interplay between children and technologies
"The increasing interplay between children and technologies poses critical questions for how we understand the nature of childhood in late modern society" (Hutchby, I., & Moran-Ellis, J. (2013[i]). It possibly reflects the fact that with the advancement of technology in recent days, the exposure of children to high-tech devices becomes massive. In other words, it is undeniable that youngsters tend to experience and enjoy the achievement of cutting-edge design or the digital age. From my perspective, technology has interfered with children's use of spare time in a positive way in terms of self-study, self-development, and entertainment based on the following reasons.
First and foremost, new technologies play an important role in stimulating children to spend their free time on broadening their knowledge. In the past, children might have to accumulate so many materials such as paperwork, coursebooks and so on, to support their study, which seems to be of inconvenience. However, with the advent of the Internet, studying has become much easier and more appropriate. With the aim of assisting their homework, students can watch some instructive videos on Youtube, search several websites for documents, or even exchange their academic problems on many forums. For small children, they can receive and respond to the information through some programs broadcasted on TV, in which the questions would be read first and then waited a few minutes for the children's answers. This interaction has a large contribution to the responsive behaviors of children (Ellen A.Wartella and Nancy Jennings, 2016). What's more, a number of students have been making use of digital technology to do some research papers and develop individualized approaches as well, which are of benefits to their graduation and work in the future (Wartella, Blackwell, Lauricella, and Robb (2013).
Secondly, technologies are a crucial part of children' self-development as they encourage self-help skills and mental perspectives in children. Children have the drive to be independent and do things on their own, which is a healthy part of normal child development. Thanks to the use of video as a visual learning model, children are able to mimic and adopt a wide variety of skills including motor and social behaviors, even psychological improvement as well (Michelle Sherer, Karen L. Pierce, Sara Paredes, (2001)). For that reason, parents might let young children become independent by allowing and encouraging them to take responsibility for themselves whenever possible. When children practice self-help skills such as feeding and dressing themselves, they practice their large and small motor skills, gain confidence in their ability to try new things and build their self-esteem and pride in their independence. It is likely that children's mental development is intensively cultivated due to the information age. According to Judith H. Danovitch (2019), based on employing internet-based devices, users not only get a better memory, especially for overloaded information but also enhance other soft skills.
Finally, the certain reality is that, with this new technological frontier in its infancy and developments emerging at a rapid pace, youngsters have countless opportunities to enjoy diverse means of entertainment. In the former days, children just participate in some outdoor activities such as playing sports. In contrast, children now living in the media-rich family; in other words, in modern society enjoy many achievements of the scientific and technological revolution, which offer young people a wide variety of attractive entertainment games with beautiful images and vivid sound. For example, it appears that the basic games console has driven relentlessly towards the more realistic one. "Games are now being designed which incorporate video images of human actors rather than relying on, albeit increasingly sophisticated, computer graphics" (Sanger, J., Wilson, J., Davies, B., & Whittaker, R. (2019). They have made a prophecy of virtual reality machines, which "have now arrived in the games arcades as the next generation of home entertainment systems for children".
On the other hand, some people said that technology seems to limit children's social interactions due to paying too much attention to online games. According to Kardefelt-Winther, D. (2017), there is no negative effect of playing games on emotional perspectives and social behaviours. Similarly, "the Internet is ubiquitous in youngsters' daily lives, not only for the enactment of daily life activities but also for social purposes" (Pacheco, L., Silva, M. T. D., Brites, M. J., Henriques, S., & Damásio, M. J. (2017). In reality, through some online websites or apps, children can make friends in order to construct their relationships. Kardefelt-Winther, D. (2017) suggests that "reduced feelings of depression might occur because socializing online increases the chance of receiving social support, which may otherwise not be available to children with low-quality friendships". It is also proved that those who communicate online more frequently tend to feel more connected to their school environment (Ellison et al., 2007; Lee, 2009) because they have stronger friendships.
In conclusion, the ICT age has an enormous impact on the way children spend their free time. Therefore, how to harness technology's benefits and adopt it efficiently is the current matter. Kardefelt-Winther, (2017) supposes: "The time spent on digital technology can have both positive and negative effects on child well-being, depending on the activity and how much time is spent." Given that children's access to internet‐based devices is likely to continue increasing in the coming years, Technological development, which becomes an inevitable part of life, has opened the door to a world of opportunities. Thus, if you do not update or take advantage of high-tech achievement, you utterly become outdated and even lose opportunities in some areas of life.
Danovitch, J. H. (2019). Growing up with Google: How children's understanding and use of internet‐based devices relates to cognitive development. Human Behavior and Emerging Technologies, 1(2), 81-90.
Hutchby, I., & Moran-Ellis, J. (2013). Children, technology and culture: The impacts of technologies in children's everyday lives. Routledge
Kardefelt-Winther, D. (2017). How Does the Time Children Spend Using Digital Technology Impact Their Mental Well-being, Social Relationships and Physical Activity?: An Evidence-focused Literature Review. Florence, Italy: UNICEF Office of Research-Innocenti.
Pacheco, L., Silva, M. T. D., Brites, M. J., Henriques, S., & Damásio, M. J. (2017). Patterns of European youngsters' daily use of media. Observatorio (OBS*), 11(4), 01l page-18.
Plowman, L. (2016). Learning technology at home and preschool. The Wiley Handbook of Learning Technology. Chichester, UK: Wiley Blackwell, 96-112.
Sanger, J., Wilson, J., Davies, B., & Whittaker, R. (2019). Young children, videos and computer games: Issues for teachers and parents. Routledge.
Sherer, M., Pierce, K. L., Paredes, S., Kisacky, K. L., Ingersoll, B., & Schreibman, L. (2001). Enhancing conversation skills in children with autism via video technology: Which is better,"self" or "other" as a model?. Behavior modification, 25(1), 140-158.