TECHNOLOGY FOR CHILDREN OR NOT

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The reality is it is not feasible to survive in the information agewithout knowledge of technology. It does not matter how old or youngone is, but becoming aware of how to use old and emerging technologyis a plus. However, when it comes to allowing children access and usetechnology, the issue is largely debatable. Children using technologyis associated with poor academic performance, poor social skillsdevelopment and reduced playtime. Conversely, technology may have noeffect on children’s development. Nowadays, children are smart. Itis not miraculous to see a child as young as two turn on an iPad andprogress to access and play a game they want. Such smartness derivesfrom having the technology around, meaning children observe and learnhow to use it. The paper discusses how children having and usingtechnology has been termed as unnecessary. Technology has its prosand cons however, introducing it to children does not interfere withthe child’s development.

According to Pinker (2015, p.1), “students that gain access to homecomputer between 5th and 8th grades tend to witness a persistentdecline in reading and math scores”. Introducing children totechnology at a young age resonates to a drop in academicperformance. Pinker’s argument follows the president’s agenda tosafeguard a free as well as open internet, via extending reach to allclassrooms and society. The inclusion of technology in classrooms hasbecome a policy-making panacea. Duke University economists conducteda research involving the tracking of academic growth of close to amillion middle-school learners after they were issued networkedcomputers. The research entailed assessing reading and mathematicsskills every year for five years, in addition to recording how thesestudents spend time. The conclusion of the study was that permissionto use technology is associated with a drop in grades among youngchildren. The study further acknowledges that the drop is consistentand worse affected are learners that already perform poorly prior tohaving computers.

The argument is that when children are at liberty to use technology,they rarely have parents around to supervise their use. Hence, mostutilize the devices to play games, communicate through social media,access music and films, instead of researching school relatedinformation. Pinker (2015, p.1) believes that the impact oftechnology on children is irrefutable as it has resulted in poorperformance. Even when it is clear, the technology is for studying,the supposed intention does not happen. An illustration is the OneLaptop per Child plan. The objective of this project was toassist poor children access internet and be able to self-educate,because their parents could not afford to pay for their education.However, more time was spent on playing games and chatting by thesechildren. Pinker closes her argument stating that there is noevidence to demonstrate the effectiveness of introducing children totechnology.

Pinker’s argument is supported by opinion from differentindividuals who feel that introducing technology in school ismisplaced. Linn and Adelmann (2015, p.1) argue, instructing andlearning about computers should not be mystified with the inclusionof additional technology in learning institutions. An illustration isthat computer science entails gaining knowhow on the making andfunctioning of computers. In such a scenario, if computers areintroduced in classes, the use is appropriate. Contrary, introducingtechnology just to ensure that children have increased access tocomputers fails to serve it purpose effectively. Linn and Adelmann(2015, p.1) further note how technology creates a gap when usedineffectively. Few public learning institutions provide actualcomputer science, specifically those with a higher representation ofminorities. Learners only get the basic computer skills with nocreative thinking needed for comprehending, as well as creatingtechnology.

Lewis (2015, p.1) says that technology interferes with children’sdevelopment of social skills. His view is that the enhancingutilization of digital, as well as screen-based media might weakenchildren’s capability of developing social skills. This is becausethey have minimal opportunity of face-to-face communication. Thenegative effect of technology is “decreased sensitivity toemotional cues – losing the ability of understanding the emotionsof other people – is one of the costs” (Lewis 2015, p.1). In aresearch, comparing children that use digital media and those that donot, the researcher found that it was difficult to express andidentify emotions for children exposed to technology. Face-to-faceconversations entail conveying information through facial expression,tone and gestures. The potential to identify these signs is relevantfor social skills growth, as well as improved association with peers.This means that such cues are impossible to acquire throughtechnology, which resonates to a loss in social skills. A differentreason against technology for children by Lewis (2015, p.1) is thereduced amount of outdoor playtime by children. Instead of playing,children prefer to use their digital devices.

According to the arguments presented, technology use by children hasnegative outcomes. These include poor performance, impede in thegrowth of social skills and reduces playtime. When introduced inschools, children seem to use technology to play games and chatinstead of academic works. Social skills development becomes slow dueto reduced or no face-to-face conversation with other people.Playtime reduces as more is spent using the digital devices. However,what the authors have disregarded is how technology can be employedas an effective tool to improve learning, it indeed assists indevelopment of social skills, while children playing games onlineequals to playtime.

