The use of technology has skyrocketed over the past few years, with a whopping ninetyfive percent of people utilizing the internet, constantly checking smartphones, and relying on other forms of media for entertainment, socializing, or work related instances. Compared with the digital satellites, MP3 players, and Palm Pilots of the 1990s, the technology today has truly advanced, causing many people to become dependent on media-related devices. More than fifty percent of today’s youth contribute to this dependency. What is not taken seriously enough is that this eagerness for technology is destroying the minds of young children by distracting them from important family values, causing various bullying issues, exposing them to violence, and inducing many health risks. Technology therefore should cease to exist in the lives of children, who should instead learn important life lessons from playing outside, utilizing talents, or spending time with the family. It is very important for a child to spend quality time with his or her family. Parents, grandparents, siblings, or extended family members help children develop positive self-esteem by communicating values, encouragement, and love. Today, children’s sense of those relationships is altered due to the fact that they are becoming less and less interested in family and instead more and more intrigued with media.
The average kid ages eight to eighteen spends over seven and a half hours a day using technology, equaling seventy-five hours a week (Negative Effects Of). With all of that attention going to technology, children develop a loss of family interest. A group of four to six year olds said they would rather watch television than spend quality time with their fathers (Negative Effects Of). Story time with mother is rapidly being replaced with an old episode of Spongebob, thus creating disconnected children that do not find the value they should within their families. Every second a child is watching television or fiddling with an iPad is a second that should have been spent learning how to ride a bike, painting a picture, or reading with their parents to better the bond in the family relationship. While children are becoming less interested in their families, they are also gaining a false sense of privacy and leading themselves into a dangerous direction as to what they expose on the internet. The youth of today do not realize that once something is posted online, it is there forever. One million children were harassed, threatened, or subjected to other forms of cyberbullying on Facebook during the past year (Cyberbullying Statistics). Many kids post embarrassing photos, statuses, or leak things on to the internet that they later regret, causing them to become a subject of harassment by others online or in school. There is a strong link between bullying and suicide, with bully victims being two to nine times more likely to consider suicide than non-victims (Bullying and Suicide). At five, more than fifty percent of kids regularly interact with a computer or tablet device (Clinton and Steyer). Because parents are not monitoring kids or enforcing certain rules in the household, such as coming up with limits as to the amount of time spent on the computer, many children waste away hours staring at a screen which can make them an easy target for those who bully via the internet. Not only are people unaware of potential consequences posed by the internet–television is another main concern that poses risks for young children, who have impressionable minds. The generation of young kids may as well be called the “couch potato” generation, as they are spending up to six hours a day watching television, with their parents using TV as an “electronic
babysitter” (Harris). Many believe that children’s programs show happy, colorful images that influence the child’s mind positively. However, what goes unknown is the fact that those “happy” and “colorful” programs actually average more than fourteen violent acts per hour–eight more than adult programs (TV Media’s Influence). Parents would obviously be appalled at this number due to the fact that by age eighteen, their child will have witnessed about two hundred thousand acts of violence, including eighteen thousand murders (TV Media’s Influence). Instead of subjecting children to the television that imprints their minds with violence, parents should instead spend quality time educating, playing, or reading with them. By doing this, the disgusting knowledge of crime and violence will not be apparent in a young child’s life. They will have a chance to remain unpolluted, their minds full of important family values versus murder and bloodbath. Exposure to television and media too early in a child’s life leads to health problems. By age three, one third of children have television sets in their bedrooms.
This puts them at risk for delayed sleep onset, increased caloric intake, and nightmares from overstimulation (Stein). The excessive early exposure to electronic media correlates with language delay, attention problems, and deficits in executive function. What many people do not realize is that putting a child in front of a screen is not harmless–it greatly affects the way they transition into adulthood. On top of all of those problems, children who constantly sit in front of a television or game device have a risk of becoming obese. TV watching contributes to this by increasing sedentary behavior, teaching unhealthy eating patterns, increasing snacking, and interfering with normal sleep (Stein). Children should be outside playing with others, reading, and falling asleep at normal hours without a television in the room in order to prevent the health risks that have plagued many because of overuse of electronic media. Though technology is helpful in many ways, it is detrimental to children when exposed regularly. Sitting a child down in front of the television, handing them a game console, and allowing hours of computer time greatly affects the way that child thinks, feels, and reacts to certain situations. Technology not only puts a dent in a child’s emotional state in regard to violent shows and commercials, but it affects their health as well, causing them to suffer great setbacks such as nightmares, increased caloric intake, and attention disorders. Even though the world is becoming more technologically advanced that does not mean children have to as well. They should be playing outside, reading, and spending time with the family in order to learn important values that they would not learn from using electronics.