Tech-nically a problem

Lauren Lukens editor-in-chief
Lauren Lukens
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Kids will undergo consequences of technology if risks are not acknowledged
One cannot deny that it is common for one to own a smartphone, be familiar with tablets, have social media accounts, use an iPod and consume LED televisions to watch Blu-ray movies or play video games. Most children cannot imagine a day without such items, while older generations find it hard to escape the usage of technology even with effort.
The benefits the current era of advancement has provided are undeniable. Media and electronic devices can help kids gain knowledge, interact on different social levels and access educational resources, but the overuse of these advancements could be detrimental to current and future generations’ development. Side effects include decreased handwriting and spelling skills, misinformation, less physical activity and undesirable media image.
Due to the excessive usage of online chatting, electronic games and social media, the writing skills of today’s young generation has declined considerably. Children now rely more and more on digital communication, and due to the technology available, less stress is put on kids from parents and teachers to have legible handwriting and be able to write in cursive. While one can go through life without cursive, it is not possible to be a successful adult without the ability to write with a pen and paper.
Not only is handwriting affected though, but due to the access of spell check, more children are misspelling common words when technology is not present and do not know how to use proper grammar. While new technology does not force a child to learn how to write and spell on paper, emerging speech recognition technology that converts speech to text can be a useful resource for students with writing disabilities.
While writing skills may be decreasing, access to Internet brings an ever-growing ability for kids to get in touch with information and educational resources. Although the Internet is a valuable tool for learning and development, there are times when it has negative consequences.
Adults and older students know that trusted sources like universities or major educational organizations have websites that contain verifiable facts and information, while other websites may not have the same credibility. A child may take everything online as fact, leading to misinformation or even slightly skewed thoughts.
Outside of the classroom, increased technology has discouraged the physical interaction skills of many children. While some parents are cautious about how much tech-time their children get and encourage outdoor, interactive activities, others are totally oblivious to the fact that their child does not know how to effectively interact with others in-person. Increased technology has contributed to greater obesity rates in America as well.
Increased technology affects more than writing skills and physical health. Since children are introduced to technological devices at a young age, they are constantly overwhelmed with media images.
Television, magazines, radio, the Internet and other media outlets often glorify negative behaviors such as underage drinking, drug use and unsafe sexual situations. Unrealistic images of children, teenagers and young adults when it comes to weight and appearance are also portrayed.
Technology has a huge impact on the lives of children in the United States, but the influence does not seem to be nearly as powerful in underdeveloped countries.
It is easy for American children to have a loss for writing talent, be misinformed on the web, engage in less physical activity, lack patience and rely too heavily on media images due to daily use of technology, but all of these results can be prevented with proper parenting techniques. Not all children are subject to the cons of advancement in technology, and it is undoubtedly important for children to become familiar with technology to be successful and competitive in future careers.