Should there be an age requirement for the use of technology? A time limit?

I think we have discussed and agreed about all the benefits technology can provide in terms of access to large amounts of information in little to no time. It can also connect us to friends and relatives who are far away. But as with everything else, it needs to be used responsibly. Going through the reading assignments I kept thinking about this issue in terms of how different generations use technology. In Carr’s piece he presents the notion of our brains being rewired by the way we use and relate to technology, mainly the internet. Even though I do see the point of habituation to receiving information as headlines and snippets of writing as a problem long-term if it translates to us not being able to focus on a particular subject long enough to truly immerse in it and create new ideas of our own, I agree with one of the comments on the piece that as adults with more knowledge on the importance of certain activities (e.g. reading literary works) and their consequences, either positive or negative, we have more control over making the right choices. We can choose a healthy balance of reading information online and immersing ourselves in books the old-fashioned way. My concern is directed at young children and how they interact with technology.

I was able to go home over spring break and spend time with my family. I was a little shocked to see how much my niece and nephew have grown but even more shocked when I saw the change in their behavior when given a cell phone or tablet. My niece is six years old and my nephew is two years old; they are both usually very active, always running around while playing, but once they were handed one of these devices the change was almost 180 degrees. It was as if they came with a dose of sedatives as well; they were glued to the screens, almost unresponsive.

I get the benefit or “break” the parents might get from having their otherwise energetic kids be slowed or calmed down by these devices. But what are the lingering consequences of too much indulgence in these types of entertainment? Especially at such a young age when the brain and motor functions are being developed constantly by every interaction with the world around them. I believe Steve Jobs was quoted saying that he would restrict the use of technology by his own children. Even someone who dedicated most of his life to the development and continuous improvement of technology, saw the importance of limiting the use of these devices, of using them responsibly. I don’t know if his concern was more targeted to a specific age range or to the total amount of time any individual is engaged with their electronic devices in a day. Maybe we should consider both. Since technology is moving at a much faster rate than we can properly process or assess its effects, we definitely have an increased responsibility on how we allow kids to interact with this digital media.

14 thoughts on “Should there be an age requirement for the use of technology? A time limit?”

  1. Thank you for the post!

    For a while I have been touting that Facebook should have “kid” accounts that are validated and censored. I also think parents ought to do a better job at screening online activities.

    I think the increase in childhood obesity can be linked to kids sitting around on their rumps all day. I am showing my age here, but when I was a kid…I was required to play. No discussion! Kids’ play was a break for parents, but it was also beneficial for kids. Active play helps with the development of social skills, and it is a great form of exercise.

    So should there be an age limit? For certain online platforms, yes! Should there be a time limit? Without a doubt!

  2. Good point! If the kids spend all their time playing with these digital toys, they have less chances to learn from nature and other people. Lacking of communication with people is not good for kid’s mental health. For adults, they may have the ability to control the technology instead of being controlled by it. Therefore, I agree that there should be an age limit for the use of technology.

  3. What a wonderful question. Yes, we as adults have so much more insight into making the choices we make and if I decide I don’t want to use my phone for two days I can choose to do that. Little people however, have not developed the sense of limits and knowing what amount is too much. The challenge of having to see my own nephews and niece on the tablets and laptops has been huge. Some of it now has to do with the educational systems (NOTHING is doable without internet and laptops) and some with lifestyle choices. I see a lot of parents putting technology in kids’ hands when they are too busy to spend time with their kids…or have forgotten what “setting limits” means. Just the neurobiological implications of technology on the brain is immense. How does this trend stay in check though? What can we as educators do to figure this out so it is balanced and not all or nothing?

  4. Great post!

    While I don’t have kids of my own, a number of my friends do, and they work hard to limit how much screen time their kids get each day.

    Now that my best friend’s son is nearly 10, he is allowed to decide (to a point) when and what technology he wants to interact with, whether that’s YouTube videos on a Tablet or Mario Bros. on an Xbox. Lucky for his parents, he is pretty good at self-moderating how much time he spends on those activities, and he likes to play outside as well. That said, I think you’re right that kids should have limits set for them, because you can’t guarantee that kids will know to set those limits for themselves.

  5. Nice post! I definitely agree– when kids are given access to technology, they are 100% focused on it. This was a great thing when I used to babysit kids in my town, but looking back, I wish I had thought to limit their time on their computers, ipads, etc. I cannot even fathom being their age and being glued to computer screens like so many of them are now. But then again, I always have valued being outside and running around, and realize that not all people value that. I bet there are parenting blogs on this exact topic with some really good insight and perspectives.

  6. Well, when you put it that way, it makes the movie WALL-E, in which humans have abandoned all physical activity for floating lounge chairs and all communication for interaction with tablets, eerily close to reality.

  7. Very intriguing post! I like how you relate technology to kids. This is indeed a crucial issue for young generations. In general, adults are more self-disciplined than kids in ways that adults have a relatively mature perception of the Internet. Kids are not. They are more malleable in front of the Internet. We as adults, as parents, and as educators, should pay more attention to mitigate the potential negative impact of the Internet on our kids.

  8. This is an excellent question! I definitely think that the current generations are more exposed to technology than what we were -and this poses much more challenge for parents and for teachers as well! As educators, we always want the best for children, and limiting technology to educational purposes is not necessarily a bad approach

  9. Lovely post. Thanks for sharing. I do think that it has to be age limit and time limit-both. Kids now-days spend too much time on TV, PC, phones. All ages… for parents and nanies-this is something that helps big time. We agree. Once the child cries, this is what helps them out. But generally speaking, kids should be more outdoors, in the sun, playing an having fun.
    When i remember times when i was a child, it was mainly playing outside in the dirt, climbing walls and trees, jumping on stones in the river and playing with other kids- was my favorite past time. Today though you will never find kids playing outside rather, they will most likely be inside on internet. Its good, but it has to be a limit.

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  11. nect us to friends and relatives who are far away. But as with everything else, it needs to be used responsibly. Going through the reading assignments I kept thinking about this issue in terms of how different generations use technology. In Carr’s piece he presents the notion of our brains being rewired by the way we use and relate to technology, mainly the internet. Even though I do see the point of habituation to receiving information as headlines and snippets of writing as a problem long-term if it translates to us not being able to focus on a particular subject long enough to truly immerse in it and create new ideas of our own, I agree with one of the comments on the piece that as adults with more knowle

  12. w different generations use technology. In Carr’s piece he presents the notion of our brains being rewired by the way we use and relate to technology, mainly the internet. Even though I do see the point of habituation to receiving information as headlines and snippets of writing as a problem lo

  13. I think we have discussed and agreed about all the benefits technology can provide in terms of access to large amounts of information in little to no time.

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