What in the past used to be a very crowded community park is nowadays only filled with a few irregular visitors and some degree of silence. This can be attributed to the effects of technology on young Children. Most of the Children and teenagers spend about 75% of their daily lives with their eyes glued to a screen either computer, smartphone or a tablet. This is according to a study conducted by the International Center for Media and the Public Agenda or ICMPA (Noor & Hendricks, 2012) .
This study also discovered that students that switched off their electronic gadgets for around 24 hours start feeling lonely and they fail to know how to fill up their extra time. The overall majority of today’s generation has not been able to learn how to engage their minds without making use of technology or the very popular social media. The increasingly prominent role that is being played by social media in the society has served to both decrease and increases the progress of interpersonal communications (Noor & Hendricks, 2012).
Gone are the days that one would wait for about ten minutes for web browser and page to load. Nowadays, technology makes things to happen in an instant. It allows us to follow up on old childhood friends and get instant updates on their progress and issues in life without even asking them or physically meeting up with them. Social media has grown from being a mere social activity that is used as a means of passing time to a way of everyday life and the problems that may be in the social media are finding their way into regular life(Noor & Hendricks, 2012). Sherry Turkle also discusses in her article entitled, “The Flight from Conversation,” how we have become addicted and emotionally attached to technology because our devices have taken the place of personal relationships. They provide constant companionship, making it less necessary to connect with people personally. Turkle also talks about how a device provides the best part of a relationship. She says the devices “provide three powerful fantasies: that we will always be heard; that we can put our attention wherever we want it to be; and that we will never have to be alone” (337). Therefore, because technology is able to make humans feel less alone, and always heard, it is more likely that they will turn to technology than another human being.
It is a false sense of comfort to believe that technology connects us to one another better or replaces deep, meaningful relationships. Claudia Wallis discusses in her article, “The Multitasking Generation,” how our constant need for stimuli can make it hard for us to be alone when she quotes Donald Roberts, a professor of communication at Stanford, who says, “It seems there’s almost a discomfort with not being stimulated—a kind of ‘I can’t stand the silence’” (389). It is important for us to learn to be alone with our own thoughts—with silence—so that we can think for ourselves. Constant stimulation keeps us from being alone—and if we are unable to be alone, according to Turkle, we will be lonely. Therefore, they are not only isolating themselves from other humans but losing touch with who they are.
Verbal communication is very necessary for the development of humans. However, non-verbal communications such as body language always reveal more about the emotions or mental state of the person we are communicating with. In cases where there are not enough face-to-face communications, these cues that are mostly nonverbal are always unable to properly develop. This turn of events skews children’s relationships with other people as they mature in a society that is technology inclusive. Social media are anything but social. Whenever we open our computers and smart phones, w, on the other hand, shut our physical doors (Noor & Hendricks, 2012). Wallis explains that communicating via technology cannot provide a meaningful relationship, as facial expressions and body language are lost—both of which are important in bonding with others. The body language and facial expressions that they get is how they get to know each other.
The modern child is increasingly, more dependent on electronic gadgets and decreasingly depends on the general human interactions. They may own an account on twitter that has hundreds of followers but on the other hand still feel lonely since they rarely interact with other children outside like it used to be in the public parks or playing a soccer game. Psychology professor Larry Rosen says that children are required to use technology at an acceptable ratio of one to five (Noor & Hendricks, 2012). This means that for every one minute or one hour that is spent in front of the computer, another five minutes or five hours have to be spent doing something completely different that involves his or her interaction with other human beings on a physical nature. This may include talking with other people, and doing other activities that calm the brain like taking to hiking or camping without the electronics. Relationships are very crucial; human beings are social creatures, and they always crave for some form of human interactions. This kind of interaction cannot be completely replaced by the modern technology (Noor & Hendricks, 2012).
Excess tech time leads to the manifestation of laziness and encourages the kids to live a more or less sedentary form of life that may indirectly contribute to them being overweight and obese. U.S based CDC stated that approximately ten percent of preschool children and fifteen percent of children that are aged between six to seventeen years are classified as being obese in the U.S with another significant portion nearing the overweight mark. Technology does almost everything for us nowadays (Noor & Hendricks, 2012). We do not have to go necessarily physically to the mall or even local post office, or take a walk to the local movie theatre. We can just order these services from the comfort of our homes. Some have gone to the extent of doing their grocery shopping on the internet. We are thus not required to make any physical effort to do anything. We are always looking for more innovative and easier ways to accomplish our tasks and technology always steps in with innovations that assist our course (Noor & Hendricks, 2012).
It has been estimated young children spend about seven hours per day sited in front of a television screen watching some programs, playing a Xbox or video games or using the computer to browse various sites and forums. Many studies have suggested that children should spare at least one hour of the screen time to take part in some physical activities. This otherwise minor change in lifestyle can make a significant difference in the lives of the children by avoiding health complications in the future (Noor & Hendricks, 2012).
The type of impersonal communication that arises from technology or social media platforms often results in opinions, arguments and some crude remarks since the two or more individuals that are communicating with one another are not facing one another hence can avoid some form of decency or decorum when dealing with one another. People say unremarkable things since the telephone or computer interface offers them a buffer. This often leads to cyberbullying that can affect the recipient in ways that one may not imagine. Some have been driven to suicide by comments that are directed towards them on social media platforms (Noor & Hendricks, 2012). Therefore, technology can make one feel less empathetic as they stop thinking of others on the computer or phone as a human being. When there is not face to see and ability to read expressions, it is easier to be rude. Also, there is no immediate threat of what they might do or say back.
Society’s over reliance on social media for a confidence boost and self-validation often leaves some of them feeling bullied, empty handed or even targeted. If people’s only reason for living is to get some positive facebook or Instagram feed, they will mostly end up feeling short. There has been a common misconception that real life is no always depicted on these platforms. Most users tend to only highlight and post aspects of their lives that are exciting, or adventurous. In case one takes these posts seriously and compares with his otherwise ‘dull’ and uneventful life, his self-esteem is bound to take a hit and this may even drive them to depression and a feeling of worthlessness (Noor & Hendricks, 2012).
It is apparent that there are dangers that technology and devices can have. Devices cannot replace meaningful relationships and the dependence that many have on them can give a false sense of being “connected” with one another. Many have false relationships with our devices, which is damaging to our emotional wellbeing. Being too connected to technology can damage one’s health because it takes them away from physical activities. Technology does not provide us with all aspects of a relationship necessary for bonding. It can keep us from having real relationship. In a society that is technologically advanced, individuals may benefit from enjoying the most important and unexpected life moments without having to post its documentation on social media. Also, individuals need to think of others they interact with on social media as human beings with feelings. Socializing with others through technology is fine, but being with them in person is even better. Good, healthy relationships are what make society strong. Teaching young children the value of having healthy personal relationships will be essential to ensuring they become successful in the future and not antisocial because they overuse technology.