Skip to content
Young children — even toddlers — are spending more and more time with digital technology. What will it mean for their development?
The Atlantic magazine explores this trend in its cover story, “The Touch-Screen Generation.”
Topics: Entertainment/New Media | Social Networking/Web
I find that these issues are usually way overhyped.
For example, in the second video, the woman was talking about how kids used to have to be trained in how to use a computer, but with these touch-screen devices, they pretty much pick it up on their own.
Well, why would that be? That certainly doesn’t jibe with what I used to hear about desktop computers and how expert the kids were with them and how easily they picked it all up.
It’s not like electronic devices are exactly new. We have a whole generation now that has grown up with electronics. Yet every generation acts as if its something new.
Pretty much just a lot of hype about nothing.
Log in to Reply
back to touch screens, might the touch screen be the language that connects us all. any other form of instant global communication as ubiquitous. i’m for global g4 as a human right…
Much of the reaction by “older people” seems alarmist but I believe their view is too deeply rooted in their own experience growing up– which they regard as normal.
We really don’t know what the effects of exposure to this technology will be on children but regardless of that, the future they experience will still be very different from what their parents experienced. Their children will be using technology which was undreamed of in the past. My own opinion is that parents should be striving to make this technology available to their children.
But parents will have to realize that what new technology can provide will be much more stimulating than most of the things they were raised with. That’s a difference which some will try to lessen by treating the technology as a form of reward (allowing access) or punishment (denial of access). Those parents will have to work harder to provide an alternative to tech stimulation. And they may have a difficult time succeeding. This may undermine a parent’s sense of self-worth and cause them to lash out at the technology.
We can’t predict what the results of tech access will be and that’s a source of much anxiety. I suspect we’re trying to control our children’s development to a pace with which we’re comfortable. But we’re not in control of technological development and some of us will ultimately feel betrayed when our children exceed our comfort level. I also suspect there’s a fear of becoming irrelevant in the teaching/guidance of “our” children. That feeling of connection between parent and child may be disappearing more rapidly than we like.
Children growing up today hopefully won’t be “normal” in the way their parents were. They will be different simply because they live in a time where much more is possible than was the case for previous generations. Their development should be different. For most, it should be much “better.” For some children–and probably for more than was possible in our own childhoods– it will be extraordinary. And that’s as it should be.
Dennis, you are spot on. Your post is the best description of what many people reflexively believe about technology and young people. The back to basics movement has had the effect of diminishing Higher Order Thinking Skills in students, while the better educational video games help develop Higher Order Thinking skills (See – Rice, J. W. (2007). Assessing Higher Order Thinking in Video Games. Journal of Technology and Teacher Education, 15(1), 87-100.
the evolution of esperanto…
Giving a lots of information that makes thrilling moment is not necessarily good for development of a child. Games promote aggression, fighting behavior, and reluctance to share. They do not know the right from the wrong just playing games. A supervisor or parent needed to regulate screen time, lest this becomes addictive and the child fights withdrawing the tablet or iPad. What have done with our kids with this menacing technology, uncontrolled.
A causal link between video games and aggression is a popular urban myth that is not backed up by scientific research. (See – Krahé, B. (2013). Violent Video Games and Aggression. The Oxford Handbook of Media Psychology, 352.) learning can be addictive, creating can be addictive, engagement can be addictive. Games have the power to facilitate learning, creativity, and engagement. May all learners become so addicted.
Giving a lots of information that makes thrilling moment is not necessarily god for development of a child. Games promote aggression, fighting behavior, and reluctance to share. They do not know the right from the wrong just playing games. A supervisor or parent needed to regulate screen time, lest this becomes addictive and the child fights withdrawing the tablet or iPad. What have done with our kids with this menacing technology, uncontrolled.
I’d argue that it’s not just technological games which promote aggression, etc. Sports do the same thing and they’re encouraged and celebrated. A similar argument could be made about classroom tests and homework grades. Children are being taught to “succeed” relative to their classmates– and to avoid “failure” which could lower their grades.
One thing which is ignored in discussing tech games is that there are options for communication with others– or even the technology itself. That’s a whole new world of learning opportunities which doesn’t exist without the technology.
When you put restrictions on technology, what else are you giving up?
I think it all depends on the dose. When a Kid reads all day long without doing other activities it can be harmful for there develoment. Media technology gets more and more ineractive and enforce creativity so this is a good thing right?
Anyways I for myself wouldnt allow my young kids (let alone toddlers) to get more then 10 minuets screentime for 2 reasons:
1. most of the content they would experience are Games. Games are known for creating an addiction behavior much stronger then non media games coz everything is instant and there is no end to a game.
2.The LCD/Tablet technology faced a real critical problemin the past concerning the LCD refresh rate, they fixed it with a fluorecent background panel to avoid consumer noticing the flickering. However the flickering is still there (just like in your normal TV) But adding the fluorecent light to it can have serious impacts on a grown up Brain.
There was a study with monkey who watched TV and the flickering rate made them go passive and in a dream like state!
Again it all depends on dosage but as it happens in the past parent swill park there kids in front of the television or now tablets for long periods of time. This is harmful !!!
Good points. Do you think an evolutionary viewpoint should be employed: say if humans essentially developed during the situation of the stone age, so a major part of child development should be with respect to that? How about distilling that into some kind of virtual space? Or is it ‘the real thing’ or nothing?
Definitely worth discussing. Being specific is the key: safety first and what are the numbers supporting any claim or criticism? An example of new tech on thought: It is said Einstein first thought about time change and reversals and speeding on a light beam just about when the first movies appeared. If kids grow up with a model of an ipad in their brains and thought processes? But this question is going to arise again and again: time to develop a proper appraisal methodology.
Right on the money with the need for a proper appraisal methodolgy.
We need focussed, unbiased research on this, not speculation.
This should be the approach before any opinion is formed, and about any subject, for that matter, not just this one.
Please log in to post a comment.
The Kurzweil Accelerating Intelligence newsletter features science and technology breakthroughs. It also lists new blog posts, events, videos, and books.
Read current newsletter