Is Technology Affecting Children’s Learning and Behaviour?

Children today are digital natives, and it is common for those as young as three years old to navigate apps such as YouTube on the iPad confidently. This phenomenon has led to rising concern among parents today that technology will have an adverse effect on their child, in areas such as behavior and attention span.


Impact of Device Multitasking on Learning

Do you wonder why children tend to spend more time reading a physical book versus reading a book on an electronic tablet? Tablets lend themselves easily to multi-tasking, where children have the tendency to be distracted by pop-ups and notifications that draw them away from their original task.

As technology progresses rapidly and our lives increasingly depend on it, excess exposure can contribute to sensory overstimulation amongst young children whose senses and development are still attuned to single simulation environments.

According to Ann Bridgewater, clinical psychologist in Hong Kong and cofounder of Playto Technologies, research has shown that technology impacts children’s ability to concentrate when they multitask. This usually happens when they work on several things at a time or have several screens open or conversations ongoing. The tendency to multitask, once it becomes ingrained in behaviour, can in turn impact basic attention skills required for conducive learning environments.

Want to test your child’s attention span? Try out this quiz to find out.

Over Usage of Technology on Behaviour

Parents are often caught off guard by how quickly and easily children can adapt to using technology, and may struggle with subsequently re-establishing control over screen time.

Since usage of technology started rising, there has been a lot of debate about the impact of technology on aggression in youths. While prevailing research today indicate that there is no correlation between aggression and usage of technology, violence in media and persistent use of technology can still contribute to a negative impact on children’s well-being.

Using technology for a prolonged period can lead to increased adrenaline levels in children, increased levels of stress and heightened sensory stimulation. While the verdict is still out on the impact of this on children’s behaviour, we know that even in adults, overuse of technology has led to behavioural symptoms as such phantom vibration syndrome.

So how can parents today better prepare for managing their child’s use of technology while preparing them as digital citizens of tomorrow? First Code Academy spoke to Ann Bridgewater, a clinical psychologist specialising in children and adolescents to understand this topic better. Look out for our next post as we share her tips on how to on device and technology management.

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