Merging Technology and Child Development

And while it is recognized that technology, particularly computers are not supposed to replace basic human interactions and relationships, many studies have been undertaken with respect to the role of technology in the social, cognitive and language abilities of the child. They have also been recognized as important tools that aid in the learning process and growth of the child.

Computers are used to enhance language development of the child through computer-based readings and materials that allow for more interaction on the part of the child-learner. Children find it easier to learn their alphabets with the aid of recorded voice pronunciations in the computer and interactive images and pictures that they can manipulate. Computer programs that allow for more manipulation and interaction have been found to make a contribution to the development of the child’s imagination, exploratory skills and logical thinking. As children are basically psychomotor learners and are attracted to visuals and colors, computer programs, the television and video discs have become essential tools in the delivery of the average pre-schooler’s lesson. Children exposed to computers were also found to have good eye-hand coordination.

Technology has been found to play a part in raising a child’s self-esteem and self-reliance. There is also evidence to suggest that using technology increased children’s confidence, comfort, and familiarity with technology at an early age. Similarly, children who were exposed to computers and technology-assisted instruction were found to be more work-focused and more productive compared to children who had not had this experience.

Technology now plays a crucial role in the development of children with learning disabilities. The use of hearing aids and computers have helped these children in word recognition, reading and writing because lessons can be programmed so that they are adaptable to the needs of the individual. In addition to this, the virtual, interactive world of the computer is now becoming a place for social interaction among children with language and speech disabilities.

In many respects technology has become the answer to the growing concern of psychologists about multiple intelligences and the different patterns of growth and development of the child. The use of technology and the computer mean that activities can be specially designed to address the needs and interests of children. The use of television and video discs have also broaden children’s knowledge of the world and their conceptual understanding of traditions and cultures other than their own.

Some people have complained that this is an ‘overuse’ of technology that could lead to negative effects such as the development of a sedentary lifestyle and obesity. However over exposure to the television or computers can easily be addressed with the use of proper guidelines and monitoring of use by parents and teachers. The maximum amount of screen time should be one to two hours a day for young children. Parents and teachers should still include a variety of physical activities and play in the course of a child’s day. Parents should take notice of, and monitor the software and programs that their children can use because not everything on the television or the internet is suitable for children.

We should not be too quick to discount the possibilities and opportunities technology can offer to the development of our children. These things have a role as learning tools but it should not be forgotten that in the child’s formation of his or her self the human role which facilitates more interaction on the part of the child learner is indispensable.

Leave a Reply