THE REIGN OF TECHNOLOGY
We are clearly blessed to be in a generation where technology is thriving and highly depended upon; technology has been a massive help, in the areas of increasing globalization, development, communication, convenience, entertainment and business. It has given us the internet, Wi-Fi, movie/music streaming, cashless money, e-markets, countless apps, name it. It has become a big part of our day to day living; an aspect many of us cannot do without. It definitely has a fair share of advantages, but a deeper look at its effect particularly on our young ones today, is both scary and terrifying.
The children of this generation, who I fondly refer to as ‘the dotcom’ generation, if not appropriately guided, are faced with numerous dangers and exposure to a world of information unfit for them.
When parents fail to guide their children/wards, they will be raised the internet, apps, video games, and television. The Street Hawker is passionate about the development and safety of children, and we urge parents and guardians to pay attention to the activities of the children in their care.
Let’s look at the harmful effects of Technology on our young ones.
Online or Cyber Bullying/Stalking
Imagine your child had a brawl at the mall with his friend; that’s already bad enough, he then gets home, logs on to snapchat and the episode with his friend is right there on video, with nasty comments attacking him. It’s gone viral! “They don’t even know my version of events or even the truth about what happened”, he says to himself.
Oh! Poor thing! He curls up. He is sad. Maybe depressed!
It is worse when the bully can stalk him/her using location services and tracking features on many apps. It's absurd when your friends can tell exactly where you are, and when you are eating, sleeping or performing other activities (if you don't know that you can switch to 'ghost' mode), such as snapchat has included in its recent update.
According to dosomething.org, cyber bullying causes 2 out of 9 children to commit suicide. 58% of children have been told something mean online; 81% of them say that it is easier to bully online than in person. However, the most heart-breaking statistic is the fact that only 1 out of 10 children will tell their parents of their abuse.
With these statistics, parents have to accept the unpleasant truth; “if your child is not bullied, there are chances they are the bully or part of the bullies.”
Social Isolation / Lack of Social skills
Let’s face it, nothing beats meeting a person, face to face, reading their body language, seeing their expressions, experiencing friendship, comfort, encouragement, laughter, and enjoying what you have in common with them.
Children, today, tend to end up being socially awkward, living life through an avatar, virtual reality, online friends, and chatting all day with supposed friends they don’t know, and have never met. Most children cannot account for a handful of close friends they share real life experiences with.
In a thesis by the University of Rhode Island Honours, children like these tend to experience a deep feeling of alienation, loneliness and depression.
Catherine Steiner-Adair, a Harvard-affiliated clinical psychologist indicated that children who are addicted to technology can gain the ability to multitask, but will lack the ability to engage in criticaland deep thinking, which are needed in the real world.
According to 2012 Pew Research Centre Study, most children send 3464 text messages a month in the United States, excluding ‘snaps’ Instagram, WhatsApp and so on.
These days, children don’t care much about bonding with their parents and siblings, they simply cannot wait to chat with their friends after school.
Imagine a room of quiet people, heads down with white screens glowing on their faces.
When children are quiet and indoors, we may think they are safe, but we should be concerned when they are online. Children chat, seek advice and emotional security from strangers and groups in some other continent, while we may be in the next room.
Obesity and Other Health issues
In the Dotcom generation we get to see a gradual reduction of physical activities amongst children, which can lead to health issues.
There are other concerns like Lack of sleep from long hours of video games, eyesight and hearing problems from peering at the screen for long hours, loud music from earphones, neck and head pains, and obesity. Children are not as active physically when they are stuck to the computer, television, mobile devices, Xbox, Netflix, PS4, Virtual games, while nibbling snacks and sweets. Who wants to play good old ‘Ten Ten’ or football, when there is FIFA 2017. No activity, slower metabolism, no burning calories, no keeping fit.
ARE YOU CONCERNED YET?
I am not a parent and I am scared, but this article is not just for parents, it is also for Teachers, Counsellors, Aunties, Uncles, Senior Brothers and Sisters, and Guardians.
Let’s face it, this is indeed a problem. Why would you give an 8 year old and IPhone 7? Hilarious! I know! But it is happening, what do you think he will be doing with it? Our kids are facing imminent danger in a scary way. Parents need to be involved, concerned mature citizens should be more involved.
Technology is great, it has come to stay and it will only evolve. However, we must make it work positively in the lives of our children.
We shall later look at what can be done to protect our children, and provide awareness for them. The children need to understand these dangers and get involved in protecting themselves.
Till then, let’s have your comments on other possible dangers technology can pose to our young ones in the comments box below.
Thank you to everyone who has subscribed and has taken time to read my articles on The Street Hawker app.
This is Faith Nte for The Street Hawker and this is my Impression