Kids And Technology: Are Our Children Being Exposed To PCs, Tablets & Phones Too Early?

Following a recent BBC news story about a five-year-old boy who inadvertently spent £1,700 of his parents’ money on iTunes, there is a growing debate about the dangers of children being exposed to technology too early in life.

One of the main problems with modern technology devices like laptops and smart phones is the amount of time that many children are spending on them. Instead of engaging in conventional activities such as visiting friends or participating in extra-curricular clubs or classes, many school children are now spending their weekday evenings glued to their laptops or tablets, shrouded from the outside world.

Technology and social development

While many children still socialise with their friends on popular online media outlets like Facebook, they avoid face-to-face interaction and fail to develop their verbal communication skills.

Indeed, in a report by the BBC Today programme in 2011, technology correspondent Rory Cellan-Jones discussed the growing fears of how technology might reduce our ability to communicate effectively in business and social situations. The former chairman of Lloyds TSB, Sir Victor Blank, believed that messages send through e-mails and social networking tend to be more 'rude' and are often sent hastily, which increases the risk of making bad judgements or sending important information without careful consideration beforehand.

Relationship with childhood obesity

According to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 15 percent of Americans between the age of 6 and 19 are categorised as overweight. Because more children are opting to spend their spare time on internet-receiving devices like laptops, tablets and smart phones, they are less likely to participate in exercise and may often remain virtually immobile for several hours at a time. Combined with a poor diet of high calories and a deficiency of fruit and vegetables, this increases the risk of these children becoming obese and developing chronic medical conditions later in life. A Canadian study entitled ‘International Journal of Obesity’ supports this view, suggesting that children spending at least 3 hours a day using a technology device had a 10 to 61 percent chance of becoming obese.

Should young school children be exposed to technology?

One of the advantages of learning how to use modern technological devices like laptops and PCs from a young age is that it teaches children vital IT skills, which are essential for adulthood. However, it is important to make sure that all children – at school and at home – have plenty of time away from their computers and smart phones to enable them to develop their social skills, explore their creativity and learn how to survive without technology.

Author Bio:
Wesley Adams always has one eye on the latest technology news. He sources great news stories and shares his insight into the latest IT innovations on behalf of Essex company Sprint Integration.

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