“My daughter had taught herself to swipe open an iPhone before she could walk, and since then, has a go-to slate of apps she navigates to, fiddles with and, occasionally, deletes, She is not yet 2 years old. Despite our best efforts, she is drawn to the glow of a smartphone or tablet like the proverbial moth to flame, and it is when we try to wrest it from her tiny fingers that we have discovered the modern phenomenon of the tech tantrum.”
Over half of the world’s parents have issues very similar to this frustrated parent’s article, it could all be fixed with one simple rule.
Technology has been a shortcut to simple ways of living life, however these shortcuts are throwing us into a deep hole of addiction.
Today I am going to explain to you why there should be a law stating that children under the age of twelve should not be exposed to technology. If this crisis isn’t addressed to the next generations won’t have the skills needed to have a successful society.
Firstly, I will be explaining why technology has ruined relationships. Children are being introduced to screens before they can walk. This is the beginning of a childhood of tech tantrums, ignoring parents because phones take priority, and sitting for hours as a family watching television without even speaking a word to each other.
A social experiment asked a group of children aged 4-6 if they would like to watch tv or spend time with their fathers. Heart breakingly, 54% of these children chose television over their own parent.
This is just the beginning of a generation that will choose facebook over spouses, and Xbox over their kids.
Adolescents with unlimited screen time may not receive enough face to face interaction needed to develop proper social skills. A Wall Street Journal article called this “silent fluency”. The ‘Tech Generation’ is lacking the ability to read cues like tone, body language and facial expressions. Email and texts don’t convey this like face to face conversations do. This era is at risk to lose their silent fluency abilities.
This means that when this generation reaches adulthood, they won’t understand how to understand others. “These are all fundamental to establishing human relationships. And they’re all missing with most forms of modern technology,” says psychologist Jim Taylor. “Kids are spending so much time communicating through technology that they’re not developing basic communication skills that humans have used forever. Communication is not just about words.” which brings me to my next point.
Children aren’t experiencing a proper childhood. Kids are given no responsibilities except to have fun, use their imagination and complete the occasional chore. Their days are meant to be filled with pretending you are a king or queen, drawing creative pictures, and reading.
However, the digital generation is being robbed of a proper childhood.
Rapid brain growth takes place between the ages of 0-2. During this period the brain triples in size, growing faster than it will in any point in your life. Early brain development is determined by environmental stimuli or lack of stimuli. Because children are playing outside two hours less a week than two decades ago, choosing instead to spend extra time watching TV, or go on the computer, their brains aren’t growing as fast as previously.
This is resulting in depression, anxiety, attachment disorder, ADHD, autism, bipolar disorder, psychosis and problematic child behaviour.
If technology has claimed to help children soar in education, how has it gotten to the point that it has created so many brain issues, making it increasingly more difficult for them to receive an education? Which brings me to my conclusion.
Technology has been advertised as an amazing shortcut to life, even for children who can’t even talk or walk. Why should kids call up an old friend when they could just find them on instagram in less than a minute? Why go outside and play sports when you can experience the same kind of fun brought to you through a game console?
What we don’t see behind all these billboards and posters proving just how great phones and computers are, is that these “harmless” pieces of metal are taking over our lives, impacting children under the age of twelve so greatly.
The two examples of many I have chosen to talk about today is how screens are ruining relationships, and why kids aren’t experiencing a proper childhood. I hope now you have opened your eyes to the potential risk that is put in place when children are exposed to screens.