Today’s children are growing up in a rapidly changing digital age, far different from how parents and grandparents did. They are surrounded by digital devices that are rapidly becoming the tools of the culture at home, at school, at work, and in the community. Technology is here to stay, but there seems to be conflicting evidence and research on the value of technology in children’s development.
Active screen time versus passive screen time
Educators and parents have been cautioned about the negative impact of passive or non-interactive technology, such as background TV, in child development and obesity. However, not all screen time should be found equal. The Queensland University of Technology GRID Lab researchers proposed screen time to be divided into at least two different types – passive, in which participants are sedentary and are passively exposed to media and active, in which participants are either cognitively or physically engaged with the media.
Active screen time has favorable effects on child development
There is quite a substantial body of research that illustrates the benefits of active screen times in terms of children’s cognitive and physical development. Some research presented that computer use during school years showed improvements in school readiness. It also helps facilitate social interaction and language use improvements, such as word knowledge and verbal fluency. Active screen time, such as video games, has also been linked to improved visual attention, problem solving, conductive reasoning, coordination and the tracking of multiple objects.
Video games that require physical activity were also found to increase academic performance, social skills and self esteem. They can motivate young children to exercise and be more active in general and they can improve their academic performance.
With the prevalence of gadgets and technology, the question that educators and parents ask is no longer about whether and to what extent technology should be used with young children, but rather how it should be used. Get valuable information, tips, and strategies on raising children in the digital age. Click here for FREE UPDATES.
Resource: “Active versus Passive Screen Time for Young Children”, published in the Australian Journal for Early Childhood by Dr Penny Sweetser, Dr Daniel Johnson, Anne Ozdowska, and Dr Peta Wyeth (2013)