Thursday, May 7, 2015

Technology and Health

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Children between the ages of three eighteen have been studied and found to on average spend an unhealthy amount of time staring at screens each day. Eight year olds in the U.S clock in at eight hours a day with some form of media, and teens often clock in at around 11 hours of media consumption a day which is unhealthy (Time). There is an obvious problem here if children are spending more time than is healthy on technology because this could lead to them become ill. The illnesses that can come from this unhealthy amount of technology use are behavioral problems, learning difficulties, sleep disorders, and obesity (Time). Some countries that have noticed this as a problem have been taking more serious action than other countries. Taiwan is a good example because the government in Taiwan has now made it illegal for children to spend too much time on screens, and although they did not show a specific time limit they said that if the child becomes ill then the parents who are responsible for him must pay a fine (Time). But the real question now is whether or not it’s too late for something on a large enough scale to happen for children to actually spend less amounts of time on technology. Because in Taiwan they even made it illegal for children to spend too much time and the response from the people was not a good response because they were asking for this law to be taken away, so it may be too late if even making it illegal to spend too much time on screens disagreed with by the people.


Too much screen time can also affect children’s social interactions negatively and not allow them to recognize emotional expressions as easily as children who don't use as much technology (NPR). This information can be backed up by an experiment that was done by researchers who took 50 children to an outdoor education camp and had 50 other children continue on life as normal with technology. But the children who were sent off to the camp had no technology for the five days they were there. After just those five days the researchers tested the children's ability to tell emotional expressions, and the group of children who spent their past five days in an outdoor education camp scored exceedingly higher in this test (NPR). Even though only a small amount of children were used in this experiment, the large amount of more emotions and facial expressions the children at the camp could tell is evidence of technologies negative effects. The statistics of the 100 children that were tested in this experiment show that children spending too much time staring at screens does affect more than just their health but their ability to socialize with others. Which is just another reason why I and many others believe that something should be done to limit this screen time, but no one really knows how to do that yet.


Although children of the ages 3-18 have certain amounts of time that they can spend on technology on a daily basis and still be completely healthy, pediatricians and journalists argue that babies under the age of three should have no screen time at all (Slate). The experts who researched this topic said that the children of the age under three years old need warm, real world interactions instead of screen time. However, a study from the 2013 study in the research journal of child development shows that children who spend their screen time chatting with loved ones using webcams can actually help the child form bonds with the loved one and even learn new words (Slate). This shows that some screen time that children have is actually educational and helpful for their development, but the amount of screen time that is educational is at such a small percentage that most children that use technology are not using it for beneficial purposes (Slate). A problem with this is that it’s hard to keep the screens away from the children and can even cause confusion. The kids may not know why they are being kept from watching the screens and this will cause them to ask questions and make them confused. Some parents that researchers talked with said that they took exhausting measures to try and keep their child’s head turned away from the screens especially when the young child has older siblings who also like to watch tv.


So overall technology use has been causing troubles for lots of people throughout the world, and there are people such as pediatricians who believe that this technology use is unhealthy for children. But there can also be some upsides to technology use as proven in the “2013 study in the Research Journal of Child Development”. But technology has spread too much around the world and it has become too powerful to be stopped by even the government as proven in Taiwan, Where the citizens of Taiwan were citing privacy concerns due to the government trying to make children of the ages three through eighteen spend less time on technology for their own health. So yes I believe we have come too far for something to actually make children spend less time on technology because it has become a normal part of society and life today.

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Conclusion, updated [27, May 2015]

I think being able to write my own blog on a topic that I personally picked and can relate to was a great experience and I definitely learned a lot. My topic addressed children and how using too much technology can cause health and social problems in their lives. The question that I had and was able to answer after doing research on my topic and writing my blog was whether or not it was too late to lower the amount of time spent on technology because it has become such a big part in our lives nowadays. This topic was really interesting for me to research and at points even shocked me as it did to the readers of my blog because in the student comments I received most of them replied first off by saying how surprising or shocking the statistics were. This was interesting to me as well of how many people were unaware of this problem in life today most likely because spending time on technology has become a social norm. Some of the comments really backed up the idea of reducing time spent on technology, but no one was really able to specify how. Some responses shared articles that I found fascinating because some websites were very factual and actually were able to teach me a lot about my own topic. Another response shared a link of a debate website were I really had to look at what the people were saying and even do some research to make sure the people weren’t making up their comments, and the site had an 82% vote on the yes side that children are using too much technology. These responses backed up the idea I already had and did not really change my current thought process too much. For me the process of blogging was time consuming but very rewarding because you get to learn a lot about a topic that your personally enjoy and would love to show others about. I really enjoyed creating this blog post and I hope many other people will enjoy reading it and learning from it.

