Toddlers’ Technology Consumption Debate
Technology has increasingly become perverse in social environments. In households, TVs are no longer only technological devices, but there are also personal computers-laptops and desktops, tablets and smartphones. Interaction with technology has become inevitable. The trend is a matter of real concern for parents, and it raises a major dilemma that calls for an immediate decision. Parents may not like the idea of interfering with their children’s interests; however, hard as it may be, they must limit their children’s technology consumption for the betterment of the kids’ health, physical and psychological aspects.No doubt, technology can have a positive impact on children, and research highlights the many ways how this is true. The main area in which technology has played an essential role in education include aiding the child’s development. Sidgel (6), for instance, points out that there is a disconnection between what is taught, for example, theory and what happens in the real world, and that incorporation of technologies in education can help to bridge this gap. Various computer software has been developed as learning tools and visual aids that help children relate what they learn with reality. Technology has also given rise to education games as well as other learning materials. Moreover, technology offers children a sense of empowerment as it gives them a degree of autonomy. Importantly, technology also provides a lot of entertainment, with corresponding developmental value. Generally, educational technologies can facilitate the development of children’s cognitive, emotional, social, communication and problem-solving skills (Kairu 1). Inarguably, technology consumption comes with a lot of benefits.
The advantages associated with technology are not automatic but depends on the extent to which toddlers use these technologies. As such, technology can also have significant adverse impacts on children, which ironically also have to do with the very elements highlighted in the discussion of advantages. Studies have found out there are many dangers of technology on children’s physical, social and cognitive growth and development. Children who play with technological devices-computers, smartphones, and tablets are sedentary meaning they rarely engage active tasks including outdoor playing. The main health consequences due to lack of activities include obesity and overweight (American Heart Association).
Excessive technology consumption affects children’s social development. After all, playing with technological devices is often an individual activity as opposed to a participatory activity. As such, as children immerse themselves deeper behind screens, they increasingly become socially awkward: making poor eye contact, ever distracted, and demonstrating passive repose. Technologically addict children also exhibit a lack of empathy for others and are insensitive to other people’s problems. The problem arises from the lack of human interaction, which further makes it harder for these children to create and maintain friendships (Dunckley 1). The issue extends to relational problems in the home environment. For example, Richards et al. point out that research shows children who spend more time on the internet have a poor relationship with their parents. The poor parent-toddle relationship may be due to social disconnection. Dunckley (1) also notes that this can be an even bigger problem for children who already have social anxiety. Whereas in the past the strong desire for identity and social belonging drove children to overcome their social anxieties and associate with others, now technologies offer entertainment and comfort zone even without others. As a result, children are deterred from establishing a social relationship with others. Moreover, with internet-accessing gadgets children may access lousy content such as pornography.
The negative effects that technology has on toddlers calls for the need to find a healthy balance to protect them from the adverse effects. It is in this respect that parents must intervene. Notably, parents are expected to monitor technology use among their children with the goal of limiting toddler’s dependence on technology and at the same time model healthy technology use habits. According to the American Heart Association (1), healthy screen time is one hour a day for 2-5 years old children, and then consistent limits for older children.In attempts to control technology consumption among the toddlers, parents must be seen acting, but not just saying ‘no.’ It is noted that kids are inventive and will always be able to find something else to do when they are denied technological gadgets use. Parents must mean it when they say no, and never back down, and once kids understand the rules, they will switch to something else. Parents should also govern the place where children use their technologies. For example, parents are advised to never allow TV, smartphones or tablets in the bedrooms or dinner tables. Besides, parents should encourage children to take part in family-together activities such as cooking together, taking a walk, or playing a board game (American Heart Association 1). At the end, when a parent maintains their monitoring role, the reduced toddlers’ technology consumption becomes a habit, and the parents control role reduces.
Technology consumption is good but only used when in the right way. While it is necessary for children to be tech-savvy in a world that increasingly demands it, caution is also required for their physical, social, emotional, and cognitive growth and development, and it is the role of parents to ensure that balance in the home environment.