Reflecting back 20 years ago, life used to be somehow analog, playing games, making friends and even education. However, my life has witnessed a massive technological advancement, such that, everything is now is being driven by technology. In the modern world technology has been taunted as the second most important thing since the invention of the wheel. It has simplified life and helped man solve a lot of problems. It has penetrated all aspects of human life from education, transport, entertainment and business. Technologically devices are available to everyone regardless of their economic or social status. What is amazing is how technology has changed the life of children. The modern child has access to phone, iPods, laptops and Smartphone at a very tender age. These technological devices have found several uses in the lives of children. Let explore what really technology has done to the life of a child, which initially was surrounded by story books, neighborhood friends and physical libraries. To accomplish these let’s look back years back. Education was about a teacher coming to class with a book and students writing notes, currently we have virtual teachers. Assignments were completed and submitted to the teacher, currently assignment are being submitted through turnit in. Physical libraries were the order of the day; today almost each learning institution has an e-library. These has essentially modernized the education sector and made education much fun but not without its challenges such as lack of face-face communication between the teacher and student, increased rates of plagiarism and so on.
Pre-technology life of a child was characterized with outdoor games that involved a lot of physical activities, which helped the physical, intellectual and social development of children. In the modern world, video gaming has become an integral part of children life. Children are spending a massive amount of time playing pc’s games on the internet and other sources. Concerns have emerged about the negative effects of these video games on children’ lives. Despite the invention of video games that involve physical activities such Wii sports, the overall effect of video games on the life of children is immense. Childhood obesity has significantly increased in the country, and this is blamed on inactivity. Children are spending an average of eight hours either playing video games or in social media. These has significantly reduced their activity and significantly increased chances of childhood obesity and other lifestyle diseases (Strasburger, & Donnerstein, 2010). The video games have also been associated with impacting the social life of a child. Unlike previous times where children used to interact with others during play time, nowadays children spend a considerable amount of time confined in their rooms playing video games. Proponent of technology use will argue that these children have hundreds, if not thousands, of friends online. However, these virtual friends cannot serve the same purpose as the physical friends. It is, therefore, paramount to have some external intervention to help children to utilize these amazing technologies without compromising their health and social life.
Currently Google and other web search engines have become the key consultation sources. Children no longer depend on their families, relatives or friends to ask questions concerning life. It is evident that not all information found in these web engines is factual. Therefore, children have been exposed to billions of information with no one to guide them on what is relevant and which is harmful. Despite the undisputed advantages of availing information to children, it is important to consider what kind of information children consume. Materials of explicit content have become readily available on the internet. Pornography and nudity are unrestrictively available. The impacts of exposing children to this kind of information have been well documented. According to the National Council for Prevention of Child Sexual Abuse and Exploitation, exposure of children to this information affects their language and sexuality. Explicit sexual material has been associated with earlier onset of sexual behaviors and increased rate of teenage pregnancy (Elliot, Hunter et al, 2004). It also influences the values of children, which may redefine social morality. However, it is not all evil on the internet.
Despite the shortcomings associated with the introduction of technology to children, one fact remains; it is impossible to separate technology with modern life. Technology will remain an integral part of life and especially so, the life of children. It is impossible to take away the video games, social media and the internet. It will take thousands of legislation to control and protect children from explicit material from the internet, but the society can intervene to help children exploit technology in a positive way. It is, therefore, my greatest aspirations to be part of individuals who have stepped forward to increase awareness among children on technology use. I am looking forward to helping that child to use his or her video game without compromising his or her health or social life, to help children access internet for their betterment, to protect the privacy of children on the internet and to build a wholesome child.
Collins, Elliott, N, Berry, S., Kanouse, D., Kunkel, D., Hunter, S., et al. “Watching sex on television predicts adolescent initiation of sexual activities. Pediatrics, 2004. Vol. 114 Issue 3, Pg 280-289.
Strasburger, V., Jordan, B. & Donnerstein, E. Health Effects of Media on Children and Adolescents. Pediatrics. 2010. Vol. 125, Pg 756-767
The Impact of Pornography on Children & Youth. National Council for Prevention Of Child Abuse And Exploitation. Retrieved from http://www.preventtogether.org