Each year the hottest gifts for children change, but recently, younger children have begun to want mainly technological items. These range from video game systems to e-readers, cell phones, tablets, computers and many other devices. Still, while these may be the desire of children, the effects these kinds of devices have on the youth of today are not desirable.
The amount of technology children are using today prevents them from being active.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, childhood obesity has tripled in adolescents, and doubled in children, during the past 30 years. The fact that the amount of technology youths have been using has significantly increased during this time, must contribute to the increase in obesity. Using technology has created a much lazier generation that has no interest in playing outside, but prefers to watch a screen or play a video game.
Furthermore, as a direct result of the lack of activeness, today’s children don’t have the same imagination of the previous generations.
I can recall creating games with my sisters when I was a child, and spending all day imagining new adventures and places to go. Yet, today, children are just handed a device that tells them what to think or do. They don’t think for themselves, and their minds become more limited to what technology lets them do.
Because of the amount of technology in use, attention spans of this generation of children are much shorter.
“The advent of television altered that attention by offering children visual stimuli, fragmented attention, and little need for imagination,” Jim Taylor, Ph.D., wrote while explaining the effects of technology on children. “Then the Internet was invented, and children were thrust into a vastly different environment in which, because distraction is the norm, consistent attention is impossible, imagination is unnecessary, and memory is inhibited.”
Possibly the biggest problem that technology is having on today’s youth is the fact that their brains are not challenged. Instead of reading a book or doing a puzzle, the youths of today do mindless activities that take no effort. In place of winning a challenge, the answers are given to them, or the reward they receive isn’t new knowledge but empty satisfaction of completing a pointless task.
On the other hand, some say that technology offers children new ways to learn by using e-readers or by playing games that are educational. In reality, children are spending way more time doing pointless activities than actually doing these so-called educational activities.
Finally, the social skills of children are being narrowed by technology. Obviously, children must learn to communicate, but using technology at early ages can damage this development.
Those adolescents who are joining the social media craze are especially at risk. The online world teaches poor English habits, the need for constant gratification and the overall idea that talking to someone online is equal to a face-to-face conversation. All of these are bad habits, yet children now look online to talk, or even fight, rather than having the confidence and skills to do it in person.
In the end, while society is embracing the new technological age, it’s not a good idea to have children surrounded by it. They need time to fully develop their communication, imagination and attention. Even more so, children need to learn to be active before they become distracted by the wonders of technology.
The Puyallup Post is the award-winning student news of Pierce College Puyallup in Puyallup, Washington. Copyright The Puyallup Post 2017. Twitter/Instagram @puyalluppost
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