Modern technologies like television and computers provide identifiable educational advantages, such as greater access to information and more compelling presentations of that information. Over-use of technology, though, especially such gadgets as cell phones, iPods and video games, presents a whole range of problems which may interfere with a student's ability to learn and attend to lessons.
Students who use their computers or cell phones to participate in social networking sites may post material considered inappropriate by school authorities. They may also develop an unfavorable reputation based on those pictures or comments. Pictures of misbehavior can adversely affect their chances of getting into the university of their choice or of getting a job.
It is easy to become addicted to gaming, texting, talking on the phone or socializing online. Some students may attempt to do this in class, which disrupts their learning, and at home it detracts from study time. Kids putting in long hours on their gadgets will give less attention to assignments and may be irritable when they are away from their gadgets. They might also sleep less, which can slow down their thinking the next day.
In the past, children and young people filled up their free time by reading books, socializing, or engaging in active, creative play. A fixation on gadgets reduces participation in of all these, especially the aspect of creativity. Digital worlds can be vast, but they are always structured, not requiring the imagination and inventiveness of unstructured play. Some children become less creative and less able to entertain themselves.
Persistent use of high-tech gadgetry can lead to a slew of health problems for young and old alike. A sedentary lifestyle discourages exercise and encourages obesity. The back-lit screens used for computers, iPhones and video games can cause eye problems. Walking around everywhere with music blaring directly into your ears brings on headaches and hearing difficulties. The net effect of all these things, plus the pressure of immediate responses to everything, can become stressful.
In The Mail Online, neurologist Susan Greenfield says that technology use changes our brains and not always for the better. Just thinking about doing something --- such as performing an action in a video game --- affects your brain nearly as strongly as actually doing it. There is circumstantial evidence linking a rise in Attention Deficit Disorder with increased use of video games, causing many scientists to worry that children may do permanent harm to their brains by spending too much time interacting with such gadgets.
- The Pulse Blog: Are Social Networks Good for Our Children?
- CIO: David Elkind: Technology's Impact on Child Growth and Development
- Med India: Health Hazards of Modern Gadgets and Gizmos
- Financial Newsline: The Advantages and Disadvantages of Giving Cell Phones to Your Kids
- Mail Online; Modern Technology is Changing the Way our Brains Work, says Neurologist; Susan Greenfield
- Polka Dot Images/Polka Dot/Getty Images