Young children today spend more time looking at a screen instead of interacting with others. What could be the long term impact on them?
Just a few years ago, children would inundate the parks right after school to go play for hours under the sun. Just a week ago, when I visited my six-year-old cousin he was playing with an iPad. He was so consumed by the game that he didn’t notice I had walked in.
Has technology changed the way children interact and communicate with those who surround them? Kathryn List, member of the Council at Alpbach and president of the American Institute for Musical Studies, said it can be equally good and bad.
“There is no question about it, innovations always have some sort of negative impact,” she said. “Certainly if a young person gets sucked in to only sitting with their technology is not a good thing, but I also find it hard to say that all technology is bad.”
Ms List explained that time management is key to children’s usage of technology. Damaging qualities resulted from little or no supervision including children’s patience which had greatly changed.
“I see a lot of very disturbing results of technology in education for young people,” she stated. “Young people have developed a lack of tolerance. They have become users rather than developers.”
According to Ms List, a solution to this problem can be found through the more traditional educational foundations, such as the arts. A balance between the old and modern and an understanding of the psychological aspect can help improve this new deficiency of patience found among the younger generations.
“I think the real way to the future is between these interdisciplinary discussions,” she said.
While she believes some young people are “handicapped” by the fact that their connection to the real world is through a device, she also highlights a positive side.
“Technology has, in the past, offered us huge rewards,” she added. “I think the main message is managing the usage and finding a way where the old and new meet in order to have more benefits instead of consequences.”
Ariana Perez and Ecem Hepcicekli report.