Is technology beneficial for a child’s development?

The topic that I will be discussing for this exam is on whether new technology are beneficial for development. I define new technology as “Any set of productive technique which offers a huge improvement over the established before technology” (Marshall, 1998). This includes electronic devices that have improved throughout the years such as ipads, ipods, tablets and even computers with higher version such as windows 8 and even high definition televisions as all of them are improved version of technology when compared to the previously established ones. However since most new technology are simply “upgraded” versions of old technologies, most of their benefits and consequences remains to aid or slowdown development for us. Some of the things that I will be covering will be Intellectual development such as language skills and motor skills in infant and how technology affected their ability to move. One other concepts that I will be covering on is how video games can affect our mood and emotional development.

The first technology I will be talking about is the high-definition television. To start it off, the American Academy of Pediatrics had recommended to parents that children who are aged two and below not to be exposed to any form of television(American Academy of Pediatrics Committee on Public Education, 1999; 2001). Furthermore a site even stated that there is no educational benefits for children below the age of 2years old and that it can also take time away from developing important skills such as language and motor skills as the children are watching their high-definition television instead of moving or trying to talk to develop such skills (Raise Smart Kids, n.d.). This mean that high definition, a new technology does not benefit children development as children who watches would develop much slower as they wasted their time watching the television instead of developing the skills they needed. However it is not all bad for the television as there are some developmental improvement for people who do watch the television. Studies shows that “childrens who do watches non-violent and educational television shows did better on their math tests and also reading when compared to other children who did not watch the educational shows (Raise Smart Kids, n.d.). Another study also stated that “Sesame Street a popular children’s show have been shown a general improvement in development for pre-school children as they received increased vocability, better reading skills and were able to count (Diehl & Toelle, 2013). This meant that high-definition television can be both good and bad for a children’s overall development depending on what types of television show they were watching.

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The second technology I will be talking about is the ipad. The ipad is a useful device for accessing the internet to watch videos, read books and even communicate with your friends and family. But for infants, it is used to explore the world as their motor skills are still limited. Studies have shown that “there is an increasing amount of infants who lacks the motor skills needed to build blocks because of the addiction to the ipad” (Paton, 2014). The research also states that it is due to the fact that “many young children could easily swipe the screen of an ipad with little to no dexterity” (Paton, 2014). This meant that ipads slowdown motor development in infants because of how little the amount of movement is needed to swipe the ipad’s screen. On the other side of the argument however, a “research sponsored by the Joan Ganz Cooney Centre at Sesame workshop found out that particular types of applications might improve a children’s math and vocabulary skills. (What To Expect, n.d.). Further research also shows that “there is evidence that the application in iPad can improve language use and social interaction for children suffering from cognitive delay” (What To Expect, n.d.). This shows us that ipad can be indeed useful and be used to help people with a delay in their development and that the benefits or consequenes of ipad are decided by what applications the ipad users are using.

The last technology that I will discuss is video games. Studies have found out that “students who played a violent virtual reality game experienced a higher heart rate, nausea,dizziness and expressed more agreesive thoughts in a posttest than students who played a nonviolent one (Cesarone, 1998). This is backed up by yet another research which states that “adolescents who played violent video games across many years experienced a steeper increase in aggression as time went by when compared to other participants who played lesser violent games” (Moller, & Krahe, 2009). This shows that video games are bad as it reduces emotional development by making people aggressive instead of helping them calm down. While video games seems to be bad, other researches have pointed out the other side of the argument. Several studies have shown that “there is a relationship between playing video games and improved mood or positive emotions(Russoniello, O’Brien, & Parks, 2009; Ryan, Rigby, & Przybylski, 2006). An example would be a puzzle video game. Playing a game of this genre with “minimal interfaces, high degree of accessibility and short-term commitment was found to be able to promote gamer’s relaxation, ward off anxiety and even improve their mood( Russoniello et al., 2009). Other research have also stated the benefits of video games in terms of cognitive development. One research done by ( Uttal et al., 2013) found that spatial skills improvement learnt from commercially available shooter games were on par with to the high-schools and university level courses aimed at improving spatial skills and that these skills can be transferred outside of video game context. All this evidence shows that video game can cause emotional and cognitive development when used right.

In conclusion, the new technology of today can cause a delay in important skills such as motor skills, cognitive skills and also reduced emotional development due to the fact that it is easy to use and get addicted to them. However, it has been shown that there are also benefits such as the fact that they can speed up the development. Whether the new technology is good or bad for us depends on how we use it. If we overuse it and get addicted to them, we will suffer from the negative consequences and face reduced cognitive and motor development. On the other hand, if we use it right by only using them moderately, we can reap the benefits of using such technology and improve our emotional and cognitive development.

References

American Academy of Pediatrics Committee on Public Education. ( 1999). Media education. Pediatrics, 104, 341– 342.

American Academy of Pediatrics Committee on Public Education. ( 2001). Children, adolescents, and television. Pediatrics, 107, 423– 426.

Cesarone, Bernard. “Video Games: Research, Ratings, Recommendations. ERIC Digest.” ERIC Clearinghouse on Elementary and Early Childhood Education Champaign, IL. November 1998. Web. 16 Apr. 2014.

Diehl, D. C., & Toelle, S. C. (2013). Making Good Decisions: Television, Learning, and the Cognitive Development of Young Children. Retrieved from http://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/fy1074

Gordon Marshall. “new technology.” A Dictionary of Sociology. 1998. Retrieved December 17, 2014 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/doc/1O88-newtechnology.html

Moller, I., & Krahe, B. ( 2009). Exposure to violent video games and aggression in German adolescents: A longitudinal analysis. Aggressive Behavior, 35, 75– 89. doi: 10.1002/ab.20290

Paton, G. (2014, April 15). Infants ‘unable to use toy building blocks’ due to iPad addiction. Retrieved from http://www.telegraph.co.uk/education/educationnews/10767878/Infants-unable-to-use-toy-building-blocks-due-to-iPad-addiction.html

Russoniello, C. V., O’Brien, K., & Parks, J. M. ( 2009). EEG, HRV and psychological correlates while playing Bejeweled II: A randomized controlled study. In B. K.Wiederhold & G.Riva ( Eds.), Annual review of cybertherapy and telemedicine 2009: Advance technologies in the behavioral, social and neurosciences (Vol. 7, pp. 189– 192). Amsterdam, The Netherlands: Interactive Media Institute and IOS Press. doi: 10.3233/978-1-60750-017-9-189

Ryan, R. M., Rigby, C. S., & Przybylski, A. ( 2006). The motivational pull of video games: A self- determination theory approach. Motivation and Emotion,30, 347– 363. doi: 10.1007/s11031- 006-9051-8

Uttal, D. H., Meadow, N. G., Tipton, E., Hand, L. L., Alden, A. R., Warren, C., & Newcombe, N. S. ( 2013). The malleability of spatial skills: A meta-analysis of training studies. Psychological Bulletin, 139, 352– 402. doi: 10.1037/a0028446

Raise Smart Kids. (n.d.). The Good and Bad Effects of TV on Children. Retrieved fromhttp:www.raisesmartkid.com/all-ages/1-articles/13-the-good-and-bad-effects-of-tv-on-your- kid

What To Expect. (n.d.). Kids and iPads: The Pros and Cons. Retrieved from http://www.whattoexpect.com/toddler/ask-heidi/kids-and-ipads-the-pros-and-cons

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