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Many people worry today about the negative ways in which electronic devices can affect kids. One possible negative effect is on kids’ ability to socialize. Some people believe that kids lose their ability to interact with real people face-to-face because too many of their interactions are happening on their electronic devices. A second negative effect comes from the fact that kids can interact with random people via their electronic devices. The worry here is that people can contact kids with bad intent. They can use electronic devices to groom kids for sexual abuse. They can get kids to send them pictures where the kids are naked or partially naked. A final potential negative impact is on kids’ study habits. Kids often want to spend time playing with their devices instead of studying. They even bring devices to school and expect to be allowed to use them when they are in class. This makes it harder for them to learn. In these ways, we can argue that devices can harm kids socially, academically, and even physically.
However, there are also many ways in which electronics can have a positive impact on kids. Electronics can help them to keep in touch with friends and family. Electronics can allow them to do school work more easily. A child who has a sudden thought can pick up an electronic device, access the internet, and find information on whatever topic they had been thinking/wondering about. Kids can get apps that can help them do things like learning languages or learning how to use GPS devices to engage in geocaching. These are things that are not strictly academic, but which help kids grow as well-rounded people. Finally, it is important for kids to have fun. We must not forget that kids need to have down time in order to remain happy and able to do their school work and other things that they need to do. Electronic devices help them do this.
As with just about everything in life, there are clearly good and bad points about electronic devices.
Positive effects on kids are that they can grow and learn the technological world in order to keep up with our ever changing culture of advancement. It teaches them the necessary skills that they will use as an adult in their chosen career paths. Additionally, technology can be used as an innovative learning modality for a myriad of subjects.
Negative effects on kids are very real. As a mental health counselor for children, I have found that their ability to communicate face to face has been detrimentally influenced by their technology usage. It appears that kids would rather communicate via techology as opposed to having a verbal conversation yielding a severe lack of social skills. Additionally, bullying has become a tremendous issue with severe negative impact because it's not only at school, but it also follows them home, tormenting kids 24/7.
There needs to be balance with technology. Kids benefit from timed sessions and restrictions. Encouraging social skills and the practice of them is essential for their growth and development. Also, good old fashioned playing outside needs to be put into place to create well rounded children and give them a break from screen time.
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