For 44 years, I have taught children, and as Oprah says, “This I know for
Technology is changing children and not always for the better. That’s my
opinion, and last week I read an article published on RealSimple.com, “The
Alarming Truth About What Smartphones Could Be Doing to Your Kids” by Samantha
Zabell — which I believe supports what I think.
From ages 8 to 18, a Kaiser Family Foundation study found that children spend
more than seven hours per day using media outside of school. From 2011 to 2013
the percentage of children with access to smart devices has grown from 52
percent to 75 percent.
The University of California at Los Angeles wanted to investigate the real
cost of the technology time.
The researchers decided to work with sixth graders in a public school who had
reported using technology including texting, video games, and television for
more than four hours per day. They gave the kids a test to evaluate their
emotional intelligence or their ability to perceive, control, and evaluate
Then, they divided the subjects into two groups. One went to Pali Institute
in California, a nature and science camp, where the students were immersed in
outdoor activities and were unable to use electronic devices of any type for
five days. On the first test, the camp group averaged 14.01 errors when judging
emotions, but on the second test they made 9.41 errors. Students who remained
at school did not show any significant improvement when retested.
So is emotional intelligence really important? Leaders in the field of
psychology like Edward Thorndike, David Wechsler, Abraham Maslow, and Howard
Gardner worked with measuring intelligence as related to learning potential.
With the publication in 1995 of Emotional Intelligence: Why It Matters more than
I.Q. by Daniel Goleman, people started to understand the impact of E.I. and the
best seller brought the topic to the forefront.
Plato said, “All learning has an emotional base.” If a child has a less than
average ability to evaluate emotions, will it affect learning and also social
adjustment? If our kids are not learning to properly relate to each other
because of lost time with people, will there be consequences for teaching and
society in general? I believe that we are already seeing the results.
Over the past 20 years, scientific research in the fields which focus on
learning like psychology, cognitive science, and psychobiology have revealed
information which have had significant effects on teaching and learning. As
parents and teachers, we should study the research and not be charmed by the
lure of technology to seemingly make everything better.
Limiting the use of technology is a responsibility of adults. It can be a
wonderful tool for learning for all of us, but it can also have its
Child development must be nurtured and protected. Too much time with
technology can be harmful to the child as a learner and as a developing adult.