I recently read an article on Edudemic called The 4 negative sides effects of technology on children, and I read with interest the 4 effects that were laid out and explained, namely:
1. Elevated Exasperation.
2. Deteriorated Patience.
3. Declining Writing Skills.
4. Lack of Physical Interactivity.
All of the above were outlined clearly and concisely with technology being the main culprit. But after ample rumination upon the topic I came to the almighty, but not so surprising given my propensity to realism, conclusion that I did not agree. Not one tiny bit.
To me technology is the symptom not the disease!
What we have here is a combination of fearful parenting and the good ole narrowing of school curriculum! I know, I know here I go again!
Unfortunately, my take on poor parenting includes many parents who think they are doing a great job. I am not referring to the parents that just don’t care because the problems caused there are obvious, but to the helicopter parents who damage their children’s development at every turn.
If one does not allow one’s children to go outside and get dirty and fall out of trees and all the things children should be doing because you are fearful for them, then what other choices do they have? I know many parents who tolerate over exposure to gaming and technology, obesity and the poor behavior that goes with it because, ‘at least I know where they are’, ‘at least I know what they’re doing’, ‘at least they’re safe’.
But they are not safe. They are being damaged beyond reason in a way that will last the rest of their lives. A scuffed knee or a broken limb lasts 6 weeks. Elevated exasperation, deteriorated patience and lack of physical activity and my own addition, lack of face to face peer interaction, lasts a lifetime. When was the last time you saw a child in a cast? Years! But I remember at school (okay I grew up in Zimbabwe, we had way more deadly opportunity to hurt ourselves), there was never a time when we were not signing and drawing on someone’s trophy of adventure.
I’m not saying I want my kids to hurt themselves, but when they do we help them up but we don’t fuss, we don’t hover and it’s treated as a badge of learning. As I say to them, ‘Stupid is supposed to hurt, that is how you learn to manage risk’, and then we go on to chat about risk and other fluffy parenting techniques.
But we continue to let them take risks; I take a deep breath and sometimes have to walk away and let Dad watch the antics but we let them carry on. I shudder as my 4 foot daughter takes a huge horse over a 6 foot jump, but she knows the risks and she wants to take them. I laugh as my son shimmies over a fallen log, perched above a river and berate him as we yank him out of the water, but having to wear my spare clothes for the rest of the hike was probably lesson enough!
But what we never fail to notice is the looks on the other kids faces who are not allowed to test themselves against the world and are told in loud, accusatory voices, ‘that is too dangerous’.
That child cannot learn cause and effect and risk management on an xbox under Mommy’s apron!
I am convinced that no risks as a child leads to dangerous risk taking behavior as a young adult, with way more devastating side effects.
As for poor writing skills, I leave this one thoroughly at the door of the Department of Education. Not schools and not teachers; they are just doing what they are told.
If kids spent less time coloring in little circles on test papers they might actually be taught how to write properly. I’m not talking about cursive as declared in the Edudemic article, as cursive is something that needs to go and needs to go now, but general penmanship, grammar and spinning a good yarn.
Is the author of the Edudemic article trying to tell me that due to being on technology at school all the time they are not learning to write? I call her out on that one. If, as it appears, she is referring to the abbreviated texting language for phones rather than using Word, then I again disagree. With proper education kids would know the difference between language and grammar for texting and that for essays. My son is 17 and going into his senior year, he has never written an essay, that is not the fault of cell phones and technology, that is the fault of teaching to the test.
Technology is not the demon it is the scapegoat for people who can’t or won’t take responsibility for their children’s academic and social learning. If there is an up side, it can lead to more tutoring![divider top=”0″]
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