Young generations have grown up with technology because it is everywhere. It is no surprise that “the largest share of [their] time is claimed by the ‘media’ – 3256 hours a year, or about nine hours a day” (Hiebert 69). The average kid spends almost five hours watching TV and movies, three hours using the Internet and playing video games, and just 38 minutes of old-fashioned reading according to the Kaiser Family Foundation study. As a result, family bonding time is occupied by technology. Waiting for their parents to come home and enjoying dinners while sharing stories to each other are things of the past. Now, family dinners are quickly served, so everyone can have more private time. Since family members are no longer used to having conversations in person, there is usually an awkward silence when they attempt to talk with each other. Instead of spending time together in a family room after dinner, children bury themselves in their cell phones and computers. At the same time, the demand for modern life keeps the parents busy. Therefore, technology creates barriers among family members while connecting millions of children around the world.
In addition to distancing family members, technology impacts children’s health negatively. Addiction to television, video games, and the Internet contributes to children’s weight problems because they directly influence the intake of food in children. Statistics show that “food and beverages advertisers… spent $10 to $12 billion annually to reach children and youth” to advertise their products that are high in fat and calories (“Childhood Obesity”). Children easily believe what they see on TV and fall for those commercials; consequently, they demand their parents to buy products “as seen on TV.” While watching TV, playing games or surfing the web, children sit for long periods of time and tend to eat junk food while unaware of the amount of food that they are eating; thus, the daily high intake of calories, inability to control food portions, and the lack of physical activity increase children’s risk of suffering obesity.
Technology also contributes to other health problems among children, particularly poor eye vision. Children spend hours staring at bright screens from televisions, computers, and cell phones without noticing the discomfort in their eyes. A result of too much technology can cause children to have eye strain or dry eyes because “When looking at things up close, blink rate decreases and tears evaporate more quickly” (“3 Ways Technology Affects Your Eyes”). These side effects can be the beginning of permanent vision impairment. Thus, many children start developing myopia, the condition of being nearsighted, at a very young age. A 2009 study showed that “myopia among Americans between the ages of 12 and 54 surged from 25 percent in the early 1970s to 42 percent around the turn of the millennium” (“So Many Kids”). Myopia requires children to wear prescription glasses or contact lenses, which can be very inconvenient throughout their life.
Family barriers and health risks are not the only concerns in regards to technology being used by children. Technology also