American youth today have more, or have more access to, technology than ever. According to a survey provided by the Pew Research Center, 87% have access to a desktop or laptop, and 73% have access to smartphones. Studies also show that teenagers spend an average of 27 hours per week online. However, according to research done by Grunwald Associates, half of U.S. parents believe that technology should not play such big roles in children’s lives.
So should technology be integrated into the lives of our youth?
Many believe that the use of technology negatively affect students and their grades. There are also multiple studies that show too much TV can lead to conditions such as obesity and attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder.
However, new research shows that technology offers opportunities students would not otherwise receive. If, for example, technology was used in school, teachers would be able to easily collaborate and communicate with their students, which could lead to grades improving. Furthermore, students would also have easy and free access to resources online. Technology could also help kids socially. Social media allow people to make new friends and keep in touch with old ones. Moreover,conversing online can help students feel more comfortable due to the low-stress environment and lack of added pressure of an in-person conversation.
Additionally, studies show that technology has benefits for older, college students as well as younger children. A research study conducted in Auburn, Maine showed that Kindergartners who use iPads scored much higher on literacy tests than those who don’t. The University of California Irvine medical school also reported that students who use iPads scored 23% higher on national exams than previously unequipped classes.
Technology also allows kids to engage in activities that are not offered in schools. Social networking sites such as Facebook, Instagram, and Snapchat, helps students find others teens with similar interests, which can help them open up. According to research conducted by Common Sense Media, 29% of teens report that the use of social networking makes them feel less shy, and 20% report that it makes them feel more confident. 19% of teens further believe that it makes them more sympathetic to others.
Technology should definitely be used with caution, and abusing it can lead to negative results. However, the benefits that come with it and the idea of allowing students to use it to their advantage should not be immediately tossed aside, but put into consideration.