One of the biggest misconceptions about modern technology is that it is, somehow, bad for children. Nothing could be further from the truth; when you think about it, it’s a completely counter-intuitive concept.
Just look at all the amazing things that the last few generations have managed to do with technology. The idea that we could raise our kids in some nostalgic, low-tech vacuum and that they will one day just naturally take up technology to take up our place is simply ludicrous.
Moreover, technology is merely a tool. Cars, medicine, and construction equipment all kill people, yet, no one even presumes that there’s something intrinsically bad about them. So, why don’t we give the symbiosis of children and technology the same benefit of the doubt?
To help further persuade you on why technology can be great for children, here are three fields in which this is particularly easy to see.
All modern educational institutions insist on the use of technology. Homework is sent via email and not submitted in paper form; all the announcements are made on the course blog, and projects are often handled in a collaboration tool. In other words, it’s near impossible to participate in modern education without heavy use of technology (in some form or format).
Moreover, the question “is technology good for education” can be answered in several ways. Most importantly, you need to understand that technology is merely a tool. Its application can be good or bad, but it’s incapable of being intrinsically good or bad.
Technology has a particularly effective way of gamifying the learning process. Kids learn through games all the time. For instance, non-native children will sometimes more effectively learn English through video games than in class.
Some of the most perspective jobs of the future are closely related to technology. Have you ever seen an average boomer type or tried to use touch technology? The results can be quite impressive, but then a child of five takes the tablet, and it still seems more natural. Much can be said about adopting technology instead of just learning how to use it.
There are some fields in which technology really excels. For instance, a platform can help improve a child’s spelling if it just underlines the word instead of autocorrecting it. Quizzes and platforms developed to help improve literacy are very effective.
Tests and grading are also much less biased when performed by an algorithm. The most important thing to remember is that biases and favoritism aren’t always malicious. Sometimes, they happen unconsciously.
Also, grading is instantaneous, so the teacher is not waiting to check all the tests manually.
While many argue against using technology for social development, some undeniable benefits are worth addressing. Sure, they’re not outside climbing trees with their friends, but they use video games and chatrooms to socialize.
Since most of their peers are using these games as the main source of entertainment, prohibiting a kid from participating in these activities can make them socially isolated.
While the health benefits of old-school socializing are great, it’s not like our grandparents would voluntarily agree to swing sticks in the middle of the meadow if they had the opportunity to fight Dragons in Skyrim. We’re not saying this is good or bad; it’s just important to avoid lying to ourselves and observing the past through nostalgia goggles.
Just think about it, e-sports events fill stadiums, and people from across the globe tune in to watch live broadcasts of video game tournaments. The gaming industry has penetrated popular culture and is here to stay. To some, the idea of watching other people play video games is unimaginable, but how is this any different than watching other people compete in sports?
This means that depriving your kid of this experience means robbing them of a whole cultural aspect of modern society. Even when not playing, kids are talking about video games and streamers, and your kid must be capable of holding these conversations.
The matter is that the world has changed, and we must allow our children to keep up. If you’re concerned about the negative aspects, just make sure they use technology in moderation and catch regular breaks.
Modern tools, platforms, and engines allow our imagination to run wild. Now imagine the potential for someone faced with all those amazing opportunities from a young age while their imagination still runs wild. This also enables and makes the prospect of life-long self-improvement a lot easier to bear.
Modern technology allows children to try making different models without putting themselves in harm’s way or spending resources. Even clay has limited uses, but in a modeling program, you can make any shape or form, remodel it a million times, and then save or discard it.
The most effective learning model is trial and error; with modern technology (digital), the cost of failure is either low or non-existent. This allows for more effective didactic methods and encourages creativity without material restrictions.
For instance, in the past, Legos were considered a toy representing a peak crossover between creativity and popular culture. Minecraft and similar games have capacities beyond anything you could ever create with Legos. They also take up less space.
The use of modern technology has enabled a 45% increase in creative jobs since 1997. In other words, by monetizing your creativity, you’re more encouraged to pursue a career in a field you are interested in.
Some people make a fortune by self-publishing novels on Amazon Kindle Direct Publishing. Others are making a killing selling stock photos or self-publishing their music on Soundcloud. Being able to monetize your creativity means you’re no longer streamlined into boring fields from your earliest childhood.
Lastly, the potential of technology is huge, and since it shapes our world in so many ways, we must help our children understand it. Sure, many are worried about our children’s ability to use it in moderation, but even this needs to be taught and conditioned. It won’t come naturally and won’t happen on its own. Either way, avoiding the use of technology in our children's education would be unwise and potentially even harmful.