Using technology as an educational tool has a primary impact on the way that teachers help kids to learn, according to the Pew Research Center. Although technology, the media and electronic devices can help kids to gain new knowledge, interact on a social level and access educational resources, there are also negative effects that come along with the positive ones. While tech-time can help kids to learn, it can also contribute to obesity, lack of physical fitness, inaccurate or warped thinking and other negative consequences.
Obesity and Physical Fitness
The American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry notes that obesity -- or having a body weight that is at least 10 percent more than the recommended number of pounds for the child's age and height -- has multiple causes, one of which is a lack of exercise. Spending hours in front of screen, whether it is a television or computer, can quickly contribute to a serious decrease in the amount of physical activity that a child gets during the day. Children need at least 60 minutes of physical activity each day to maintain a healthy weight and level of fitness, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The more tech-time that a child engages in, the less likely it is that he will get in his daily dose of physical activity. This can, in turn, contribute to negative effects such as weight gain.
Knowledge and Learning
Along with advances in technology comes an ever-growing ability for kids to get in touch with information and educational resources. Although this seems, on the surface, a positive when it comes to a child's learning and development, there are times when it actually has negative consequences. While trusted sources such as universities or major educational organizations have websites that contain real, verifiable information, other websites may not have the same authority. Technology and the Internet allow almost anyone to post information and call it an authoritative source. As an adult, you may know that Mr. Bob's bio facts are far from true, but that doesn't mean that your child has the same understanding. She may take everything that she reads online as fact, leading to misinformation or even a slightly skewed way of thinking.
Social media can help your child to connect to his friends, develop interpersonal skills and come out of his shy shell, but it also has a much more destructive side. Adolescents who use social networking sites regularly demonstrate narcissistic tendencies more often than those who don't use this type of technology, according to the American Psychological Association. Additionally, children who use social media may not fully understand how the anonymity of the Internet allows predators to pose as kids, putting them at risk in the event that they give out personal information or plan an in-person meeting.
Between the TV, laptops, tablets, cell phones, iPods and all of the other technological devices that your child uses, he is constantly inundated with an array of media images. These often include, and glorify, negative behaviors such as underage drinking, drug use or risky sexual situations. Additionally, the media may portray an idealized image of the child or teenager when it comes to weight and appearance. Your child can develop a warped sense of reality and what is, and isn't, acceptable when it comes to his actions. The American Academy of Pediatrics, on its Healthy Children website, recommends that parents screen what their kids are watching and discuss negative media images.
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: How Much Physical Activity do Children Need?
- American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry: Obesity In Children and Teens
- Pew Research Center: How Teachers are Using Technology at Home and in Their Classrooms
- American Psychological Association: Social Networking's Good and Bad Impacts on Kids
- HealthyChildren.org: Media Education: What Parents Can Do
- Creatas Images/Creatas/Getty Images