Technology and Children – Tabitha Saunders

It’s always the same story in my house. The elderly telling me that when they were kids they never had nor needed technology like we have now, and that the young people of today are far too dependent on it for their own good. They could pass the time by themselves with much more fulfilling methods than which we can come up with today.

 

Many parents of the 21st century will agree that they have trouble setting ground rules with their children over the use of new technology, as this is as new to them as it will be for their children.

 

Some parents will campaign for use of technology all throughout childhood as this is the new way of raising children. They will argue that technology is continually growing at unbelievable rates: 100 years ago less than 10% of families had a stove or access to electricity or phones; yet now these things would be classed by many as some of the basics of a normal life. They may also explain that over the next 5 years our knowledge of technology is expected to improve by 32 times what it is already, begging the question: how on earth are we expected to shield our future from the tools that will aid them for the rest of their lives? I do not, however, agree with these parents.

 

The opposing parents would then argue the negatives. We’ve established that technology as we know it hasn’t been around for very long. Therefore we have no idea what the consequences related to long term exposure to things like mobile phones, tablets and laptops actually are. Parents will say here that they too want the best for their child, and that the most effective way of doing this would be to give them as little interaction will recreational devices as humanly possible. This, they say, will make them more independent and have more confidence in themselves, with a recent study confirming that a third of young people lack confidence, mainly due to social media. I do not agree with these parents either.

 

I absolutely believe it would be idiotic to keep all technology away from children throughout their childhood. I simultaneously believe that it would be even worse to allow ‘lazy parenting’ to occur by letting their child only ever interact with technology, cutting them away from real life issues and distancing themselves from actual people.

 

In the modern era I believe the most appropriate way to navigate technology as a parent would be to assert a balance into the child’s life. It is equally stupid to ignore or implore the latest gadgets when raising children.

 

Technology is going to be one of the biggest aspects of our children’s futures, because they are our future. To cut them away from it from an early age up until their teenage years would not help them in any way in years to come. They will not, as you want to believe, thank you later.

 

Being able to navigate technology will be imperative to their lives due to the enormity of the expansion of different technologies in the very near future. However it is also imperative that this is not the only thing that consumes their childhood, as many of us will agree that learning environments can take the guises of many different places.

 

In order for children to become the well rounded individual a parent longs to see when their little bundle of joy as all grown up, it is crucial that from an early age they are exposed to different aspects of active and social lives, not being cooped up all day on tablets with headphones; never knowing the simple childhood joys, for example, of learning to climb a tree or playing outside for hours with only their imaginations to keep them entertained. This, I believe wholeheartedly, is the key to a healthy and fulfilling childhood.

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