Pinker supposes that introducing children to the use of technologyresults in a drop in academic performance. To some extent, it may betrue, but technology is also an aid in improving academicperformance. The procedure of learning how to use technology meansthat the children have to be sharp and able to understand fast. Theymust keep up to date with current technology, and how to use it,which are all acts that enhance critical thinking. With an improvedcritical thinking, children can only perform better academically. Inaddition, there is technology that has shown signs of improvingschool performance. An illustration is spell-checking technology,which improves writing skills. As children use the technology, theylearn how to spell correctly and write words. Their word choicesimprove as they learn about new ones and their use.

It is not possible for technology to interfere with the developmentof social skills, due to lack of face-to-face interaction. Technologyoffers the possibility of persons to talk face-to-face through forinstance Skype. Children may use such technology to call theirfriends or relatives and chat online. Thus, they progress to buildtheir social skills by observing the communication signs. Lewisargues that children use of technology slows the growth of an abilityto understand different signals, like a gesture or facial expression.This is incorrect because technological devices do enhance socialskills development. When children interact online, they are able toexpress their feeling through writing. Face-to-face is not the onlyapproach of improving children’s social skills. Furthermore,technological devices like smart phones are filled with emoticons,which show different emotions. When communicating, children use theemoticons to express when happy, sad or excited. This only means thatthey are well aware of communication signs.

To argue that playtime reduces, as more time is spent using digitaldevices is refutable. Technology has made it possible for children toaccess many games and fun activities online. Many of these gamesrequire the children to think critically on moves that they make. Forinstance, playing online chess means that a child will have to beaware of the correct moves they make. Such games improve braindevelopment. Thus, children using technology to play instead ofoutdoor play seem to derive more advantages from their playtime. Theynot only develop their brains, but enjoy their games as well.

These conclusions will be significant in supporting the introductionof technology to children in schools. Although there may be some consin children using technology, the pros are more. It is possible toeliminate the cons by ensuring that technology in school meets itspurpose of improving children’s learning. Indeed, exposing childrento the use of technology is likely to result in reduced grades as thechildren use the devices to play instead of study. It is alsopossible that social skills will not develop normally, while outdoorplaytime decreases. On the other hand, we ought to agree technologyhas become a part of our society (Swamenathan 2015, p.1). Even if itis not allowed in learning institutions, children will still use itat home unsupervised. Why then, should we not allow it in schools?Teachers will guide children on meaningful and helpful use oftechnology. Thus, the outcome becomes children using technology toimprove performance, through critical thinking activities, buildsocial skills via diverse avenues and engage in play that triggersbrain development.

The support for children using technology may fail to consider thatchildren’s development needs to be a natural process. Childrenrequire developing in a setting that allows them to nurture theirskills without assistance from any form of technology. Conversely,technology has become a very important part of society. It virtuallyapplies in all aspects ranging from shopping to getting employment.People need to question if they want to raise children that will notknow how to use technology because we desire for them to grownaturally. Technology is already part of nurturing, which makes ithard to ignore and better introduced from an early age. The issue ofchildren and technology has been a source of a lot of debate. Thoseagainst suppose that it generally is not beneficial for children. Insupport of technology is the view that it goes a long way inimproving academics, skills and thinking. Knowledge of technology isimportant for every individual, children included. Society shouldwork towards enlightening children on the different technologies.

Reflection

I started my op-ed by rereading different op-ed essays, which I foundstimulating. Reading what other people have written is an effectiveway of understanding the structure of op-ed essays, how to useillustrations and write a good essay. The most important part is thelede. Because people think diversely, essay examples have been aneffective way of informing on possible ways I can begin my writing.My purpose with the piece is to present an argument that isconvincing. It is likely that many people have presented an argumenton the similar issue. However, focusing ensures that my essayconvinces the target through illustrations that differentiate theop-ed from a personal essay. The focus for the essay has not changed,and in future, I intend to reinforce my argument further through moreresearch on information supporting my argument. Revising is animportant part of writing. It enabled me to request some of myclassmates to read the essay and give their opinion. Most think theessay is good and sets forth an interesting argument. Praise is alsoon the use of illustrations in writing, because they act as back upto my main points. Revision decisions have been on improving myargument, which I have managed.

Works Cited

Lewis, Renee. “Digital media erodes social skills in children”.Aljazeera America, 22 Aug. 2014. Web. Mar. 2015.

Linn, Susan and Adelmann, Sara. “Children and technology: How muchis best?” The New York Times, 9 Feb. 2015. Web. Mar. 2015.

Pinker, Susan. “Can Students have too much tech?” The New YorkTimes, 30 Jan. 2015. Web. Mar. 2015.

Swamenathan M. “The role of technology in child development.” TheStar Online, 4 Jan. 2015. Web. Mar. 2015.