Thinking about childhood is a memory journey that deserves ones precious time, as it aids the appreciation of the challenges encountered by children in the present day world. A few years back, it was common sight to see children playing outside all through the day. As masters of their craft, children in those days created various games for their consumption, which had little or no financial implication, and required no parental guidance.
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This forms of play traditionally provided avenues for the children to move and make contact with their world, and what they saw and heard from their immediate environment was basically natural and simple. Shortly before the advent of technology, one will be right to categorically state that the sensory stimulation of the child was in equilibrium, giving room for sufficient development and incorporation of all the senses. An integration of all the sensory organs is necessary for a child to garner the basic skills for schooling.
Adequate growth of the sense organs plays a significant role in the ability of a child to be attentive. The invasion of technology in the present day world has given rise to a sensory world that is different from what was obtainable in the years past. The most important factors necessary for child development and growth such as mobility and human relationship have now been relegated to the back seat, giving way for technology, which in no small measure has overwhelming consequences.
The purpose of this research proposal is to ascertain the relationship between the ability of the sense organs to process information and the excessive use of technology. This research proposal is attempting at answering the following questions.
- What is the impact of excessive use of technology on a Childs sensory processing?
- How can technological use, be balanced to improve the wellbeing and educational performance of a child?
Background of Study
Some few years back, family time was often observed while doing chores, and it was expected of every child to meet up with the work assigned to him or her, this in a way contributed greatly in motivating a child’s drive to excel. After the day’s work families retired to the dining room, where food was served and discussions about the day’s activities done. There is a total change from what use to be to what is obtainable now.
The television screens have taken the place of the dining tables. The widespread excessive use of technology is destroying the family institution and our educational systems, and resulting to a fall in values that held these institutions together. Years back for one to survive, he or she needed to move in order to accomplish this, but today man feels all that he needs to make it in life is technology. Simon, reported in his work that
“Studies in 2004 by the Kaiser Foundation, and in 2008 by Active Healthy Kids Canada, showed that elementary aged children use on average eight hours per day of combined technology use, with 65% of these children having television’s in their bedrooms, and 50% of North American homes having the television on all day (3-5). “Baby TV” now occupies 2.2 hours per day for the 0-2 year old population, and 4.5 hours per day for 3-5 year olds and is causally linked to developmental delays ”(87).
These findings made France to place a ban on all its broadcasting co-operations from hosting programs for children under the age of four. Instead of parents playing around the house with their children, they now prefer leaving their children glued to the TV screens, while they go out and on returning purchase the latest computer games as gift and no book to read. This aside its negative impact on the child’s health and academics, is creating a big gap between the children and their parents.
Technology Overuse: Effects on Child Development
In today’s world children depend on technological gadgets for their leisure, thus limiting the opportunity of exploring their creative imaginations, and the possibility of encountering challenges that would have enhanced motor development. Sitting in one place and savoring violent and extreme sensory stimulation are slowing down the chances of child development, with consequent effects on acquiring the fundamental skills for literacy. Simon reported in his work that
“14% of Canadian children have diagnosed mental health disorders (11). Between 1991 and 1995, prescriptions for psychotropic medications in the 2 – 4 year old toddler population, as well as in children and youth tripled (12-14). 80% of this medication was prescribed by family physicians and pediatricians (15). 15% of Canadian children are developmentally delayed (16), and 15% are obese (17).
Media violence has recently been classified as a public health risk due to causal links to child aggression (18). 25% of elementary children have been cyber bullied, and youth who reported being harassed online were eight times more likely to carry a weapon to school in the past 30 days ”(39).
The excessive utilization of technology for leisure has negative impacts on a child’s motor development, self identity, and interaction with others. As more and more children are getting glued to the televisions screens and other technological inventions, there is a possibility that the society will experience a disconnection from self, from the spirits and from nature. Msughter, stated that “ “you are what you do”. If all a child “does” is watch television and play video games, then this experience is truly what they become”(45).
H1: If children are constantly attached to Technology, then optimal sensory and motor development will be inhibited.
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The primary methods that will be utilized in caring out this research work will be,
- Expert Knowledge
An observation will be made on a select group of adults who were exposed to traditional form of play, by moving, making contact and relating to fellow human beings and the environment. And an observation will also be carried out on another group of adults who were not exposed to the traditional form of play but were dependent on technology for play. Deductions will then be made as regards their self identification, relationship to others and the environment in general.
The experience and knowledge of experts and professionals will also be used in ascertaining the impact of technological overuse on the sensory and motor development of children.
Questionnaires will be issued out, and the target group will be the elderly and basically grandparents, who will be required to answer questions regarding their experience with their children and grand children at various stages of development. This method will make available first hand information from parents who have raised children both traditionally and with technology.
Predictions and Conclusions
It will be worthy to note that if the use of technology by children is not properly managed or balanced, one or more of the following will likely occur.
- The child will be disconnected from self and the environment.
- The basic foundational skill for learning may not be developed adequately.
- There will be the likelihood that the child might develop physical and psychological disorders.
- Attention deficit might occur.
There is evidence that technology will continue to grow, and as such its negative effects also will continually keep growing. Occupational therapists are equipped with the necessary knowledge regarding the adverse effects of technology.
Precautionary measures taken to balance the utilization of technology with mobility, touch and human relationship, will go a long way in supporting children together with their families and learning environments. No one can doubt the importance of technology in our world today, but a total dependence or connection to technology has resulted to a disconnection of today’s children from good health and excellence in academic endeavor.
Msughter, Ipirakwagh. Child Growth and Motor Development. Cairo: Asawa, 2002.
Simon, Tondo. Sensory and Motor Development. Durban: Havi Press,2009.