Every so often a news story will come along that claims that technology is harming children. Usually, it’s a front to push yet more legislation through. But every now and again, the warnings are worth listening to.
Perhaps the biggest concern that most people have right now is that apps are harming children’s health. How many times have you heard it said that children don’t play outdoors enough?
The cynic might say that comments like those are just lazy thinking and don’t reflect genuine health concerns. But there are warning signs that a life dominated by technology is harming kids’ health. For one, children appear to be a lot weaker these days.
Operating an iPhone simply doesn’t require a lot of muscular strength. Then there is also the worry that sedentary lifestyles are bad for children. Even though obesity rates in kids have levelled off in recent years, science suggests that sitting for a long time is still risky. Potentially, these habits could lead to significant health problems in the future. Only time will tell.
Then there is the fact that apps have been related to a whole host of social issues. Most of us have heard of Facebook depression by now. It’s when children using Facebook are either bullied, don’t have enough friends, or feel like they can’t live up to the lives of others.
It’s a real phenomenon, covered by the Huffington Post. And it affects millions of children each year. Add to this already toxic mix the numerous dangerous apps that sites like gameadvice.org review, and tech starts looking bad.
But is it all bad? As with most new technologies, there are both benefits and risks. Just take the example of one of humanity’s first inventions: fire. Fire was great because it helped us heat our homes and cook our food. But fire was also bad because it could burn down villages and be used as a weapon.
The good side of apps is that they are potentially a great way for kids to learn. Right now we’re seeing an explosion in the number of apps dedicated to teaching children new skills. Even the most mundane tasks, like learning times tables, can be done through the help of an app.
Apps are the future of education because they “gamify” the experience. They set objectives that kids must strive to achieve, and reward kids in ways that they find meaningful. This is a far cry from the way kids learn in regular school environments, where there is practically no reward.
Plus apps are helping to make children more socially savvy than their predecessors. There’s evidence that using social apps helps children to manage their relationships better. And this means that they are more likely to be successful when they get older, both in work and in life.
The bottom line is that parents need to be aware of the risks and the benefits that apps bring. That means doing their research, and finding out which apps are safe and which aren’t.
But hey, if you’re into weird stuff and weird apps, check out the following,
Views presented in the article are those of the author and not of ED.