Words: Madhu Lal
Recently I’ve noticed a spike in the usage of electronics in today’s youth population. As a kid growing up, I was assigned a set amount time each day for TV. Watching TV, for me, was a treat, and playing on the 30 pound piece of metal that was known as the computer, was utter bliss. I saw computer time as a treat, not an event that regularly occurred throughout the day. My life didn’t revolve around electronics, rather my life revolved around playing with friends and family. When living in New York, I fondly remember venturing out into Central Park, climbing the trees and chasing after other kids during a game of tag.
The way the youth today regards social interaction and electronics, I feel, has drastically changed since I was a child, only six years ago. Throughout the years I have noticed an increase of kids, not much older than eight, walking around, eyes glued to their iPhone, texting furiously to their friends. Even seven-year-olds, like my cousin, own androids and iPhones, and have Facebook and Instagram accounts! These kids, even in the presence of their friends or peers, would sit in silence tapping away on their phones, almost completely oblivious to each other’s existence.
It is important for kids to independently try to understand and unearth new information regarding peers, nature, and life. When kids are given phones at a young age, they disconnect from the real world, they don’t see discovery or learning of any importance, this is due to the fact that they can instantly google any information needed. Memorizing and storing information is seen as irksome and impractical and questioning and investigating things is regarded as foolish.
The early years of a child’s life is where they start to develop social skills; they talk, interact, and sometimes even fight with other kids. The interaction between peers is important because this helps children learn how to resolve conflict, interact with others in an acceptable way, and get a better understanding of others’ emotions.
I have witnessed kids doing just the opposite of that, six-year-olds taking “selfies” with makeup caked on their faces, and boys huddled in a corner playing fruit ninja vacuously. These kids are oblivious to events going on in the real world, absentmindedly walking, phone-in-hand.
The introduction of electronics into the lives of the young have contorted what kids see as important life skills, and, in some cases, have resulted in physically and developmental handicaps. Kids who grow up using electronics regularly, are more likely to lack cognitive skills (acquiring and understanding knowledge), they also may lack the ability to properly interact with other members of society, whether it be family or friends.
Phones and computers have no doubt helped better society’s way of life. These types of technology help connect people from around the world, get ideas and information out to the masses, and help make work more organized and efficient. However, the introduction of phones and laptops at a young age can negatively affect the recipient of this technology, by hindering a child’s ability to evolve into a creative important and developmentally sound person.