Will Technology Ruin Your Children’s Development?
Technology has completely changed virtually every aspect of our society over the past few decades, from the way we work to the way we socialize and everything in between. One of the differences that have been most noticeable is the change in the way that children play and interact with each other from previous generations. Although technology does provide many positive benefits for learning, it also can have several negative effects on child development and quality of life.
One of the biggest differences in the way that children live today is that they don’t get as much exercise as they used to. This is because technology such as computers, smart phones and television encourages them to be sedentary when they get home from school, as opposed to going outside and playing with other kids. Child obesity rates have risen drastically over the past several decades. In 2012, the child obesity rate was measured to be 18 percent, which is an 11 point difference from the obesity rate in 1980. While many schools and parents have made strides to change this by promoting organized exercise both during and after school, we still have a long way to go in helping kids playing in more conventional ways.
In addition to not getting enough exercise, many kids do not experience the benefits of spending time outdoors when they are heavily reliant on technology for entertainment purposes. Spending time outdoors has a huge number of positive effects on the body — it provides you with exposure to sunlight, which supplies your body with Vitamin D. This helps to fight infections and keep your skin healthy. Additionally, regular exposure to sunlight helps to keep your sleep cycle regular by influencing the body’s production of melatonin. Recent research has shown screens from devices such as tablets and smart phones emit harmful blue light that can cause headaches, eye strain and irritated eyes for children. Furthermore, sleep is also disturbed by harmful blue light when children are exposed to screen time in the evening due to the suppression of the hormone melatonin which regulates the sleep wake cycle. This makes it increasingly difficult for a child’s body to effectively prepare to get ready for a goodnights sleep.