Growing Technology Use by Young Children and Its Effect on Their Interpersonal Skills

Growing Technology Use by Young Children and Its Effect on Their Interpersonal Skills

Introduction

The development of a child is subject to different factors such as the environment and the socio-economic status of the family, which influence the kind of behaviors they adopt, or the attitude towards the life they have or even the choices they make. This research project will focus on the development of children concerning their interaction with technology influenced by . The significance of the research topic is visible in the sense that modern children get bombarded with such technology from almost the moment they are born. The research project aims to review how technology is affecting their development and learning processas these manifest in their interpersonal skills and interactions.In this paper, I will highlight aspects of smartphones and social media use which affect the interpersonal skills and interactions hence the social development of childrendespite its importance. As globalization takes root, the value of family is slowing diminishing in that since 1980; prices have risen while worker pay, remains stagnant. Therefore, this leads to a situation where, even in two-parent middle-class households, both parents need to work to support the family.  As a result, parents find themselves too busy to nurture a child the essential way and instead, they are forced to rely on technology, and other forms help to bring up their children. Hence, children, today lack the social and human aspects of interaction since they are left to their smartphones and tablets to keep them entertained. Consequently, this seems toaffect how this particular generation is developing, both physically and mentally. Therefore, I am concerned that these gadgets, particularly smartphones and tablets, are negatively impacting these children’s interpersonal skills.

 

 

Objectives

  1. To examine the correlation that existsbetween the use of smartphones and tablets and reduced development of social and interpersonal skills among young children
  2. To assess the effects of technological exposure on children as compared to infused learning processes which help these children create a balance between technology and learning.
  3. To increase my understanding of child development and how it can be affected by the absence of a parent/guardian
  4. To have a professional understanding as to how have changed the learning process in school over the years and how schooling with smartphone technology and education without smartphones technology differ.
  5. Finally, provide a guideline as to how are affecting these children and how best both parents/caregivers can help the educators/teachers avert this problem by working together.

Methodology

The continued infusion of smartphone technology into our school system has seen the age children can access and use technology drastically go down. Consequently, with this increased access, our children have had to pay a hefty price. This research will focus on the effects of the freedom we, as parents, have accorded our children in allowing them an increased and interrupted access to smartphone technology. In tackling these effects, the research will also touch on how these effects have translated into behavior, attitudes, and social misconduct (Thomee et al. 2011). Parents/caretakers/learning centers are finding themselves burdened with a challenge that does not have a manuscript to consult on how to handle their children.

The problem of smartphone technology and child development is one that requires an intensive review as the smartphone technology onslaught, driven by high commerce, which does not seem to slow down any time soon. The time which children interact with smartphone technology is prevalent especially due to the development of new accessible and portable devices for different purposes (Hosokawa &Katsura, 2018). Hence, this will require the integration of both caregivers and children in finding a solution.

 

Literature Review

Turkle (2015) addresses the problem of a digital age that no longer embraces the simplicity of regular interaction. He is keen to show how people decide to hide behind smartphone technology and embrace their phones as the actual source that conduit any form of communication. The platform and context of conversations and interaction have shifted as a result of technology. The contextual understanding of the term “interaction” has changed from that of having a physical, social meaning; instead, it has adopted a practical sense. As a result, the true meaning of social interaction got lost in a technological construct that defines the human conversation. The smartphone technology menace which points out that humanity has lost its foothold by substituting social interactions with technology similar to children with the smartphone technology (Rosen, 2012). According to Rosen technology in the context of human necessity that replaced how we (humans) choose to view ourselves, behave, interact, and even raise our children.  Consequently, this has affected how we want to communicate and effectively to allow us to get obsessed with a platform that confers us with no real value.

People have lost the real power of communication and have instead chosen to adopt one that does qualify and justify the true meaning and value of the interpersonal interaction. There is a need to reclaim the conversation that allowed people to find and have interest, in not only the physical attributes but also the social element of interaction. Consequently, early exposure to smartphone technology among young children leads to addictionChildren are more vulnerable than adults, and their addiction to smartphone technology is brought about by the content churned by the internet. King et al. (2012) on the other hand, tackles the medical effects of addiction to the internet. He points out the development of physical complications such as neck problems and digital eye setback which are as a result of lack of movement. He also points out the mental issues such as sleep disturbances, depression, and anxiety that children face as a result of long hours on their smartphones/tablets.

