How technology affects child development



If you give a toddler a smartphone or tablet, they’ll probably figure out how to open it and start making in-app purchases in a matter of seconds. Thanks to the technology boom, children are becoming computer experts at a very young age. Children in elementary school take computer classes, and many of them started using computers and tablets at home long before they entered school. Kids are advancing significantly in their readiness for school, future careers, innovation, and other areas as they get older because they start learning about technology at a very young age.

However, there are some very valid worries about how technology affects child development given our constant exposure to it. Since previous generations did not experience the same level of constant technological immersion that we do, we are straying into uncharted territory. However, experts are beginning to see the potential harm that this level of technology can have on children and their futures.

Children have access to screens everywhere they go. Children can find and play with multiple television sets, computers, tablets, and phones in many homes. Additionally, some kids have access to their own phones and tablet from a young age. The average 8 to 10-year-old uses media on a daily basis for almost 8 hours, according to research, while older kids and teenagers use media on a daily basis for about 11 hours. Young people now spend more time using technology than they do in school thanks to this cumulative amount of time.

Around the nation, kids and teenagers aren’t reducing their media usage either. Some adolescent users claim to send tens of thousands of texts each month, stay up until two in the morning scrolling social media, and devote hours each day to playing video games. And as more apps and options to divert children appear, this has only gotten worse over time.

While many people recognize the drawbacks of such technology use, there are also benefits. The real question is how parents and educators can make use of technology without allowing children to become enslaved to it and the potentially harmful effects it can have on their lives.

Children can gain new learning opportunities from technology; this is crucial for kids who are physically or developmentally challenged. But some kids’ use of technology has also been linked to low self-esteem and social isolation. As digital technologies proliferate, parents struggle to determine how much technology is appropriate for their children’s lives.

Positive impacts

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Technology use has both many positive and many negative effects, though the latter is more prevalent.

Aiding their education 

Children can learn from a variety of technological educational components. There are many things that children can be exposed to that can aid in the development of their minds and teach them new things, from TV programming to apps on a smartphone or tablets.

Teaching resource 

To aid in student learning, many teachers have begun utilizing technology in the classroom. Technology aids teachers in connecting with various learner types, extending and reinforcing concepts, and inspiring students in novel ways. As more educators use technology, more students can be reached in ways that suit their needs and new types of learning can occur in classrooms.

Preparing for a future in technology

There will be a greater need for professionals prepared to pursue careers in technology as it develops and grows. Children are better prepared for their future and the opportunities it presents when they are enthusiastic about technology and the potential it offers them from a young age. Children can start developing the technical skills they’ll need in the future at a young age. If you’re a young student with the necessary technical training for an IT career, think about getting an IT degree to establish your credentials and set you on the right track.

Better multitasking

 According to studies, using technology teaches young children how to multitask more skillfully. Students can learn to listen and type to take notes or engage in other multitasking activities that can help them succeed in the future, even though multitasking never lets you fully focus on one area.

Better development of visual-spatial skills.

When young students and children are trained using technology like video games, spatial development can be significantly enhanced. Playing video games to practice visual-spatial abilities can be a great way to advance skills. Many different tasks require visual-spatial abilities, including solving puzzles and reading maps.

Enhanced decision-making and problem-solving.

 Children are frequently presented with problems by technology, which also teaches them how to solve those problems and make decisions. On tablets and smartphones, games and apps can help children gain the experience they need to succeed in the future. Students who use technology wisely can benefit greatly.

Negative impact

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Learn about how technology affects kids and teenagers negatively.

A shorter span of attention

Technology can directly affect students’ attention spans, according to teachers, parents, and students themselves. The instantaneous nature of technological interactions makes waiting more difficult for kids. They no longer have to wait thanks to technology. They don’t get bored because they always have something to keep them occupied, and they can watch their TV show right away. The short attention spans of both young children and teenagers are being impacted by the quick pace, instant responses, and instant gratification of technology.

Heightened risk and invasion of privacy

 Children and teenagers who have grown up in a technologically advanced world find the concept of privacy to be somewhat alien. Although a significant part of today’s technology, cybersecurity is not always faultless. Technology can be used by hackers and criminals to kidnap and harass children. The rise in theft, privacy concerns, harassment, and other issues is a result of technology. Consider beginning your degree program right away because the IT sector needs cybersecurity specialists who can assist in making technology safer for kids.

Depression possibility

Children and teenagers who use media more frequently are more likely to experience mental health problems as well. A significant problem that is linked to increased media use is depression. Due to rising suicide rates, more young people are now in need of mental health interventions like medication and counseling. According to experts, using technology or social media can be directly linked to higher depression rates.


