Anchor Staff Writer
Technology has advanced so much over the past years that we are seeing a huge impact in the way children learn. Rarely are we seeing kids being taught using physical materials to learn and study from. There are benefits to technology, but it should be understood that it's hurting the way children learn. While there are many benefits to technology in teaching children, it additionally is detrimental to their education as well.
Having computers and tablets available to students is helpful, but can also harm learning processes. In April of 2020, the U.S Census Bureau found that “Overall, 4.4 million households with students still lack consistent access to a computer and 3.7 million lack internet access.” This is a staggering number of children without access to computers or the internet, which has become vital to school’s for assignments and teaching. With COVID-19, we’ve seen a rise in the technology used in classrooms with students as young as kindergarten.
If students do not have access to the internet or a computer, they won’t be able to do their assignments and will fall behind in their learning process. Keeping students up to date on what materials they need to learn is critical. When a child does not have the means to do work, it can be discouraging. If computers are used in the classroom, they need to always be available to all students so learning has a fair chance and equal opportunity to reach full potential.
Technology is being used so much in classrooms that students these days are rarely able to write in cursive and sometimes in print. One of the reasons involves students always using the computer to write essays, assignments or to take notes. I notice in classes when we are taking notes that I rarely see anyone using a notebook. They use laptops. This can be an issue because technology can be faulty. Computers can break, they can die, you might not have the internet to access notes. Online textbooks are easier to use, and they are much cheaper. However they provide easy ways to cheat and they are never as reliable as a physical copy. You almost always need internet access to view an online textbook and a lot of students don’t have that access. The Internet and technology cost money. Majority of students have their funds wrapped up into their tuition. Overall, it adds up to more than it would be if a student just purchased a physical copy.
There’s a huge toll that phones and computers have on your physical and mental well-being. A study from Business Insider shows that “children who were exposed to more screen time were found to have delayed skill development during what is considered ‘a critical period of growth and maturation,’". Researchers found children who use a laptop, watch more television, or play games on a tablet are having delays in their growth and motor skills. It stands to reason that this would affect their learning in school as well.
These kids who are staring at a screen all day are not developing the skills they need for their everyday existence, and this can put them far behind in the classroom and in other aspects of life. It is no wonder that children have worse posture, strained eyesight, and often have headaches while looking at the screen to do assignments. If a child’s well-being is affected by their computer use, it would be clear that they will not do as well in school.
Technology can also stunt creativity. From Brian Solis, a digital anthropologist, “It turns out that creativity isn't some rare gift to be enjoyed by the lucky few -- it's a natural part of human thinking and behavior. In too many of us, it gets blocked [by digital distraction].” All children and adults alike have the possibility to be creative. Although when we stare at a screen all day and get distracted by things such as social media, that creative part of our brain shuts down. Then, we aren’t able to let our creative juices flow into writing, reading and art in the classroom. It is no wonder that students have trouble writing essays, reading for class and trying to think of ways to express themselves when they are distracted by the internet.
What should happen is limited screen time and allowing children to spend time away from the harsh toll that technology can take on their growth. When I was in elementary school, we used computers maybe twice a week, and learned mostly without technology. We need to bring back physical textbooks to the classroom and have kids take notes with pens instead of typing them out. Don’t introduce phones or tablets to them at such an early age and let them first see a world that is not overtaken by technology. Let a child discover the meaning of being a child before being thrusted into modern society.