6 February 2013
Children and Technology
Since the early Twenty First Century, there has been vast advancement in technology, particularly in the field of computers that are developing faster than even the blinking of our eyes. Simultaneously, technology has become a vital part of our daily lives. Most of our activities are the part and product of technology; starting from the way we receive our news through various websites and digital newspapers, paying bills online, sending and receiving email, and finding research information all on the Internet. More than 500 million people communicate and keep in touch with friends through online social networking (Hatch). As adults became increasingly more dependent and absorbed by technology, it is likely that the children of today have become enthusiastic users as well. Laptops and smart phones are being developed for children as young as five to ten years old. Since the minds of the children are complex and insensitive, there is indeed anxiety among many adults about how these technologies can bring about changes in children’s social life. As Hutchby and Ellis said “both ‘childhood’ and ‘technology’ to be accorded an unproblematic status, each treated as having a stable and self-evident existence as there is a straightforward impact of one upon another”(1). Specifically, children’s engagement with internet social sites and violent games has generated considerable concern and additionally mass media observations and discussion. There is an obvious argument that children’s exposure to these technologies will help them to cope with future challenges that they will no doubt encounter in their careers. While on the other hand, it is argued that children who are using technology are becoming more indolent, unappreciative and more prone to health related problem. Nonetheless, access to certain technology under proper guidance is a critical component for today’s children not only to gain a better grasp of modern education thereby preparing them for the future challenge but also to improve their social development and health. In the absence of proper technological knowledge, Children will not learn the skills that will essentially help them to compete in today’s world that is progressively more relying on new technological inventions.
There have been several studies on the positive impact that technology has on children in the field of education. It has been observed that introducing SMART board technology in the classroom can act as catalyst to increase students’ motivation and to enhance communication between teachers and students. According to the result of a 40-year retrospective study done by Concordia University in Canada, introducing technology in the class does have a positive impact on younger minds. Newer and more sophisticated applications of technology produce even greater positive impact; iPads, for instance, enable portable creativity and make education fun, which is always a good sign (Techvibe). Professor Richard Schmid, chairman of the education department at Concordia said "Where technology does have a positive impact is when it actively engages students, when it's used as a communication tool, when it's used for things like simulations or games that enable students to actively manipulate the environment"(Techvibes). According to Dr. Joseph J. Kerski, who is an Education Industry Curriculum Development Manager on the Education Team in Denver, Colorado, USA (Esri), implementation of the Geographic Information System (GIS) software in over 1,000 high schools across the nation has significantly increased students’ motivation, communication and learning, especially on the part of visual and non-traditional learners. Technology prepares students at a young age for the workforce. This skill is becoming more and more of a vital in our technically advanced society. According to the US Department of Commerce, sixty...