Crossfire: Is Modern Tech Ruining Childhood?

Technology can isolate kids indoors, but it can also provide social opportunities.   Photo Credit: Wikimedia Commons

Technology can isolate kids indoors, but it can also provide social opportunities.

Photo Credit: Wikimedia Commons

YES

By ZURI WASHINGTON

A 2015 study released by the Pew Research Center found that 92 percent of American teenagers surveyed report going online “daily,” and 24 percent said they go online “almost constantly.”

With so much time in a kid’s life devoted to phones and video games, less time is used on enjoying life’s natural activities, such as playing in the park, riding a bike, or even just hanging out with friends. Being outside is a basic way of being healthy. Staying inside on a phone or game all day doesn’t allow kids to get exercise or be exposed to natural sunlight. In a recent study, 57 percent of  parents said that the reason their children don’t go outside is because they are using some type of electronic, such as video games, watching TV, or listening to music (Larson 2011). 

Human face-to-face interaction is very important. Basic social skills like reading body language can only be learned by talking to someone in person. This is especially important for kids as these skills are developed through childhood, so as an adult, it’s easy to communicate and problem solve with others in a daily work environment. Yet with the rise of technology, many children communicate through wires and phones. This tends to create a lot of awkward face-to-face conversations where kids just don’t know what to say.

Childhood memories are supposed to be special. Yet with children being connected to their devices, those memories of playing tag, going to the mall, or hanging out at the beach start to become less prevalent. As time goes on, all most people will remember about their childhood is being on Instagram or on the PS4. Childhood memories are special because they are fun times we can’t get back, but technology is taking away that specialness.

NO

By NICHOLAS JHAGROO

Technology enhances the social lives of many children. Although many may argue that things such as video games or tablets can keep a child inside the house and stop social interactions, those things can actually help with social lives.

According to a study done by the Pew Research Center and the MacArthur Foundation in 2008, children who played video games developed better conversation skills than children who did not play video games. The reason for this is that there are many games that require cooperation between friends. If children develop better communication skills with the use of technology in their childhoods, then it will help to improve their overall social skills as they grow up.

Technology also helps a child express their ideas in new ways. Twenty years ago, children only had things such as crayons or paint to draw and express creativity. Today we can help a child to bring their ideas to life using 3D animation and 3D printers. Children today can even share their creations through social media. With all this put together, modern technology gives a child endless opportunities to explore, find new creativity, and find discover hidden talents during their childhood.

The world is only becoming more advanced, and there is no going back from here. More children are going to have technology, and we should welcome it because they are going to make great use of it.