Sunteți pe pagina 1din 9

Darnell 1

Lauren Darnell

Emily Kane

RC 1000

8 October 2019

Should You Really Be Giving Your Child Technology?

Twenty-four hours in a day, and about ten of those hours are spent consuming media by the

average American, this could be your friends, siblings, cousins, teachers, or maybe even you. In

this project I will discuss the certain effects that technology has on a child's brain, and dive into

the certain health risks, benefits, and drawbacks. Along with studying child's attachment to their

parents and how they interact with these technologies around the child. Technology is used

worldwide by all different ages. Americans spend an estimated nine and a half hours daily

consuming media. Studies have found that forty percent of children under the age of six have

televisions in their rooms. Children under the age of eight spend around two to seven hours

viewing screens, and twenty seven percent of five and six-year old have at least one hour of

screen time. Technology plays a big role in the development of a young child's brain having both

positive and negative effects. It also affects interactions among parents with their child and sense

of attachment. So, does the negative effects outweigh the positive ones?

The world we live in today is becoming overrun by technology not only by adults and

teenagers but also, young children. It may seem a good idea as parent to just throw your two-

year-old a tablet to occupy them as you are doing tasks throughout the day. However, this

convenient distraction is many negative effects on these children. A prime negative effect is the

damage in the development of social skills. Meaning their ability to use proper manners, making

friends in person, speaking to adults, control of emotions and polite language to name a few.
Darnell 2

While these children are consumed in their electronics, they get put inside a bubble, isolated

from the interreacting world. This leads these children to lack good communication and

conversational skills along with listening and eye contact. Not to mention these kids may have a

hard time identifying social cues and automatically turn to their phones in order to avoid an

awkward social situation. Now instead of going outside after school to play with their neighbor’s

kids automatically come home and jump on their devices. This has led to a rise in obesity rates

since 1980 and have gone up eleven percent just since 2012. Technology is destroying these

children’s imagination and creativity.

Not only does technology have a negative effect on the social skills and physical being of a

child but also on their health and the development of their brains. Jim Taylor, Ph.D., wrote in

Psychology Today that heightened technology exposure might actually be changing the way

children’s brains are wired. This is because the child’s brain is still developing unlike an adult.

Since these children are experiencing technology at higher rates their brains are potentially

adopting an internet approach to thinking. What this means is their brains are scanning and

processing sources of information. Technology has altogether changed human physiology. It

changes the way we think, feel, dream, our memory attention span, and sleep cycles. This is

because of a scientific phenomenon, neuroplasticity. Neuroplasticity is the brains ability to

change its behavior due to new experiences. Technology even effects the way we dream.

Scotland’s Dundee University conducted a study in 2008 that found adults over the age of fifty-

five who grew up with black and white televisions were more likely to dream in black and white.

Opposed to younger children who dream in color. Children often times experience fear of

missing out (FOMO) which causes children to have anxiety and irritation as they scroll through

social media. Back when social media did not run the world on could stay inside content with
Darnell 3

their evening doing as they please. Now kids are at home constantly checking what their friends

are doing and are having that anxiety of, am I missing out? There has even been proof that

looking at someone’s meal posted on social media can make what your currently eating taste

bland and not as good. Another negative effect on their health is our sleeping. Children and

teenagers are used to falling asleep with their laptops, iPads, phones glowing by their side which

messes up their sleep patterns. Neuroscientists are beginning to believe that this glowing light

emitted by these technical devices screw with their body’s internal light cues and sleep-inducing

hormones. This specific bright light can literally fool these children’s brains that it is still the

daytime which effects the body’s circadian rhythms. Not only does this light effect children’s

sleep but also their eyes. Our eyes are extremely sensitive when it comes to these blue lights and

makes it harder for children to fall asleep. Also, these radioactive rays are harmful in the sense

that it can lead to eye fatigue, blurry vision, and focus issues. Next, it affects our memory and

attention span. Back when children in school were supposed to recite books and had to read for

the slightest information and could retain the things they gathered. However now the society we

live in has any information at the tip of our fingers so most both other going through the problem

of memorizing and retaining. A neuroscientist in 2007 ran a poll and concluded that the young

participants were not as likely to retain personal information including a relative birthday, phone

numbers. On top of that social media along with the internet are shorten kids’ attention spans and

find it hard to read books for long periods and just skim. This is troubling especially for younger

children because they fail to develop concentration skills.

A study recently conducted has discovered that by the age of one more than one third of

babies have touched or scrolled the screen of a device and that by the age of two years old over

half have scrolled screens, watched a TV show on the device. Young children being exposed to
Darnell 4

these devices impacts them mentally and physically. As states earlier it effects the way humans

communicate and decreases their connection. Human beings especially young children need this

connection that impacts attachment. As a child they build the necessary social and emotional

skills through playing. This play creates an opportunity for emotional experience between the

parent and child. These devices disturb these interactions and reduces the in-person interactions.

John Bowlby, a British psychologist and psychoanalyst who believed that early childhood

attachments played a critical role in later development prosed that “a child needs a parent who is

intimately, physically, and emotionally engaged with them.” He states we need the parent-infant

attachment. Attachment which is formed in the earliest stages of our youth shape us. Research

has proven that sensory and face-to-face experience is vital in the process of molding children’s

brains and providing the social and emotional competencies. A parent’s sensitivity to their child

such as calming a crying baby with rocking, smiling when a child makes eye contact, playing

peek-a-boo or patty cake is extremely important for the child’s social-emotional and cognitive

development. One may wonder, well how does technology correspond to attachment? Parents

who growing up that were unable to form the bond with their own parents find that support

through technology. These people find this missing “attachment” through social media. In 2015,

Hart, Nailling, and Collins found that these individuals use social media as a way to get this

positive feedback and the feeling of being connected that they did not receive from their parents.

