They say video killed the radio star and I’d like to add that the internet killed the video star.
When I was younger (note the pun on younger) the coolest thing was the VCR, it allowed us to record and transfer information from one person to another with the added benefit of having a visual component that radio or cassettes did not have and I must say I loved every bit of it!
I still remember National Geographic did one of my favorite videos, and it was one given to me by my mother’s friend; it was on how the earth evolved and had information on the marsupials. To this day I am happy to say that documentary with visual impact has stuck on to me and I’ll gladly debate anyone on the subject!
Likewise, I think there are many positives in growing up in today’s world as you are inundated with information. But a growing body of research shows that technology can be both beneficial and harmful in different ways on how children think.
Children today are growing up in a rapidly changing digital age that is far different from what we grew up in; they are always surrounded and connected to technology be it at school, home or in the car.
I say look at this from an optimistic point first and list down how technology could be molding our youth.
The most important part about technology is that it gives you access to information and education. I can go on and on how the internet has changed the lives of people by giving them opportunities that seemed a far call before.
I mean no matter where in the world you are there is a possibility of getting information since the internet has become widely available to all and most governments especially developing countries are working to make it part of their core vision to enable accessibility to the nation as a whole.
It has been argued that children that grow up with technology have their brains wired differently, making them more creative, social, expressive and better able to multi-task.
This can be perceived in a negative and positive light; as creative as this may make children it also could make them impatient, ego-centric and with a self of entitlement, I’m sure this rings multiple bells.
While we agree that children growing up in this day and age benefit with new technology such as computers, tablets, mobile phones, Skype, and podcasts.
An alarming number of children are missing out on a whole range of learning from social interaction, physical activities, and emotional intelligence skills. We are soon breeding a generation of androids that prefer not to communicate or interact with society.
Parents are using technology for their convenience and a child relying on technology for their primary method of communication and play, which in turn makes them lead a very sedentary lifestyle, limiting their bodies to achieve optimal sensory and motor development.
This, in turn, leads to the delay of developmental milestones and the sedentary lifestyle affects children more as there is a rapid increase in child obesity and diabetes.
Leave aside the sedentary way of life; there are some other negatives which include cyber bullying, internet pornography, underage mobile gambling and happy slapping (illegal share of someone else videos or pictures) which have all tarnished all the positives of technology.
These negatives are sometimes the cause of many youth today being alienated and having a very low self-worth, in constant need of approval from other.
But the effects of technological advancement are unavoidable. Two out of four children have access to the internet via a computer at home, mobile or tablet.
One in three children who use the internet makes friends online. This is the future, and as adults all we can do is educate our self on technology and be a positive force in a child’s, reinforcing positive values from our culture and bringing only the best of technology.
What amazes me is that all this has happened over the last two decades and we have no idea what’s to come in the years to come!