As I sit here to work on my newest post, I needed some quiet time, therefore out comes the iPad. Now I know that isn’t the best way to occupy my child’s time, but sometimes its the easiest (and she still looks cute watching it). It really has changed, parenting that is. When I was a child it was “go outside till I yell for you” or “go find a friend to play with”. Now many parents find it easier to just put an electronic device in their kids hands and be satisfied with that. I too do this on occasion (like right now) but it really isn’t the new way to parent, it has become a new parenting choice.
The questions that were generated from the third debate really made me wonder about my life and what technology is doing to my own children and the children I teach. I think of the first three debates, this one hit home the hardest because I am a parent/teacher and I question my own judgment all the time. Are we as a society harming “our children” by utilizing technology as much as we do? Or does it simply come down to moderation just as it is with so many other aspects in life?
When I look at the students I have taught over the years (especially the last five) I have noticed that technology has been having a negative effect on some of them. Many have become addicted to some technology where they begin to have erratic sleep patterns as mentioned in the article “Sneaky Ways Technology Is Messing With Your Body and Mind”. I have seen this in many students, who openly admit to staying up all night playing “Halo” or chatting all night using “SnapChat”. Ella Paula also discusses how screen time interferes with sleep which than affects kids eating habits, leading them to snack more. There are also more negatives that can not be seen by the naked eye -the mental issues that arise from technology. Being exposed to negative images, images of how society think people should look, what they should wear, what they should eat, etc. Kids begin to have self esteem issues due to exposure to these things. Also, due to easy communication with anyone around the world many children are open to bullying and exposed to online predators as mention by author Pamela Deloatch. Is technology also having effects on our children’s development?
It may be very easy for society to admit that technology is having an negative effect on our children, but is it all that bad?
As Kristina E. Hatch stated in her paper “technology will be part of our world for the rest of our foreseeable lives”, therefore children need to have access to it. There are also many apps out there that can be very helpful to children, but like anything moderation is key. I believe that we as parents and teachers must set limits on children and their access to technology. Yes, technology is an important part of today’s society, but it can be over used.
Can technology be harmful/unhealthy for our children? Yes, but I firmly believe that if it is used in moderation at home and in the classroom it can open so many opportunities for the kids. We need to teach children about the negatives about technology, but we must share with them the many positives. It comes down to us as parents and teachers to demonstrate proper usage of technology – we must be “technology role models” for them. As stated in the above video, if we expect limits for our kids we should expect them for ourselves. It is like telling the kids that ice cream is bad for them as we devour a DQ Blizzard. In discussion with Justine at school the other day, she made a great point. We cannot control what is taught or role modelled at home, we must do what we can to teach and role model responsible “technology use” when they are in our care. We must always be aware that we are role models for our children and we are in charge of them, mentoring them to make the right choices.