I remember the best Christmas gift I ever got. I was around 7 or so and we got a brand new Hewlett Packard computer with Windows 95. It was a HUGE deal. We weren’t poor but we weren’t exactly rich and since computers weren’t cheap at that time, we were extremely grateful. I thought it was a pretty awesome gift to get from my mother. That is, until my 10 year old sister got both a Wii and a Nintendo DS one year and an iPad the next Christmas. Ah, the age of technology. Many of her friends even have cell phones. That’s right,10 years now have iPhones. When I was 10, I got Barbies for Christmas! And we played outside until it got dark out! An extraordinary number of children these days are using technology every day whether that be a computer, an iPad or a PlayStation. But what kind of damage is this technology doing to children these days?
In our Tellwut online poll, 81% of the over 600 people surveyed thought technology was making kids lazy. There are various ways this happens. First of all, spelling these days has reduced to “OMG lyk u r so kewl” and “IMHO IDC” (In My Honest Opinion I Don’t Care, for those of you not familiar with the lingo). This means that children who use this type of language have less than stellar spelling skills as they aren’t used to having to properly spell things. They also are less likely to be able to do manual math , the product of using a calculator through grade school. One teacher commented on our online survey saying their students give up quite easily if they aren’t able to find the answer quickly. Secondly, research shows that obesity rates of children in Canada have tripled in the last 25 years. Among fast food and sugary drinks, sitting in front of a computer or video game all day is a leading factor to this staggering increase. I also find now that kids EXPECT to receive iPads and laptops at an early age now instead of hoping for one.
But technology isn’t all bad. In fact some psychologists believe technology makes our brain more efficient as it stores information for us, which means we can focus on other tasks. There were also 18% of voters who did believe that technology is not the cause of kids being lazy, but put blame on the parents instead. Some voters wrote that parents should be monitoring the amount of technology children are using every day and should make sure they play outside every day. Whether you agree with the Tellwut online panel results or not, I think we can all agree that children and technology should be monitored closely and parents should impose time limits on certain devices so the children have more time to play outside, find hobbies and just be kids!