Technology is not necessarily bad, but it is everywhere. Today's younger generation knows their way around all kinds of technical gadgets. Cell phones, iPods, Blackberries, and so forth find their way into kids' hands and from there to the dinner table, bedroom, living room, and everywhere else in the home.
And then there is the computer itself – whether desktop or laptop, young people spend time on social networks and in chat rooms. So how does all this technology affect your kids?
Unfortunately, there are some negative impacts of too much technology in the home.
It's sad but true – predators abound online. The more time your child spends online exchanging information and surfing the internet, the more likely it is that he or she will encounter a cyber-predator or bully. The online world opens the door for all sorts of abuse, as perpetrators can act in secret.
The ability to reason critically seems to be affected by technology. This may be because technological activities tend to diminish the attention span, making it harder for kids to concentrate long enough to solve a complex problem.
It may seem like a good thing that kids stay connected via technology. After all, it's easier to keep in touch with larger numbers of people when physical proximity is irrelevant. But some experts are concerned that the superficial and public nature of technological communication prevents "real" friendships from developing.
These experts contend that forming close, personal relationships in childhood is important to forming healthy adult relationships – interacting with friends in person allows children to learn body language, the art of conversation, and other important relational elements. Online, even tone of voice is lost.
Obesity among children is rising at an alarming rate. It has been said that many more children may actually be obese and not counted as such, because we have gotten so used to overweight children that we don't know what a normal child looks like.
Technology, while a useful tool, requires kids to sit still and "vegetate." They are not running around, playing outside, or doing other active things while engrossed in their technological world. Also, kids tend to snack when they are watching TV, playing computer games, and so forth. The combination of burning few calories and taking lots of calories in is a recipe for obesity.
Electromagnetic radiation exposure is another health concern with technology. Concerns have been raised about children's developing nervous systems and the lifetime of exposure that can be experienced by children who start so early with electronics. Cell phones are of particular concern, since the exposure is near the brain tissue.
There is actually a name for what happens to children when they do not get out into nature: Nature-Deficit Disorder (NDD). While somewhat controversial, the term refers to problems such as depression and obesity that are symptomatic of too much time spent indoors in front of a screen.
It can't be denied that a child in front of a screen is not outside enjoying the natural world; even with a mobile device, sitting in the woods texting is not the same as taking a hike, taking in the scene, and exploring under rocks and logs.