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“Children spend two hours and 19 minutes a day with “screen media,” which includes mobile devices, television, DVDs and videos, video game players, computers, and small digital devices such as iPods and virtual reality headsets” (Hopkinson). Many people believe that technology can be a good thing in the instance of connecting people with others from across the world, improving motor and cognitive skills, as well as easy access to information. On the other hand, there are people who believe that spending long periods of time on technology can cause many issues with kids’ social-emotional development and health. Excessive use of technology can lead low self-esteem, anxiety, lack of social skills, loneliness, disconnection from family and friends, change in mood, obesity, and psychiatric disorders.
Low self-esteem is one of the many effects that excessive use of technology can have on youth. “With social media, teens can curate their lives, and the resulting feeds read like highlight reels, showing only the best and most enviable moments while concealing efforts, struggles, and the merely ordinary aspects of day-to-day life. And there’s evidence that those images are causing distress for many kids” (Ehmke). Kids only want others to see the good in them, so they never express the other side of their lives that is full of hardship and triumph. Kids tend to compare themselves to others, which can cause self-esteem issues because they feel like they don’t meet up to other expectations.
Self-esteem issues can lead to anxiety in kids. Anxiety has a direct link with low self-esteem (Evans). Anxiety is defined as a state of being worried or nervous. Kids with self-esteem issues worry about what people think of them. A study was done that tested how many people had anxiety after using social media, the results were as follows, “that more time spent using social media was significantly associated with greater symptoms of dispositional anxiety” (Vannucci). Social media is a place to show everyone what things are happening in someone’s life. When others see the post, it can make someone worries and think that they are not as good as everyone else. Also, when kids post something on Instagram, Facebook, Snapchat, etc. for others to see, other people can criticize the post creating a sense of worry that people might judge them. Technology may cause kids to have anxiety because they are worried about what others think of them.
Technology not only causes low self-esteem and anxiety, but also causes a lack of social interaction and social skills, as well as a disconnection from family and friends. An article done by Health Research Funding stated, “They would have less family time. Interpersonal relationships will be difficult to develop and they may not even have many friends. Even if they do socialize, they may struggle to mingle with kids. The anonymity and the sense of empowerment that technology provides actually don’t help a child to become expressive, an articulate communicator or an empathetic person.” Kids that use technology can be withdrawn from family and friend relationships and lack the social skills needed to form relationships with other.
Technology can cause a change of mood in children. An example of this is my nephew who gets upset when his mother takes away his tablet because he was playing on it for too long. After his mom takes away his tablet he starts to cry and sometimes hits his mom because he is mad at her for taking his tablet away. Physiatrist Dr M. Swamenathan said that kids “Increases aggressive responses from playing violent video games.” Kids playing video games can cause kids to obtain an aggressive behavior because they see aggressive behavior in a video game, so they mimic the behaviors. Youth who play electronics may show signs of aggression or hatred towards their parents when they take the kids devices away. Technology may cause children to have mood changes because kids get upset that their parents took away their tablet. Kids may also have aggression because they copy characters aggressive behaviors that they see in video games.
Another affect technology can have on children and teenagers is obesity. Obesity can be caused by having a sedentary life style. Technology “Encourages sedentary lifestyle: as mentally stimulating as they are, technological devices do not promote physical stimulation as much as physical activity. Kids need to move about as it helps them to build strong muscles and learn what their bodies can do. When sedentary lifestyle becomes a habit since young, kids will be faced with the increased risk of obesity”. Youth who are constantly playing video games, watching television, sitting on their phones, etc. are losing the time to do exercise that is required to have a healthy lifestyle. Without physical activity, kids can gain weight much faster than a kid who exercises. Eventually kids gain so much weight from having a sedentary lifestyle that they would be considered obese. Obesity can be caused by a sedentary lifestyle that technology offers.
Not only can technology make a kid obese but it can cause numerous of other psychological disorders. Youth using some sort of device for long amounts of time can lead to many types of psychiatric disorders. A wide range of studies and research has been “conducted over the past years trying to understand the fallout of excessive use of technology among kids. Today, more kids have development disability. More kids are obese than ever before. More kids are being diagnosed with psychiatric disorders. ADHD, coordination disorder, anxiety, sensory processing disorder and depression among kids are on the rise”. Kids can have trouble focusing, problems with coordination, have anxiety, etc. because of excessive amounts of time on technology. Technology is affecting kid’s health in some of the most basic functions like focusing, the way they sense things, the way they move, etc. Spending large amounts of time on technology can cause kids to have psychiatric disorders.
Although there are many bad things technology can do to kids social-emotional development and health, there are also good things that technology can do for kids. Technology can connect youth with their family and friends from across the world. Children’s motor skills can also be improved. One example of a motor skill that can be developed from playing on a computer or tablet is hand-eye coordination. Children’s cognitive skills can also be improved by learning games that technological apps offer. Apps can teach kids to read, think about things more deeply, help with their memory, etc. Technology also makes easy access to information. Easy access to the internet can cut down a lot of time trying to look something up in a book. Technology can be used to teach youth basic functions and to connect them with others from anywhere in the world. Despite the fact that technology can be a good thing there is a bad side to good things. Technology can connect people from across the globe, but it can also put children in contact with sexual predators. I have heard of many cases where kids, especially teenage girls who are in contact with people they think want to be a friend but when they finally meet the kids end up getting kidnapped.
Also, just like established earlier, devices can help improve motor skills in children, but it can also prevent them from doing physical activity because they haven’t gained the muscle needed to do to physical activity or because they a sedentary lifestyle. Technology can also halt growth in kid’s cognitive skills because they don’t talk to people in person, they only talk to people virtually. Finally, youth having access can be a helpful tool if used right, but it can expose them to dangerous things like pornography. Seeing pornography can cause an addiction to it, which can harm children brains. Technology can be a great tool to connect youth with others, improve kids cognitive and motor skills, and allow easy access to information but it can also be harmful to kids because they can talk to people who they don’t know and put themselves in harm. Technology can also keep kids from interacting with parents, learning how to walk, as well as exposing them to things that can be harmful to their body and mind.
Excessive amounts of time on technology can affect the way kid’s social-emotional development and their health. Children and teenagers can have low self-esteem, anxiety, lack of social skills, loneliness, disconnection from family and friends, change in mood, obesity, and psychiatric disorders because they spend a large portion of their days on their phones, watching television, playing video games, etc. In some ways technology can connect kids with others, teach them fine motor and cognitive skills, and gives them easy access to information. Although there are good things about technology there is so much bad things technology can do to children.
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