Technokids: Are Our Children Controlled by Technology Too Much?

After reminiscing the other night about my childhood sleepovers, I realised how things have changed for today's children. Instead of playing games and talking all night, my children and their friends seem to be constantly attached to technology. The phones, tablets, consoles etc. have taken over and children do not leave their home without at least one device



Are advances in technology a good thing?

While I have my reservations, I have to say that it is wonderful to have everything at your fingertips:

  • Your children ask a question you don't know the answer to? Ask Google! 
  • You need to buy something? Go online and have it delivered
  • Need to communicate? Phone, text, skype, facetime, message, tweet; your options are endless!
  • Want to watch TV? Choose from 100s of channels and various subscription services

All this without getting off your sofa! Technology has come a long way since I was a child and you simply cannot get away from it. It's a bit different from the days when I went travelling in my early 20s and my parents had no idea where I was or what I was doing most of the time! 

Of course, I took loads of photos, but they had to be developed and nobody could see them until I got home a year later! I remember the excitement of picking up the photos to see them for the first time. My kids just cannot get their heads round this! My parents would receive phone calls as and when I could, with me having to reverse the charges on more than one occasion. How things have changed!

Positive effects of technology

The advances in technology have brought about many positive changes. Technology has virtually changed every aspect of our society over the past few decades, from the way in which we work to the way in which we socialize and everything in between. Communication has become so easy. We, in our house, can have video calls with our family and friends across the world at the press of a button. With the advance of social media, we can see and share pictures of every (and for some people that really does mean every!) event in our lives in real time. 

While the positives are evident, the results are not always clear. In recent news we hear of banks closing many of their branches because we do our banking online (well, most of us do). But what about those who aren't or who simply can't? We are replacing human contact with a screen and what impact is this having on our children?

Negative effects of technology

Technology can have a negative impact on children's growth and development when used excessively, due to fewer social interactions. Children nowadays exercise less, and this has been blamed largely on technology, which encourages a sedentary, as opposed to active, lifestyle. Child obesity rates have risen, and it's now well known that high levels of social media use, in both children and adults, can also lower self-esteem and lead to low mood.

Potential solutions for too much screen time

The French government's proposal to ban mobile phones in schools may help. Their hope is that this will encourage social interaction and outdoor play while possibly helping to combat cyber-bullying at the same time.

At the end of the day, technology does indeed provide many positive opportunities for learning, entertaining, and socializing. We simply must ensure that we monitor our children's technological activity, as well as our own. By placing limits on technology usage and being aware of the potential negative consequences of overuse, both children and adults can have peace of mind and make the most out of these new technologies.

Martine Nadler, mother and owner of Tinies Glasgow

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