the application of scientific knowledge for practical purposes
From the construction of the first digital computer, ENIAC, in 1946 by J. Presper Eckert and John Mauchly at the University of Pennsylvania until this day, technology changed our lives on so many levels. From the way we work, to the way we socialize and everything in between. But the most important and noticeable change we have seen so far, is the impact that technology has on our offsprings.
Sad, but true..
The fact is, I didn't truly noticed this until January 2020, when I went on an all-inclusive exotic vacation. What could you desire more than the warm weather, spectacular ocean views, white sandy beaches, wonderful restaurants and playgrounds for kids. A dream destination for all summer lovers out there, especially ones with kids. But being surrounded 24/7 by families with children I have noticed something very disturbing and sad. Something I already knew, but I haven't seen to this extent. Maybe because I didn't payed too much attention or maybe because at home not many of the people I know have children.
Everywhere I looked I could see kids as young as 2yo with phones or tablets in their tiny little hands. At the dinner table to keep them quiet, or at the beach to stop their tantrums, everywhere you looked you could see parents handing their child a piece of technology 'to keep them happy' or 'calm their nerves'. And as these disturbing images imprinted in my brain, my jaw dropped a little more each time. I was completely 'bedazzled' with their (the parents) behavior and couldn't believe my eyes. All this time I was 'accusing' the young generations for being so technology hypnotized when all along the parents were the ones to blame.
Many of you may have the tendency to accuse me of speaking without having any children. Speaking without the powerful and wonderful knowledge that comes with having a baby. But I am telling you this from a human being and future psychologist's perspective and I cannot stress this enough: please STOP! I can imagine that it’s easier to give into the little one's craving, but DON'T. That little soul has that craving, the craving for too much technology too soon because of YOU. Yes you are tired and you want a little bit of time for yourself, but letting your child watch too much TV or letting them play too much on the phone IS NOT a viable option on the long run.
A child's brain is like a sponge. They absorb everything around them, making it their own and adapting their behavior to the external environment they live in. If their world consist mostly of technology, TV shows for infants, cartoons, digital games - adapted for their age of course-, there is a BIG CHANCE that these children won’t adapt easily to the REAL world.
Nowadays you can observe so many children that don’t know how to interact with other human beings, even their own age. They are socially awkward and don’t know how to play among themselves, because all the games they know are trapped in 'a little box'. And when they reach adolescence, for many of them, things get really bad.
There are children with no social life outside the digital world. They live for the little hearts, likes or comments they get from all the social media exposure, because guess what?! Even though they lack social skills, they yearn for human interaction and admiration from their peers and would do anything to get that spotlight on them even for a mere second. And when that spotlight fades away, they will do anything to get that rush back; this leading to the loss of their identity. In the worst case scenario, they feel lost and even think about killing themselves.
I really am a technology Lover!
My major is in computer science and I really do understand the importance of technology in the modern life. But knowing its advantages means I also know its pitfalls. I am not saying to forbid a child to use any kind of technology and to leave him 'outside of today's world'. What I am saying is that WITH GREAT POWER comes GREAT RESPONSIBILITY. Exposing your child too early to too much technology, will have its toll on their development as a person.
"The American Association of Pediatrics (AAP), a prominent international voice in child health, publishes guidelines for screen time in children, the most recent of which were made available in 2016. These guidelines include a number of provisions such as avoidance of screens for children under 18 months (except for video-chatting), and limits of 1 hour per day of high quality programming for children up to the age of 5." according to Francesca Gottschalk, OECD*.
I will end this article by telling you something that we all know, but tend to forget:
Moderation is the key to everything in life!
Please keep that in mind next time you hand your child a phone!
*OECD - Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development
For more information about this topic please access the following link: http://www.oecd.org/officialdocuments/publicdisplaydocumentpdf/?cote=EDU/WKP%282019%293&docLanguage=En