Ultimately, the use of technology interferes with the parent and their child. This is because the

time they spend on their device limits the time they could spend with their child participating in

other activities which therefore messes with the attachment relationship. Even having

background TV playing negatively interferes with the interaction of their child. This is due to a

lack of attentiveness, being engaged, and lack of speaking to their child. Furthermore, as parents
Darnell 5

multitask this reduces productivity and therefore the lack of attention. Radesky, Developmental

Behavioral Pediatrician found that when parents are caught up in their technology, they ignore

the child. Another study has proven that television results in these children spending mass

amounts of time alone instead of interacting with their parents. All of the use between the child

and parent is affecting the attachment and the bond necessary negatively and is diminishing the

emotional, cognitive, and social development of the child.

Despite all the negative influences technology has on our bodies and brains it is a vital part

of the everyday lives we live and is quite unavoidable at times. Although there are many

negative effects that technology has on a person’s life there are some positive benefits. Play

therapists began using technology in the playroom during the 1990s, such as TV, computers,

video games, tablets and musical devices. Therapists have found treatments through technology

for children that have issues related to anxiety disorders, phobias, depression, schizophrenia,

attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder, and eating and body dysmorphic disorders just to name a

few. They have used video games to watch children’s problem solving, self-control, and their

reactions to decisions when there was a consequence. Professional therapists are actually be

encouraged to use different forms of technology while in therapy sessions. There can be

applications downloaded that can boost a child’s cognitive, emotional, communication, and

social skills. Along with applications, content from shows such as Sesame Street, Between the

Lions, and Blue’s Clues have well designed content as Radesky put it. She also did a study with

the app Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood which is for children in preschool and found that with

parent supervision the app improved social-emotional abilities such as the ability to calm down

and control anger. Melissa Westendorf, a licensed clinical and forensic psychologist, uses her

new book, "Unplug: Raising Kids in a Technology Addicted World," to provide parents with
Darnell 6

information on how they can allow their children to use technology more positively. Another big

positive factor is video chat, and loved ones being able to stay connected no matter the distance.

Radesky however said her favorite positive would be “learning about things you wouldn’t have

access to in real life; dancing to music; making stop-motion videos; finding the right program for

the right emotion; and movie night.

Technology can have both positive and negative effects on a human mind, negatives

seeming to outweigh the positives. Although technology can be used as a tool to create, connect

and learn, overusing it can cause problems on young children as their minds are still developing.

Perhaps with moderation the harms of technology may be minimized. However, knowing how

much damage these addictive devices can cause one must ask themselves is it worth all health

risks mentally and physically, the behavioral issues, irregular sleep, the loss of social skills

…probably not.
Darnell 7

Courtney, Janet A., and Eva Nowakowski-Sims. “Technology’s Impact on the Parent-Infant

Attachment Relationship: Intervening through FirstPlay® Therapy.” International

Journal of Play Therapy, vol. 28, no. 2, Apr. 2019, pp. 57–68. EBSCOhost,


This academic journal is published by the Educational Publishing Foundation and Assn

for Play Therapy. This article examines the impact that technology has on the parent-

child attachment relationship. Here researchers are looking into how technology affects

infants and children both mentally and physically and studying how it can alter the

child’s attachment.

Gavin, Sandra, et al. “Play Therapists’ Attitudes toward Using Technology in the

Playroom.” International Journal of Play Therapy, Aug. 2019. EBSCOhost,


This academic journal is published by the Educational publishing Foundation along with

Assn for Play Therapy. This journal explains the negative and somewhat positive effects

that technology has on young children’s developing brains. Also, she uses examples of

how therapists utilized technology in the playroom. The use of technology has been

incorporated into treatment of children for issues related to anxiety disorders, phobias,

depression, schizophrenia, attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder, and eating and body

dysmorphic disorders.

Haas, Rebecca. “Psychologist's Book Focuses on Technology's Effects On Children.” Wisconsin

Public Radio, 18 Apr. 2019,

Darnell 8

This article was published by Rebecca Haas on Wisconsin Public Radio. The article

focuses on Westendorfs book that talk’s about technology’s effect on children and how

these devices are destroying our brains. She uses many references from her book and

talks about how kids who even spend up to three hours on technology may have effects

on their brain structures. Westendorf states that technology has helped us in many ways,

but all need to be careful about the downside.

Hiscott, Rebecca. “8 Ways Tech Has Completely Rewired Our Brains.” Mashable, Mashable, 14

Mar. 2014,

This article is by Rebecca Hiscott and was published in Mashable. She talks about the

eight ways technology has completely rewired our brains. She talks about how it has

altered human physiology. It effects our memory, attention spans, and sleep cycles. This

is all thanks to a neuroplasticity.

Taylor, Jim. “How Technology Is Changing the Way Children Think and Focus.” Psychology

Today, Sussex Publishers, 4 Dec. 2012,


This article was published by Jim Taylor PhD. in Psychology Today. He talks about how

technology can be both beneficial along with harmful if used improperly. Taylor explains

that it is not only affecting the way children think but their brains. This is because he

explains that children’s brains and still forming and the frequent exposure can actually

rewire them.

Darnell 9