If you travel down memory lane; you will realise that it was so much easier than it is now. Children back then - 20 years ago played outside all day, playing sports. They created their form of play that was free and often without interruption. It was easy for children of the older generation, to connect with friends and family members. Families came together to eat and talk about their day, this act created room for bonding.
However, families of today are different and separable, with the advancement and influence of technology in the 21st century. Technology is cracking the core values that long ago were the cloth that held families together. The significant impact of technology has affected young children and teenagers a great deal, and a lot of teachers and parents are in denial about the negative influence of information technology in children’s education.
Young children opened to violence through TV, and video games are in a high state of adrenaline and anxiety, as the body does not know that what they are watching is not real. Children who misuse technology report persistent body sensations of overall “shaking”, increased breathing and heart rate, and a general state of “unease.”
We can’t ignore that information technology is vital in child’s education, since it improves child’s learning and development. Nevertheless, if not used appropriately it can cause a lot of harm than good to children.
This article aims to discuss the negative influence of information technology on child’s education. It will highlight the information and technology gadget children quickly get addicted to, address the adverse effects these gadgets have on the academic achievements of child’s education and also highlight the strategies that can be adapted to assist the adverse impact on information technology on child’s education.
Children in the 21st century are quickly addicted to information and technology gadgets. It is understandable why they are | they are born in the digital world. It is not surprising to find a four-year-old sitting in front of a tablet and playing “Angry Birds”. Most of what these kids are exposed to is likely what they will imitate. In developed schools, children make use of computers, projectors and other forms of digital applications. Likewise, at home, they use their mobile phones, Ipad and video gadgets etc. Majorly things they see around them.
The most common information and technology gadget children quickly get addicted to include smartphones, Ipad, video games, laptops etc. Research conducted by Common Sense Media revealed that there is an increase in the use of gadgets such as smartphones and tablets in the last two years. Another study work by Michael Cohen Group discovered that 60% kids under the age of 12 play on a portable screen often, while 38 percent play very often. [See table below] Devices have become the preferable toys of a younger generation.
Now that we have highlighted the major information and technology gadgets children tend to be addicted to, the next thing is to discuss the adverse effects these gadgets have on the academic achievements on child’s education.
There are many ways in which gadgets negatively influence child’s education. They include the following.
There is an increase in childhood obesity, and all the blame can’t just turn to the food we consume. Yes! Diet plays a vital role in weight gain, but it isn’t the only factor that contributes to heaviness. A sedentary lifestyle also contributes to childhood obesity. It is no surprise you find a lot of children who are on the big side. Children who spend the majority of their time playing in front of screens rather than outside the playground do not burn the calories they take in; hence the reason it is crucial for parents and educators to encourage children to play more. Early Childhood educators’ role is to help young children develop the right skills, i.e. Cognitive and Character skills that will assist them in achieving total excellence in every aspect of their lives.
Gadgets addiction can disrupt a child’s sleep. Young children that spend a lot of time gaming find it difficult to sleep early. From research conducted by Penn State College of Medicine, kids who played video games or watched TV before bed got about half an hour less sleep compared to the ones who didn’t. However, the kids who spent time in front of smartphones and other computer screens suffered the most; they got an hour less sleep compared to the others.
The research also indicated that the use of phones (waking up to reply to an instant message) was correlated with the other applications of technology, which may have adverse effects on the child’s sleep pattern. The light from electronic devices affects young children, and teenagers sleep more than it even disrupts adults. In an article in Washington Post, the researcher pointed out that blue light which comes from smartphones prevents melatonin, a hormone which is associated with nighttime.
Lack of sleep can make a child feel groggy and cranky the next day; it can also affect their ability to retain information faster. If this behaviour becomes constant, it will affect the child’s academic achievement and performance.
Extreme Brain Development
During early child development, the brain triples in size and develops continuously until adult years. Studies have shown that too much use of gadgets by young children may negatively affect the way their brain functions and may cause attention deficit, cognitive delay, reduced learning and affect their ability to self-regulate.