Incidentally, we have become possessed by the possibilities that technology offers us and have forgotten that the real purpose of it (technology) was to help and not replace. We have instead chosen to replace our human aspects with technology, with little care of how that is affecting us. According to King et al. (2012) and Chen et al. (2016), our obsession with smartphone technology has come at a cost. Essentially, for our children, who lack the control to know and understand the negative implications of technology to their health.

NirEyal, a consultant for the tech industry, teaches about the intersection of psychology, technology, and business. The Guardian. At the 2017 Habit Summit seminar, Eyal shared that as a precaution to his family, is one of a timer which gets connected to a router whose function is to disconnect the internet access every day at a set time (Lewis, 2017). Another tech mogul, Justin Rosenstein, who formerly worked as a Facebook engineer, the developer of the “like” button, shares concerns similar to those of Eyal. Rosenstein says, “It is normal for humans to inventthings with great intentions only for these things to have unintended, negative consequences.” He is concerned with the growing psychological effects on people who appear to be addicted users of social media.

Finally, companies like Comcast offer Pause and Bedtime Mode features, the ability to bring to halt Wi-Fi access over home networks immediately during the set times. “If those who developed these technologies partake such measures, shouldn’t other people practice rational free will?   Nurturing tech-savvy children with a sensible and healthy approach to the time spent on screens such as smartphones is proving to be challenging, mainly because these kids are privileged enough (Lewis, 2017). As adults, we still have that authorityto ensure that regardless of this privilege the young children should get guided using ways which will not affect their interpersonal skills, especially during social interactions.

Internet addiction which refers to the compulsive behavior of using online-related material which interferes with normal living causing the need to come up with helpful interventions. Lau et al. (2011) address the value of interventions to solve the problem of internet addiction among the youth. His argument gets constructed on the understanding that technology is here to stay and therefore there is a need to adopt technology-friendly intervention that will help the children in using these technologies responsibly. A parent-initiative intervention that includes and involves both the teacher/educator and the parent/guardian in assisting these children in dealing with technology should get implemented (Christia&Seidl, 2016). The importance of adopting an all-inclusive intervention as such allows the society to eradicate the problem of addiction to smartphone technology among children. The all-conclusive intervention that requires the inclusion of parents, caregivers and teachers measure of Linebarger et al. (2014) recommends in combating the effects of technology among children.

The detrimental effects suffered by children when they are young as a result of smartphone technology eventually affects them in their adult life. The correlation between parenthood, media use, and children exposed to the technology paint a blurred picture that needs to be addressed very urgently to ensure that these effects do not exceed beyond into adulthood. As smartphone technology use and importance grows, its proliferation into homes will increase, thus requiring an immediate solution.

Results and Discussion

The research on the growing smartphone use by young children and its effect on their interpersonal skills provided a detailed view of smartphone technology and its adverse impact on young children’s cognitive development and interpersonal skills. The enticement to the use of social media on smartphones or tablets is perhaps one of the enormous problems parents/caregivers are facing. Another problem identified is that of games that have been identified by nearly all parents or caregivers as the biggest problem they have with the use of smartphones/tablets (Sarwar & Rahim, 2013). The games on smartphones disconnect the young children from the true essence that comes with social interactions.  All the parents/caregivers agreed that besides games and social media, peer pressure and mass media playa very significant role in creating a problem of social media. The reason is mainly due to the popularity of technology as a “necessary” item or advancement for entertainment and as a tool of interaction.

One of the significant, noteworthy concerns of parents concerns the different concentration whereby children’s interests have shifted from practical acts such as playing with their peers to impractical ones of playing games on their smartphones. For example, one parent noted that their child no longer spends as much time, as they previously used to, playing outside, after they got bought a phone. Caregivers/parents protestthat their children have exchanged their play time in spending their time in front of their phone/tablet screens. Consequently, this has affected and reduced the amount of physical time they spend with their friends.

