How Technology Affects Children

Technology is the forefront of American society as we know it today. The world has changed to where now almost everything relies on some sort of technology. People can order groceries online and have them ready at the door to be picked up. People can communicate every day without ever having to see one another. There are tons of perks that come with technology, but often these perks can have negative side effects. Children are being exposed too much to technology at a young age, and it is affecting their health, social skills, and safety.
Technology, when used correctly, is not always a bad resource. Look at where the United States stands right now. Coronavirus has caused school to be moved from classrooms to homes. A lot of the teaching is now being done through technology. If we did not have technology during this pandemic, the continuation of teaching students would be extremely difficult. There are many opportunities technology can provide. Technology is a great resource to find information, can prepare students for the future, and can help students communicate with teachers. Technology has unlocked several doors to help people be successful. With these doors opening however many other negative problems have arisen.
Technology has evolved tremendously over the past 15 years. With this change in technology, child obesity rates have also changed. According to The Official Journal of American Academy Pediatrics, “several studies have been done to prove there is a direct cause and effect relationship between screen time and weight gain in children.” (Screen Media Exposure and Obesity in Children and Adolescents) In one study, two California schools were chosen, and one was given directions on limiting screen time along with other useful precautions to keep students active. The other school, however, had no intervention of lessons on screen limiting. The results proved that the children in the school that received information significantly slowed their gain in BMI. Thus, proving the simple intervention on-screen time had a direct effect on slowing weight gain. Obesity has become more of a problem in schools simply because of technology and screen time allowed. Kids are more into video games than going outside and throwing a football. If, however, the kids are taught screen time limitations, child obesity rates could begin to decrease.
Not only does the actual act of being on the devices cause obesity issues, what is being shown on the screen is the root of the problem. Kids are constantly being exposed to commercials showing unhealthy food options as an advertisement. Companies spend millions of dollars every year on food advertising directly targeted at younger children. Kids are an extremely easy target, what they see is what they want. If unhealthy food options are being shown, the kids are more likely to pick what they see on television over anything else. Just adding more fuel to the fire of child obesity.
Every parent knows how easily kids can be distracted. Some parents chose to use technology as a distraction tool. Often you will see children upset in public and the parent will stick a phone in their face. Kids are easily fascinated by the gadget, and it quickly becomes an easy fix to the parent’s problem. To calm kids down at night, technology is often used. What happens when this calm down method becomes addicting, leading to children staying up to the early morning hours? Sleep is a huge part of staying healthy. When children don’t get as much sleep it can affect their attitude, weight, and appetite. Sticking a phone in a kid's face seems like an easy fix at that moment, but what people don't realize is it causes more problems than the one tiny problem it fixed.
Adults often look at young children and reminisce about being that age and thinking the world is a perfect place. When kids are young, they are almost always happy and carefree. Technology hasn’t taken away children’s happiness, it has just caused them to achieve the feeling differently. According to a BYU psychology graduate student, “children are now seeking happiness through technology to reach a happy high. In past years this happy high, that's educationally known as dopamine, would come from face to face interactions. Children are needing fewer social interactions because they achieve their happiness from technology.” (French) If the kids are getting what they want through technology, there is no need for them to have face to face interaction. What kids aren't realizing is how this lack of face to face interaction is affecting them down the road. If children do not practice and learn proper social skills growing up, when they are adults, they will lack this vital skill. Jobs everywhere require you to communicate well, and technology is causing the face to face communication to decrease year after year.
The lack of social skills is not only will affect the children in their future professional life, but it can cause sickness. This sickness is a social anxiety disorder. "Social anxiety disorder is a psychiatric illness characterized by fear or embarrassment, leading to the avoidance of social situations. For children who seek online experiences over the face to face ones, it can intensify their social impairments.” (Elizabeth Hoge) Children are becoming so afraid of social situations it is causing them severe anxiety. Technology is allowing children an alternate route to avoiding social interactions. So, when children eventually have to face this social fear it becomes almost unbearable to them. All of this caused simply by not having enough face to face interaction to learn those vital social skills.
Parents' main priorities when it comes to their kids is normally their health and safety. Clearly, technology can have a direct effect on children's health, but it also can have a direct effect on their safety. The internet can make safety extremely hard to monitor. “88% of social media using teens say that they have seen someone being mean or cruel to them on a social network site.” (National Voices for Equality, Education, and Enlightenment ) The numbers are astonishing. Cyberbullying is almost a normal occurrence for kids now. Sadly, all over the world kids are committing suicide due to online interactions with other people. Cyberbullying is a new form of bullying technology has allowed to happen. Kids can anonymously pick on other kids through technology and spread hurtful information like wildfire. All these most times without the parents ever even realizing what it is happening until it is too late. Not only is cyberbullying a threat but predators also like to lurk the internet. Kids don't always know who they are talking to on the other side of the screen. Technology needs to be monitored in the hands of young children to prevent these situations.
The world has become a much different place because of technology. This new lifestyle that revolves around technology has many positives. With these positives come even more negatives for children. People must start taking the steps to fix these rising problems. Children growing up in this time are being heavily influenced by technology. Society must adapt as well and learn what is and isn’t healthy when dealing with children and technology. I had trouble doing my essay. But what a luck, I’ve found this social work research topics list. I’ve read so many samples of assignments there, and it helped me to create my own one.