Children are using electronic devices to connect socially with their peers through Facebook, Twitter, Xbox Live, and all the numerous text messaging applications. Children consume a large dose of electronics because that’s how they “hang out” in today’s world. It’s not the technology that they are after, it’s the communication. Children are not able to drive, there are less kids playing outside, and electronics provide much easier access to friends. Children are less worried about what strangers see than they are what their parents can see. They will text each other while in the same room to avoid parental/adult interference. Instead of warning children NOT to use electronics and the internet, teach them HOW to. Provide them with choices and avoid controlling their free time. Use it as a tool to teach them boundaries, limit setting, and accountability.
Electronics provide them with an opportunity to take charge and have a sense of control in their lives, free from the adult-centered and adult controlled contexts. They may be treated or feel as if they require constant adult direction. If they are really given the freedom to choose, and they continue to choose the same activity, then they’re really getting something out of it. Allow them to make mistakes, that’s how they learn and develop a sense of control over their own lives. Kids make good choices if given the freedom to do so. What about how electronics impact the brain? Research indicates that an hour of video games a day increases brainpower.
Studies have shown increases in memory, critical thinking, and problem-solving. Truthfully, computers and electronics are increasingly important tools in today’s society. They aren’t going away. If this is what children want and need, why not give it to them? If the behavior was sitting down reading a book, would we question it? Just because it’s not how we would want to spend our free time doesn’t make it wrong.