The interpersonal skills deteriorated making these children loners. As a result, the children face difficulty in expressing themselves verbally during their encounter with their fellow peers, family, and friends. Notably, this happens when interacting with their friends or even other family members and also during classes interactions where the children are required to participate in answering questions and explaining themselves. Another possible instance of where the interpersonal skills of young children get negatively affected is during a physical activity where they lack the vibrancy that children their age have before getting introduced to smartphone technology.

The over-reliance on smartphone technology is negatively affecting children in the development of interpersonal, cognitive, and motor skills. According to research conducted in 2011 smartphone shipment registered 73 million units which prove their prevalence. The fact that smartphone use allows young children and people in general to multi-task makes it a crucial source of distraction (Sarwar & Rahim, 2013).The disturbance caused by smartphone use not only distracts the young child using it but also those around them. Encouraging these young children to use smartphones even in schools motivates them to even steal during assessments and examinations. The overreliance on smartphone technology has altered their understanding of reality by instead creating a virtual pathway of interaction. These children have been denied, by these phones/tablets, the opportunity to interact with the real world and form real relationships. Instead, they are forced to formulate online interaction skills that affect their social skills. Therefore, particularly noted by both parents and teachers, young children are less enthusiastic due to the addiction to smartphone technology.

 

 

Conclusion

The extent to which technology is affecting children’s ability to interact is alarming. The reason is mainly due to the obsessive nature of technology and how it is changing the development of children wholesomely. It is not only affecting them socially but also physically as technology has affected and reduced their physical activity time. More so, children’s mental capability and capacity gets negatively impacted as a result. There is, therefore, a need for quick intervention or an implementation of a parent/educator initiative that helps these children interact with technology. The importance of technology is undeniable, and therefore parents and teachers need to find an amicable solution that will help the children adapt to this new-age phenomena.

 

Reference

Chen, Y., &Gau, S. S. (2016).Sleep problems and internet addiction among children and adolescents: a longitudinal study. J Sleep Res, 25: 458-465. Doi: 10.1111/jsr.12388

Cristia, A., &Seidl, A. (2015). Parental reports on touch screen use in early childhood. PLoS ONE, 10(6): e0128338. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0128338

Hosokawa R, Katsura T (2018) Association between mobile technology use and child adjustment in early elementary school age. PLoS ONE 13(7): e0199959. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0199959

Karlson, A.K., Bederson, B. B., &Contreras-Vidal, J. L.(2006). Understanding single-handed mobile device interaction. HCIL Tech Report, Human-Computer Interaction Lab, University ofMaryland: College Park.

King, D. L., Delfabbro, P. H., Griffiths, M. D., &Gradisar, M. (November 01, 2012). Cognitive-Behavioral Approaches to Outpatient Treatment of Internet Addiction in Children and Adolescents. Journal of Clinical Psychology, 68, 11, 1185-1195.

Lau, P. W., Lau, E. Y., Wong., P., &Ransdell, L. (January 01, 2011). A systematic review of information and communication technology-based interventions for promoting physical activity behavior change in children and adolescents. Journal of Medical Internet Research, 13, 3.)

Lewis, Paul. “’Our Minds Can Be Hijacked’: the Tech Insiders Who Fear a Smartphone Dystopia.” The Guardian, Guardian News, and Media, 6 Oct. 2017, www.theguardian.com/technology/2017/oct/05/smartphone-addiction-silicon-valley-dystopia.

Linebarger, D. L., Barr, R., Lapierre, M. A., & Piotrowski, J. T. (2014). Associations between parenting, media use, cumulative risk, and children’s executive functioning. Journal of Developmental & Behavioral Pediatrics35(6), 367-377. doi:10.1097/DBP.0000000000000069

Rosen, L. D. (2012). IDisorder: Understanding our obsession with technology and overcoming its hold on us. New York: Palgrave Macmillan.

http://proceedings.dtu.dk/fedora/repository/dtu:2601/OBJ/x215.1041-1045.pdf.

Thomee, S.,Harenstam, A., &Hagberg, M. (2011). Mobile phone use and stress, sleep disturbances and symptoms of depression among young adults. BMC public health. Retrieved from http://bmcpublichealth.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/1471-2458-11-66

Sarwar, M., &Soomro, T. R. (2013). Impact of smartphones on society. European journal of scientific research98(2), 216-226.

Turkle, S. (2015). Reclaiming conversation: The power of talk in a digital age.

 

 
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