7. Childhood Access to Electronics

NYT Article: So Young, So Gadgeted

Electronics, such as games, Internet, MP3 players, and cell phones, are being rationalized. As days go by, their “benefits” seem to overwhelm the inexorable consequences that follow. Just a decade ago, electronics were prestigious. They were huge, ugly, inefficient, but new. I remember my dad couldn’t make a call while driving because the cell phone could not pick up a signal while the car was in motion.

Nowadays, they became a “given.”  As electronics became economically flourished and proved their potentials in markets, they are blossoming rapidly, even among children. Even in my own school bus, I see elementary kids holding the newest DS, iPod, and others in their hands. It is truly amazing how fast the technology has been improving for the past decade.

However, the spread of electronic usages results in some irreversible consequences, especially among children. If they are overused, it can lead to health, educational, and social developmental problems. First of all, their health deteoriates. The cell phone signals create enormous amounts of radiation that can be hazardous to the brain development and function. Also, uses of electronics reasonably decreases the amount of physical activities, possibly leading to obesity. Imagine a kid playing Nintendo DS every afternoon. He might turn like…

Secondly, and most importantly, children might develop educational shortage from overusing electronics. The electronic companys actually say their products ameliorate and significantly develop the children’s brain and cognition. They say playing with electronics is part of Piaget’s Preconventional Stage. However, if the electronics do all the work and thinking for children, what would they learn? The electronics also interfere deeper relationships with parents and friends. Yes, they might make more friends by having the newest item. But children, especially of young age, need parental love and touch. It is scientifically proven that children who interact more with parents develop more socially bright, and educationally inquisitive and active. What would a child do if they listen to iPod all day along? Make them participate in sports, music, discussions, cooking, reading, and/or writing, not electronics!

Electronics bring countless conveniences to our daily lives. However, I believe it is important for children to actually experience some of the old, “inconvenient” ways beforehand so that they can actually appreciate what’s given to them. As the quote “EVERYONE knows that babies crawl before they walk, and that tricycles come before two-wheelers” states, children should not be exposed to the newest technology and electronics. Electronics might be an obstacle for numerous possibilities for children, including social development.

If Jean Piaget were alive, he would say any type of exposure to new experiences helps children to develop. As the most influential developmental psychologist who appears in every chapter of our AP Psychology textbook, he would probably say that electronics do help child development. However, he would most probably state that it might be a big obstacle for child’s social developments, including development for parental respects. I believe children should get exposed to electronics at minimum age 12, where they develop certain cognition (according to Piaget).

PS. I personally want Apple Mac Pro for college.

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