Presently, most children embrace technology. Numerous children believe that technology has become part of their daily activities. In that regard, they supposedly find it difficult to imagine living in the aged generation where communication and other activities took so much time. According to Annual Review of Sociology (321), technology refers to advancement in scientific knowledge utilized for practical purposes, mainly in industry. Modern technology ascribes to the Internet, cell phone, computers, television, among others. For that reason, it is difficult for children today to imagine a life without computers, the Internet and cell phones. Van Mierlo and Van den Bulck have differed concerning the effects of technology on the growth of the contemporary kids. Van Mierlo believes that technology is the advanced level of human life, while Van den Bulck contends that technology has sundry effects on brain development. Albeit these contentions; “Technological advancement including things like cell phone has its merits and demerits on the development of children since most kids take technological devices for granted” (Fulkk 921).
How Cell Phone has impacted the Communication
Communication that involves exchange of information and ideas through common symbols, languages and body movements is an essential and crucial aspect of human life. Human beings and perhaps all living creatures have their own methods and techniques of communicating with each towards coordination and programming of activities within their respective societies. Methods and techniques of interpersonal communication among human beings have undergone serious and rapid revolution over short time. In the preindustrial age, human beings relied on physical face to face communication as appropriate way of exchanging valid and direct information. Some societies also used sound from drums, horns, whistles, and smoke to pass specific coded information. These changed during the postindustrial age when technological advancement introduced electronic communication.
As years lapse, technology also advances from one level to another integral level. These advancements in technology have not left behind integration in communication technology. Technological advancement and integration have seen introduction and continued innovation of mediums and devices of communication such as “telephone lines, wireless networks, waves, internet, satellite, fiber optic, and stationary telephones, mobile phones, televisions, radios, computers, and smart phones among others” (Fulk 923). The developments in the communication technology go hand in hand with changes in communication patterns among human beings. These changes have seen development of serious communication problem between the adults of the past communication technology and the youths of the contemporary communication technologies.
Denial of attention by parents who instead concentrates on technological devices, have left children in sad moods to view their parents as uncaring and unworthy as they feel hurt, aggrieved and unwanted by their parents. Eventually, children move out to seek new friends who can show them compassion and care. The next thing is that they move out to seek new friends who end up teaching them new things that are very different from the desires of the parents. This then results in a much distorted communication patterns between parents and their children, which may even ruin the relationship. However effects, parents have no option but to learn advancing technologies while there is time to avoid being frustrated by their children upon growing up.
Being that children grow together with development in technology, they tend to know a lot of things unknown to the somewhat naïve parents. In the demonstration of Fulk, this disparity gives children special opportunity to teach their parents about certain aspect of technology unknown to the parents. When children discover that they can teach the otherwise superior parents and ensure that they understand the basic concepts, they tend to feel some sense of command. According to Fulk, such feelings make children have little respect for their parents and expect parents to comply and respect everything they say. This then reverses the pattern of communication from up-downwards to down-upwards.
Proponents of modern engineering argue that the present technical advancement has made the world a global village. This is because transmission of information from one place to another becomes swift. Dawn of television in late 40s ensured that people receive information within a short time, both written and visual. According to Annual Review of Sociology (327), “cell phone or mobile phones ease the communication and assure receipt of instantaneous feedback” among other things.
On the downfall, technological discovery disconnects the link between children and their parents. This hinders the knowledge and values passed by parents to their children. In fact, most kids get exposed to technology and would think the world would be at a standstill without technology. Although the advantages appear compelling, the disadvantages are exceedingly chronic to both physical and mental development. This is to say “technology confines ingenuity, affects the cognitive, incarnate, ethical and behavioral performances, attributes and children's development” (Annual Review of Sociology 331).
Influences of Technology on Children Development
Technology affects the growth of a child from birth. For that reason, doctors recommend six-month breast feeding after the birth of a child. This makes the child enjoy the colostrum, which is rich in antibodies that boost the child’s immunity and help in the growth. Nonetheless, through technology, women watch ads that misinform mothers to use powdered milk instead of breast milk. The effectiveness of the powder is questionable since it may serve the same purpose as breast milk though ineffectively. Furthermore, during breast feeding, the creation of a bond between mother and the child occurs, which is a phenomenon that lacks when contemporary skill is in use.
In normal cases, children grow up and become playful and in the process they experience things that most kids like doing. Modern technology “hinders kids from such experiences since the contemporary kid will prefer using gargets like toys” (Goessi 1). According to Van Mierlo and Vanden Bulck, “gadgets like video games” (112) take much time of their time, thus, forgetting going out to play with other kids. Most kids in the present time prefer staying most of the time playing games and surfing the internet. Some focus on listening to radio and watching TVs. Such acts impair their capability to exercise, and this contributes to prevalence of overweight and when one visits most schools, it is evident that most kids suffer from obesity.
Moreover, nearly all kids while watching TV tend to eat junk food that is unhealthy, unlike the previous generation children who indulged in creative games and the majority did not suffer from hypertension as a result of overweight. Because of modern technology, children live unhealthy life and with reduced life expectancy. Critical reasoning, lack of concentration and attention spans of many children appear damaged by the modern technology. Most kids are not creative since all the information required is on hand in the internet.
Goessi portends that this makes many kids “unable to solve complex and focus on widespread literature attainable online” (1). Conversely, the Internet introduces kids to social networks that help kids share materials and favorite books online. This link enables children share a lot of information that help them make informed decisions and arguments. However, they may as well meet black-hearted friends since they add friends that anonymous to them.
Besides, children are at the risk of finding themselves in the snarl of people with dreadful intentions, thereby, leading to immorality. Prior to modern technology, the circle of friends was limited to clear intentions. The consequences of inappropriate relationships encouraged by technology give birth to children who start dating at a tender age, thereby, leading to unplanned pregnancy, STIs & HIV, and low self-esteem. “Modern technology weakens the usual norms, language, values brought down from one generation to another” (Gross 67). For example, in African setting the accustomed culture is disappearing because of technology, therefore, making children lack the fundamental cultural aspects (Robert 1123).
Modern technology is an accomplishment since it contributes to significant discovery and innovations, but also has numerous effects on kids’ development. Despite its numerous benefits, it has become a threat to children development through things like the Internet, television and cell phones. It contributes to culture erosion, unhealthy life, moral decay, neglect of parental guidance and low self-esteem. For that reason, as we embrace technology, we should also embrace parental guidance and ensure that old ways of doing things are not buried in sand. Technology is praiseworthy, but for kids to reap the benefits of technology, they must have self-control and a sense of balance.
Finally, As much as technological advancements have made life easy and efficient, they have caused and compiled serious problems to the social structures. Communication, which is the basic instrument for socialization has succumbed to the negative and positive aspects of technology. However, while observing from sociological point of view, technology has negatively impacted on the communication patterns specifically between parents and children. Introduction and integration of cell phone and its complementary materials has worked to expose children to unsafe contents and information that are dangerous to their growth. Concentration of parents to the same outputs of technology has seen them deny children the required attention and care. This has led to widening of parent-child bonds and ties to an extent of creating mismatch of communication patterns. The perceived inferiority of parents to technological advancements has seen children threaten to dominate over and control their parents.