Effects of Technology on Childhood
Technology has completely changed virtually every aspect of our society over the past few decades, from the way we work to the way we socialize and everything in between. One of the differences that have been most noticeable is the change in the way that children play and interact with each other from previous generations. Although technology does provide many positive benefits for learning, it also can have some negative effects on child development and quality of life.
The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) Council on Communications and Media (2011) states that kids below age 2 shouldn’t be exposed to any screen media and emphasizes the value of unstructured play for the developing brain. After 2, the AAP iterate that high-quality interactive media can have educational benefits for children above age two, improving “social skills, language skills, and even school readiness” (p. 1041).
Here are some statistics detailed by this article by Child Card Exchange: “Children spend an average of seven hours per day using screen media, including 1–2 hours a day for those under age two. Ninety percent of parents report that children below age two watch some form of electronic media.” Astoundingly, this amount of screen time is often only beat by sleep. Also, 52% of children under 8 have access to a smart phone, tablet, or similar electronic device. This statistic is only increasing as technology becomes more unanimous with modern life.
One of the most significant effects is the lack of physical activity. Our Airdrie daycare and preschool program addresses some of these parental concerns by emphasizing the importance of a well rounded early childhood.
To establish a balance between the use of technology at early stages of childhood we must be:
- Reinforce that technology use is a choice, not a necessity.
- Aware of what our child is using technology for.
- Encourage using screen time for games or shows that are educational.
- Develop and open relationship to discuss any concerns.
- Create “unplugged” time on a regular basis — which applies to everyone in the family. Encourage a full range of sensory, physical, intellectual, and social experiences.
- Encourage use of imagination and relationship building with others in real life.
- Be a strong role model yourself when it comes to technology use, and act as a partner in interacting with it.
We can say that technology has changed and is continuously changing the norms of for individuals and as a whole for the society. The use of technology must be monitored during early developmental stages of children.
To learn more about how Little Angels addresses some of these concerns, please book a tour at our daycare to learn more.