acepuppets

Why I’m ‘Afraid’ of Technology

Posted on: October 17, 2014


I have a love/hate relationship with technology.

I love new gadgets. I am an internet-oholic. I use social media regularly. I can spend hours on Youtube. I am always within close proximity to my smart phone.

Sounds like I’m a fan doesn’t it? For the most part yes I am but at the same time our dependence on technology is starting to worry me. I worry about it mainly for the effect it has on our kids. They are growing up in a very different world to the one I grew up in and indeed to anyone over the age of about 20. I’m thankful we didn’t have all this to deal with when I was younger! I dread the day my son wants to join Facebook and have his own phone and learns how to use the internet properly. I think most parents want their kids to stay kids and retain their innocence and happy outlook on the world for as long as possible but unfortunately that is becoming less and less easy nowadays. As an adult obviously I am less impressionable and more wary of the world and the people in it but now kids are exposed to so much more at earlier and earlier ages and it’s pretty difficult to prevent that.

We’ve all heard cases of online bullying, stalking people, jealousy, negative views and opinions, bragging, trolling, hacking etc – all of the bad things. Of course it can be a great and useful learning tool too. It helps raise awareness of certain causes e.g The ALS ice bucket challenge, Kony 2012 that otherwise we would not hear about but I would rather the vast majority of learning was done in school.

1082-460-Technology

You’ve probably read debates about social media making us less social and I would have to agree with that. It is uncommon to take a walk around and not see countless people on their phones/ipads etc playing games, checking Facebook or texting etc and forgetting how to actually talk to people. In all honesty I’m sure that without sites like Facebook I, and I think most people, would have a lot more face to face interaction.

 

There aren’t just the social issues to think about. For kids, spending time on devices can also lead to other health issues and concerns such as:

Childhood obesity – Unsurprisingly, use of technology, video games and TV is linked to obesity as it leads to decreased physical activity.

Sleep deprivation – Screens give off blue light which interferes with the production of melanin which controls the bodies sleep and wake cycle. Also, the brain can become overloaded with information from different technology sources which makes it harder to relax at bedtime.

Delayed development – Using technology restricts movement and often social interaction which can have a bad effect on development.

Mental Illness – Studies show that overuse of technology can play a part in a number of mental disorders in children including depression, anxiety, attention deficit, bipolar disorder and [problematic behaviour.

Addiction – With people becoming more and more attached to their devices and less to each other, addictions can develop between a child and their technology.

Aggression – Media and video games with violent content can lead to child aggression.

If you want some heavier reading on the subject here is the big study by Common Sense into children’s media use and the effects it has: https://www.commonsensemedia.org/research/zero-to-eight-childrens-media-use-in-america-2013

All of this sounds a bit scary to me and that is why I both love and hate technology and the internet. I just hope we don’t become any more dependent on it than we already are. I don’t know about you but I am going to encourage good old fashioned outdoor play for as long as I possibly can!

Are there any other parents out there who are share the same thoughts?

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