Technology is growing so quickly that it is hard to keep up, but every once in a while something big happens and everyone pays attention – the internet, tablets and smartphones were big things.
The only time we saw such hi-tech devices was in movies, but today, from as young as a few months of age, many are exposed to technology that few only dreamt of 50 years ago.
While technology has helped us in countless ways in countless fields, it may also be affecting us negatively, particularly young children.
New research from Birmingham University exposes some disturbing truths about children and technology. According to the study, children as young as one year old are showing signs of technology addiction. Although the United States Government advises that children under the age of two should not use any form of technology, the UK does not have a stance on the matter.
The study showed that when children under the age of three use devices such as tablets, it has an adverse effect of their moods and concentration levels.
A survey taken by the parents also show differing opinions on the matter. Some believe integrating education with technology for young children will prove to be a benefit in future years, others find it hurt more than help. A common response on the study was, “My son’s reaction when it’s removed is worrying.”
One of the lead researchers explains, “It is in the interests of technology companies to aggressively market devices and apps to families with young children because they want to ensure that the next generation is securely attached to their products. Whether this is actually beneficial has become somewhat lost in the thrill of the new.”
Studies in Canada
Research from Canada shows a more detailed view of the effects on young children and have even created age-based guidelines for technology use.
They found that use of technology in children are the cause of a number of negative effects such as obesity, mental illness, sleep deprivation and aggression. It also causes a serious deficit in attention capabilities thus causing difficulty thus compromising all learning stages.
The American Academy of Pediatrics and the Canadian Society of Pediatrics advise that children between 0-2 years of age should not be exposed to any technology, 3-5 years should not exceed an hour of exposure per day and from the age of 6 until the end of adolescence should not be exposed for over 2 hours.
These guidelines are not implemented forcefully and the reality is that all age groups exceed exposure recommendation by 5 times on any given day.