With the introduction of apps like Instagram, Snapchat or Vine; the younger generation is bombarded with a lot of distractions. However, such apps are used to network and connect with friends and family.
But, the fact remains that getting too attached to such applications to the point of fascination is unhealthy. A lot of youngsters compare their lives on such platforms with other people, and this can lead to anxiety and cause depression. It was recently discovered, that youngster and even adults experience envy of the activities of their friends on social media, and if not handled carefully can lead to depression.
The hyper-connectedness of social media is also a concern, particularly when young children start to feel like they are missing out whenever they have to disconnect from their social friends. Even with this disadvantages, Social media still has its peaks. Social media opens opportunities for networking and it modern unrealistic ideas of how others are living their lives — this affects youngsters and can aggravate depression. Of recent, there are many cases of young children committing suicide, and often their parents aren’t aware of their depression state.
Lack of Socializing/ Communication
The high increase in the use of information and technology gadget with children makes it difficult for them to connect and socialise with their peers and family members. By playing on tablets, they could easily play on their own. Children spending a lot of their time using technology disassociate themselves from people. It hinders interaction and disrupts the standard communication skills development on children. At an early age, it is essential for parents to allow their children to play in an open space and also with blocks this increases their interpersonal and cognitive skills. Lack of socializing also affects the academic performance of children in the classroom; this is because they do not talk to their peers and seek assistance from their teacher or parents. For this reason, it is crucial for educators to encourage group discussion and exercises in the classroom.
Addressing the Negative Influence of Information Technology on Child's Education
To rectify this negative influence of information technology on child’s education, below are some strategies both parents and educators can employ to assist their children and students achieve academic excellence and success;
Set Limiting Viewing Times
Parents need to set boundaries for the hour's children to spend using gadgets. According to Freemake.com, children and adolescent should spend a maximum of 1-2 hours of screen time per day. (See table below)
This table is just a suggestion from the freemake.com. However, you are free to set your limiting view times for your children. Encourage your kids to spend time studying; you can assist them with their assignments; also encourage outdoor fun activities. By doing this, your children develop valuable skills and knowledge.
Try Application Before Recommending It
It is essential for parents and teachers to try out apps before recommending them to students and children. By trying applications, you have a better understanding of how to use them, and you can enlighten young children about the usage of such applications. If they encounter any issues or challenges with the app, you can assist them.
Teach Accountable Usage
As teachers educate your students on the amount of time, they should spend using gadgets. Also, let them know about the consequences of paying a significant amount of their time using information technology. Teaching accountability about the use of devices should not be left to just the parents alone; the school also plays a significant role as well.
Offer Substitutes To Technology
Aside from using gadgets in the classroom to teach and tutor; teachers should engage students in other fun learning activities that do not involve the use of technology. Greensprings School has been able to achieve this by providing a well-rounded quality education successfully. Students at the school are involved in extracurricular activities that help their social, emotional and physicals skills.
Be an example
Children gravitate towards the example you set for them. Their action most times is shaped by the behaviours of their parents. Don’t think your child is not observing your every move or attitude. Most parents are guilty of spending a lot of their free time using their phones or tablet - this should be reduced. Instead, spend time bonding with your child and assist with their assignment and practice test. By doing this, you will help them focus their attention on their studies, and this positively affects their academic achievement.
If parents and educators can set the right balance and standard in the way young children make use of information technology devices, then they will be able to conquer the negative influences it brings.
Finally, it’s important to come together as parents, teachers and therapists to help society “wake up” and see the devastating effects technology is having not only on our child’s physical, psychological and behavioural health but also on their ability to learn and achieve academic excellence. While technology is a train that will continually move forward, knowledge regarding its detrimental effects, and action taken toward balancing the use of technology with critical factors for development, will work toward sustaining our children.
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