Nowadays, kids and technology are synonymous with each other. Rarely do we see a youngster without their omnipresent handheld device. Adults aren’t that much better for that matter, but teenagers are soaking in an alarming amount of screen time daily.
According to some statistics, the majority of children are spending the equivalent of a work day or averaging around eight hours a day behind a screen. Meanwhile, teenagers are really taking a toll on their smartphones, gaming systems, tablets and computers. Studies have shown adolescents are spending almost eleven hours a day playing games, surfing the web, texting, posting and absorbing information from the internet.
More screen time is also leading to less activity that’s contributing to the growing obesity epidemic that our country is currently facing. It’s estimated that one-third of American children and teens are either overweight or obese. These increasing waistlines are being directly tied to a lack of exercise and the sedentary lifestyle that technology is giving to our children.
As parents, we could be worried our kids are suffering in other ways as a result of all this technology. Whether it’s a myriad of different vision problems they could be developing, poor posture from being constantly hunched over their devices, headaches or simple eye strain. There are many downsides to the upswing of today’s technology.
Reading, Writing and Arithmetic
Cursive handwriting seems to be disappearing from classroom curriculums as focus is being shifted to keyboard proficiency instead. But being comfortable on a computer is also leading to the loss of some basic skills. For example, mathematical solutions can quickly be found on the internet and with the advent of spellcheck, misspelled words are being automatically corrected.
When it comes to reading and writing, the use of another language of acronyms is no cause to LOL when it comes to forming complete sentences, the proper use of grammar and other comprehensive skills. A teacher in San Jose, California recently shared that she sometimes “hates” the use of technology and how it is affecting our children.
Helping or Harming
“I don’t hate technology when used to better the student’s education, I hate it when it’s used to distract student from their work,” the high school teacher explained. “Sometimes my students are too lazy to look up how to spell something, but they’re quick to pull out their cell phones and play a game of Fun Run,” a popular racing game amongst teens.
Another teacher offered a different opinion when it comes to using today’s devices in the classroom to improve learning. “Students use laptops with software that helps them learn basic grammar skills,” said an instructor at River Glen Elementary School. But on the other hand, she also shared a negative aspect when she shared, “The same way students can learn on these laptops they can waste their time and learn absolutely nothing.”
The Child Mind Institute recently shared an article that examined how social media is affecting our children and claims it’s causing lower self esteem and more anxiety. A clinical psychologist, Dr. Catherine Steiner-Adair, also suggests that children and teenagers are beginning to lose the ability to read important social cues with the increased use of technology and social media.
“There’s no question kids are missing out on very critical social skills,” Dr. Steiner-Adair shared. “In a way, texting and online communicating – it’s not like it creates a nonverbal learning disability, but it puts everybody in a nonverbal disabled context, where body language, facial expression, and even the smallest kinds of vocal reactions are rendered invisible.”
This article was written by nolaParent contributor Hilary Smith (firstname.lastname@example.org). Born and raised in Austin, TX, Hilary Smith is a free-lance journalist whose love of gadgets, technology and business has no bounds. After becoming a parent she now enjoys writing about family and parenting related topics. Some of her other articles include the following:
- Everything a Parent Needs to Know About Snapchat