May 5, 2013
Children and Today's Technology
Whether it is the alarm clock on the night stand that wakes people up, the computer that is used at school or work, or the television that is watched in the evening, technology pervades every aspect of everyday life. It is no small wonder then that so many individuals are worried about the harmful effects of technology on today’s youth. Children have access to cellular phones, computers with internet access, televisions, and video games on a regular basis. The natural fear is that these are all harmful for a child’s young mind, but are they really? Though some researchers disagree, technology helps a child’s motor development, relationships, and behavior.
Though previously believed that technology is harmful for children, it is now believed that technology can help a child’s motor development. One popular use of technology that encourages motor development is playing video games. Video games can be played on the computer, with hand-held game systems, or with the television and a game console. All three methods of playing video games help children learn to perform multiple functions at one time (Hayes & Silberman, 2007). There are several video games, on different game systems, which require the use of both hands at the same time. This helps and encourages children to learn to use both sides of the brain. Playing video games increases children’s response time and teaches them to move quickly. In addition, certain video games require physical activity and the use of several body parts (Hayes & Silberman, 2007). Game systems such as the Wii and the Xbox 360 Kinect have sports games that include tennis, bowling, basketball, volleyball, and ping pong which all require moving the whole body as well as just specific limbs. This helps children learn a whole range of movements, thus contributing to the children’s motor development. Learning how to play these games on gaming systems also improves their chances of doing well when playing the physical sports by teaching them hand-eye coordination and by keeping them physically active. These game systems also have games that require playing musical instruments or dancing which also encourages motor development. These games include Guitar Hero, Rock Band, Zumba, Dance Dance Revolution, and Just Dance. Wii Fit on the Wii system also helps promote motor development by teaching participants balance, yoga, aerobics, and strength training. Aside from video games, using the computer and phone also contribute to motor development. Typing helps children learn fine motor skills, as does sending messages on cellular phones. Certain television programs also encourage children to be active by teaching them dances and encouraging them to interact in other ways. The use of technology in motor development however, is just the beginning.
In addition to teaching motor development, technology has also been found to improve a child’s relationships with other individuals. One of the biggest ways that technology teaches children to communicate effectively and improves their relationships with others is through television programs aimed at young children. These programs teach children how to use language, how to communicate with one another, teaches them what behavior is acceptable, when to ask for help, and encourages them to accept people from all walks of life. Some television programs also teach children how to speak not only in their own language, but in other languages as well which opens the door for communication with people who speak a different language as their first language. These programs set the foundation for creating lasting relationships that are only improved through the use of other technologies. Likewise, cameras and webcams have become a way for children to communicate with their relatives in a meaningful way (Plowman, McPake, & Stephen, 2010). Looking at pictures or videos