The survival mode in another game, known as 'Minecraft' is defined as something in which the player sharpens his/her problem-solving skills. When compared to the real-life, such things teach perseverance to children. It inculcates in them a solution-based approach towards the problems in real life too than just pondering upon gathering points. This learning makes them a hardworking human being, who can or at least try to defy the hurdles in their lives.
5) WAKES UP THE ENTREPRENEUR WITHIN: If we recollect all the advantages we have discussed above, we collectively get a complete entrepreneur package. Isn't it? Whether its the problem-solving capacity, technological learning, developing your own game, or anything in that order. Owing to the data reports, more than 3,50,000 students have already launched their dream projects with skill-based technical courses, in the US, in 2019-20. So, what the data reveals is that if your child is keen to be a techie, let him start young, and you are sure to be mesmerized with the after-effects of the same. So, if viewed from this perspective, technology for sure changes a lot for kids in a positive sense. If they dream of being an entrepreneur, technological exposure can be a great resourceful platform for them.
6) A LEARNING PLATFORM: It's an undeniable fact that technology is the best enhancer of learning. It makes learning an extremely hassle-free and quick process. It makes one overcome all the limitations that they go through in the physical learning process. So, virtual learning platforms cannot be faulted for that. It can make kids learn a lot about textbooks and life skills that are tough for them to learn these days with working parents. Also, a better picture quality enables the child to observe minute details and have a lively idea of everything he/she learns. Things that were left to be learned by mere imagination and assumption earlier can now be seen in a virtual world. Undoubtedly, this is the most desirable platform for those subjects which need a pictorial representation. Also, differently-abled students can have a different perspective on learning. They no more need to stay alienated in the classrooms. They can have a pictorial understanding making things much easier for them. In this way, it is a bountiful juncture for all those kids trying to learn something new here.
7) NATURAL EMERGENCY HURDLES: This is the most fantastic problem solver a student can have in situations like a current pandemic that the world is dealing with known as COVID-19. This virus has made the world come to a standstill, but what has kept everyone going is the virtual platform. Especially when we talk of studies, it's a technology that has assured students' constant and consistent learning without letting the pandemic become a hurdle. Also, its early exposure to such things that students find it easy to cope with such situations.
Having acknowledged all the good that technology exposes kids to, let us visualise the other side of the coin, which shows how technology can be as banal as bountiful, it seemed to be!
1) RUINED SENSE OF SOCIAL SKILLS: Of course, we looked at the greener side of the grass above pertaining to social skills, but what if you expose them too early without letting them learn the basic social skills. What kind of individual would they grow up to be? With the increased use of gadgets, it has been observed that children lack social skills like discipline, behavioural abilities, sensibility, sympathy, etc. They are more adapt to their virtual world than the real world that they inhabit. This exposure makes them behave robotically. According to a social scientist named Lisa-Mabry, "tech overuse is making students devoid of social skills. It takes daily basis talks, discussions to learn conversation, and facial expressions. But since they are occupied with technology, they do not know the importance of physical presence."
2) HEALTH AILMENT: It is an open card that physical activities and the healthiness that it brings to a human body can never be achieved through technology or the virtual world, no matter what. The virtual reality can just be a supplement to the real one but never an absolute substitute. Hence, due to complete immersion in the tech world from a very early age, children sacrifice their health. They don't have the much-required flexibility to do things. Also, they don't have a fair idea of the outside world, which makes their mental growth accelerate. Ahead of that, they don't possess a well developed immune system to fight with everything that comes their way. Since they have never stepped out, their body is least adaptive to the outside world and its germanic composition. Also, technology makes kids lethargic, thereby making them obese and lazy. These issues may seem small initially, but when viewed from afar over point, it can lead to detrimental health issues in the long run like Thyroid, Asthama, Knock knees, Depression, etc.
3) HURDLES ATTENTIVENESS: It may sound astonishing, but technology is a real-time hurdle to attentiveness. According to Jim Taylor (Ph.D. in Psychology), Excessive use of technology can alter how a human child's brain is wired because an adult's mind is already well developed enough and hence non-mouldable. But when we come to understand a child's brain, it possesses much more malleability and can be quickly developed in a new way or the techie way! Their minds no longer analyze things normally; instead, it tends to scan and sort everything in a computerised manner. It leaves little room for imagination and creativity, which is, of course, not good.
4) SELF REGULATION AND DISCIPLINE: According to American Academy of Pediatrics, it is often observed that easily giving up on children's tantrums by handing over your phone or any gadget to them may keep them happy temporarily, but in the long run it is going to have a criminalizing effect on a child's brain. It can make them short-tempered, aggressive, moody, etc. Contrary to that, the worst part is that they wouldn't even know how to calm such issues. The art of self-regulation is something that is taught to children from the initial years of upbringing. They are trained to learn self- discipline, not lose their control over petty issues, and be patient, but once they have an ever available distraction like technological gadgets, they are good to go! So, this way it hurts their sense of self-regulation too.
5) DEPLETION IN SCHOOL PERFORMANCE: As discussed above, children become more and more devoid of a good memory due to less amount of attention spans. This loss makes them perform poorly in their school exams. They lack a good memory, good handwriting, problem-solving skills, etc. Due to the overuse of technology, their brain is quite quick in switching over different programs at a time. This idea of multi-tasking makes it tough for them to stay in one place with consistent concentration. There have been several instances where students are seen to be trying to have a pictorial visual or a video instead of reading a novel or trying to remember what they have written. So, adult supervision is a must if kids are being given gadgets at an early age.
6) EMOTIONAL DEVELOPMENT: Emotional development is as important as less emphasis is paid to it. To be emotionally developed, one needs to learn to observe first. In this observation, a child learns how to react in a certain situation, what to feel, how to let out their emotions, and how to tackle themselves when they feel an emotional urge for something. But with technology, it is next to impossible, since technology takes away much of their time, which can otherwise be dedicated to social interactions. Also, if kids start using gadgets at an early age, they will likely not understand any of their emotional patterns. It is because the virtual world is the only one that they have ever known. It is a little easy for elder kids to strike a balance between their virtual and real-world, and the emotions felt thereby.
So, conclusively, all that one can infer from this is that parental supervision is a must so that children can overcome technology use limitations. Ahead of that, everything has two sides, but it depends on us which side we want to rely on. And of course, now that technology is inevitable, we can find ways to strike the right balance between the two, childhood and technology.
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