Technology too young


photo credit: Melissa Wrobel

Not kidding around \\ Kids' time needs to be limited when it comes to technology usage.

writer: Lizzy Jurden, Editor in Chief

Children get technology too early

Technology. It’s a great way to communicate, and to use during free time, but parents are starting to hand out iPhones, TV’s, iPads, tablets, and Kindles like candy to younger and younger kids. The screen time is negatively influencing their brains and their generations. So the question is posed, how young is too young to own an electronic device?

Technology is actually wiring the brain in very different ways than in previous generations. A survey taken in October of 2013 by The New York Times, found that 38 percent of children under the age of 2 had used electronic devices like TVs, phones, tablets or kindles. Infants’ brains triple in size from birth to 2 years of age and continue to rapidly develop until age 21 and only then does development slow down. Attention deficit, reaction time delays, impaired learning, increased impulses, decreased ability to self-regulate, and tantrums have all been linked to the stimulation of a growing brain due to overexposure to technology.

It all comes down to the parents and their decision as to when their child should get a phone or other electronics, but that doesn’t mean they still can’t monitor how much time the electronic will be accessed during the day. Technology can be both beneficial and harmful depending on the different ways children think and how they use the device.

Using an electronic device 30 minutes before going to sleep can actually work against quality shut eye. The “glow” from the screen shines light through the retina and releases a “sleep-inducing hormone” called melatonin. Some people would argue that educational apps are helpful to the kid’s brain but the fact that the hand-held is electronic is enough reason to delay in generosity with giving a child a device.

Children and adults both have a habit of becoming addicted to technology as easy entertainment. However, this is more damaging in the early years because it takes away the important values children are meant to learn during this age. Socializing, going outside to play and developing the creative side of their brains by playing hopscotch, jumping rope, or riding bikes, are much more beneficial to children opposed to always sitting on the couch using a device. Their brain will be more developed and they will be more mature and responsible if the device is given to them when they are a preteen at the age of 12 or 13 instead of a small child.

Experiencing real world problems, situations and freedoms is a much better learning tool than any app or show could ever offer to a child. The early years of life are too precious to just throw away and begin blinding children by setting them in front of the TV because parents are too lazy to entertain children themselves because they are too addicted to their own phone to pay attention to their kids.