Too young for technology

Since the increasing advancements of technology in the last 10 to 12 years, the word childhood has taken on a whole new meaning. Children and teenagers ages 8 to 18 spend around eight hours daily consuming media through various outlets of technology, according to a Kaiser Family Foundation study in 2010. However, in 2004, the time consumption was only six hours and 21 minutes. That is an increase of a little more than an hour in five years.

With 2014 right around the corner, the number in those statistics has most likely increased, especially with the rise of bigger and better technological devices. While some people agree that the reliance on technology makes for a more advanced world, there is no denying that there are negative outcomes to growing up alongside computers and game systems. Children do not need to be deprived of technology, but should not be exposed to it all at once. Containing the technology children have access to does no real harm, as opposed to affecting the way they think when interacting with electronics.

Santa Monica College student Eric Shy said he believes that the technological advancements of the world can greatly improve the lives of children and can inspire them to make better creations.

"It's good," he said. "It's going to help them progress."

Indeed, there are many applications and interactive websites that stimulate learning and processing information, but at the same time they cause children to lose focus when in a classroom or technology-free environment.

Some children have more social interaction through the usage of Internet, smartphone, and tablet applications, but unfortunately it only goes as far as that.

Scarlett Munoz, SMC psychology major, said she believes that young children who become influenced by technology most likely grow up to be even more engaged with it as adults.

"We're making them dependent and addicted to technology at a really young age," she said.

As adults in this time, we have an idea about how different life can be in a span of only 10 to 20 years. It is our responsibility to acknowledge that when we become technology-dependent adults, we create technology-dependent children and eventually a completely technology-dependent world.

SMC student Allison Salazar said she worries that the potential exposure to explicit content can cause children to lose their natural innocence.

"I feel like kids nowadays are so exposed that they know about a lot of things that they shouldn't at their age," she said.

When children become exposed to new technology, it becomes harder to control the rules around those devices, as there is still so much they don't understand.

The risk of having children exposed to violent or explicit content is too high to allow them to freely use technology as they wish, especially when they are unsupervised. There is always a time and place for children to stay updated with the technology they need to possess for school or home activities.

The biggest concern when children are involved is not if they can keep up with today's technology, but how they use their knowledge of it to better themselves.

The problem is that instead of technology being a stepping stone for education and social skills, it deteriorates qualities that are needed to survive in today's society and properly grow as an adult.

The skills it takes to have a normal conversation to express your thoughts and to interact appropriately with your surroundings are much harder to learn as an adult than becoming savvy with technology.

After all, we are the generation that played with Tamagotchis and listened to Hit Clips. Look around you and see how many of your peers have quickly adapted to the thinnest laptops and smartest phones to have been created in our lifetime.

It does not take a long time to pick up technological skills, especially when they are being developed faster than we can obtain our college degrees.


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