Bibliography

8 comments:

  1. Hey Basil! Your post really made me think about how technology has consumed my daily life, and perhaps affected my social skills as a human. It's a crazy thing to think about, and you did a good job discussing the issue! I understand that technology is taking over, but there have got to be some ways that this problem can be tackled. So do you think that we shouldn't do anything to help this issue because we can't? Also, what other ways can using technology be an advantage? On Debate.org they discuss both sides of this problem. Good job Basil!
    -Mei

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    1. Hi Mei! Thanks for commenting on my post. I agree with what you are saying that there has to be some way to solve this problem with children and possibly even adults spending to much time on technology, but I just don't think the idea has really come to anyone yet. I think another way that technology can be beneficial is our ability to use it to communicate with others. I really enjoyed looking at the link you posted and reading the comments people have left, and it's obvious that they know that people are spending to much time on technology because 82% of the people voted yes. Thanks Mei!
      - Basil Dahan

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  2. Hi Basil! Your post shocked me in so many ways! I had no idea little kids spent 8 hours on electronics! I really liked how you had so many facts to back up your opinion and statements. I agree with you that technology is affecting the human race in a negative way and that we should spend less time online, like in Taiwan how they no don't spend a lot of time online. On interesting article it talks about what your saying and totally backs up your point. You should check it out sometime! Thank you for sharing your article with the world, I really enjoyed it!

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    1. Hey Gabi! Thanks for commenting on my blog. I really enjoyed reading over the link you posted because it taught me lots about the different types of problems that can occur when overusing technology. And it was really cool to see how all of this could relate to health care. Thanks Gabi!
      - Basil Dahan

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  3. Great post Basil! I really enjoyed learning about the negative side effects and was pretty surprised about the lack of ability to detect emotion after too much screen time. It actually startled me when you wrote about just how much time is being spent on screens. I would never have imagined it. I agree with you, people should really try to cut down on the use of technology. I found this article interesting. It lists many of the possible hazards of using too much technology. Whenever I am on a computer too long I do notice that my head can start to hurt. I also find it hard to not check my phone on a regular basis. Anyways, nice post, it was very informative.

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    1. Hi Mrs. Beanz! Thanks for posting this comment on my blog. I really liked reading the article you posted because it was very factual and straight to the point so I could learn a lot quickly. And I think it's normal for people to get headaches from spending to much time on laptops and it even says it in your article that this is caused by your eyes being strained. Thanks Mrs. Beanz
      -Basil Dahan

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  4. Hi Basil: Thank you for writing an article that brings up two important aspects of computer use for kids--whether it is overall beneficial and whether it is too late to reduce time spent on line. If what you say is true, that there is no hope of reducing time spent on line, what about the quality of that time and the activities that parents do with their young children? Is it possible to change how families allocate computer time so they participate together in games or educational content? There appear to be a number of articles out there (this is one example) that focus on strategies for improving quality--limiting and carefully choosing apps, removing devices from kids' bedrooms, parents playing games with their children, and so on. Do you think this strategy will help to minimize the harmful and unhealthy aspects of technology use that you have written about? Again, thanks for a thought-provoking look at technology and children!--Ms. Riches

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    1. Hey Ms.Riches! Thanks for commenting on my blog post. Yes I do believe it would be very hard to lower the amount of time being spent on technology in a large scale, and yes the quality of the time can be spent well because there are many apps and ways that parents can use technology for educational uses to help their children. Yes families can try to get their children to spend their computer time together for educational games or maybe just games in general. Yes I believe there are many strategies that parents have to be able to improve the quality of their child's technology use such as setting parental controls and like the ones you stated above. Yes I believe that if a parent or parents do these things their child will be less likely to access harmful and unhealthy aspects of technology. Thanks Ms.Riches!
      -Basil Dahan

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