 Children who spend more time indoors using their phones or tablets don’t go outside as often to run and play. They develop technology usage habits that don’t involve exercise. This may result in a rise in childhood and adolescent obesity rates.

Depression possibility

Children and teenagers who use media more frequently are more likely to experience mental health problems as well. A significant problem that is linked to increased media use is depression. Even when they are playing together, kids may spend more time texting or using their phones than they do actually playing.

How Kids’ Screen Time Affects Their Physical and Mental Health

The amount of time kids spend in front of a television, computer, smartphone, or other screen is a major source of worry for parents about their kids’ use of technology. The amount of time teenagers spend in front of a screen, their level of moderate or vigorous physical activity (MVPA), and the quantity of sleep they get have all been linked by researchers.

  • The use of screens involves sedentary activities that reduce MVPA, postpone bedtime, and keep us awake with digital notifications.
  • Children are more likely to become overweight or obese as a result, and their academic performance will also suffer along with increased daytime sleepiness.
  • Only half of the 13 and 14-year-old participants in the study met the recommendations for sleep, even though most of them complied with the guidelines for total screen time (less than two hours per day) and MVPA (at least one hour per day) (8.5 hours per night). Better academic results resulted from adhering to the screen time recommendation and one of the other two factors.

Due to inconsistencies between children’s reported and actual use of digital media, some research into the relationship between screen time and psychological well-being in children has been called into question. A recent meta-analysis of the scientific literature on the effects of screen time on kids either found no significant effects or only mild effects. The kind of content that kids view and engage with is a better indicator of potential psychological or developmental issues in kids than total screen time.

Studies have found a connection between children’s levels of screen time and attention deficit symptoms, emotional and social impairment, social isolation, phantom vibration syndrome, and diagnosable mental illnesses like depression, anxiety, and technology addiction.

How adults can help.

Children can benefit from technology with fewer drawbacks if parents and other adults help. Parents should first prevent young children under two from using screens. In order to include face-to-face interactions with technology and ensure that technology does not obstruct opportunities for play, they can also play alongside the kids. Additionally, parents should model responsible smartphone use, set reasonable time limits, and enforce appropriate boundaries. Systems and software for cybersecurity can aid in ensuring that children use technology safely.

Apps that encourage vocabulary, math, literacy, and science can be found by parents, teachers, and others. To give children the chance for a successful future in technology, adults can assist in ensuring that they learn about computer science and IT as part of technology use.

You can take the following actions to help your kids use technology in moderation:

  1. Promote and facilitate the expansion of outdoor activities

It’s important to make sure kids spend enough time outside, even though they might find TV or video games to be more entertaining. Encourage them to play games like hide-and-seek and catch to increase their participation in physical activity. By increasing physical activity, you’ll burn more calories, lower your risk of becoming obese, and promote muscle growth. Additionally, this fosters their social development and friendships with their playmates and classmates.

  1. Limit Kids’ Online Time and Regulate Screen Time

Set limits on how much time your kids can spend using technology. This will lessen the possibility of neck pain, eye strain, or other health problems brought on by prolonged screen time. You can instruct them to follow the American Optometric Association’s 20-20-20 rule. If you want to follow this rule, take a 20-second break after every 20 minutes of screen time to look at something 20 feet away.

  1. Employ parental control software

There are numerous parental control tools, but they can be divided into the following four groups:

Use content filters: to restrict access to content that isn’t appropriate for your age. You could limit your kids’ entertainment options to those geared toward them. To learn more, see our list of the best streaming services for kids.

Usage Control: These are used to set time-based restrictions to lower device usage. If you have an iPhone, for instance, you can hide and restrict apps to prevent your children from accessing them. For Android devices, the same options are available.

Computer management tools: These are used to restrict usage to specific programs or applications. If you use a PC, you can easily make Windows child-friendly or use parental control Windows apps to limit what your child can access online.

Monitoring Tools: Use these to look up the location of and monitor activity on your kids’ devices.

Use these controls to limit your children’s access to technology in terms of age, time, and usage. When implementing these measures, it’s crucial to talk to your children and explain the risks of the internet and why the limitations are there for their protection. This is so that intelligent, tech-savvy kids can get around parental controls or app limitations. They might discover a way, whether it be through straightforward actions like removing browser add-ons or using a different device or sneakier ones like using a proxy server or resetting device settings. Your children are less likely to attempt to get around parental controls the less strict you are.

Spend time with your children

Parental supervision cannot be replaced by technology. Families should interact and form social bonds during times when electronics are not allowed, according to parents. Find fun physical games to play with your kids instead, or spend quality time together playing board games or something else.