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Exploring The Harmful Impact of Technology on Children: 4 Ways You Can Help

by MercyWorks on February 29, 2024

In today's tech-driven world, it's important to acknowledge how technology affects our children's health. While technology can be beneficial when used responsibly, we must also be aware of its potential harm. With this awareness, we can empower children to navigate the digital world wisely, using technology as a powerful tool used for good and the glory of God. 

Is Technology Helpful or Harmful for Kids?

Technology has many benefits, such as being a valuable tool for education and building meaningful connections. However, excessive use can pose risks for children, including developmental delays, cyberbullying, mental health issues, and social isolation. 

Balancing the positive aspects of technology with efforts to minimize potential harms is essential for promoting healthy and holistic child development. As advocates for children, it is our responsibility to guide them in navigating the digital world, encouraging a balanced relationship with technology while also being mindful of its negative impacts

The Negative Impacts of Technology on Children

When not properly ordered, technology can have an array of negative impacts on children. Here are seven of the most prominent adverse effects excessive technology use can have on children. 

Delays Early Childhood Development

Research indicates that prolonged screen exposure in early childhood can impede crucial cognitive, language, creative, and motor skills development. The World Health Organization advises against screen exposure for children under two and suggests limiting screen time to no more than an hour a day for those under five. By offering children ample offline opportunities for play and learning, we create an environment where they can thrive during these important developmental years.

Interferes with Social Skills Development

Kids develop crucial communication and collaboration skills through play and interaction. However, technology can impede these skills by offering shallow online conversations that lack depth and fail to teach social cues like body language and facial expressions. Comparing their lives to idealized online portrayals on social media can leave children feeling isolated. Encouraging face-to-face interactions and offline play helps children build meaningful relationships.

Impedes Education

While technology can be a valuable educational tool, over-reliance on screens can negatively impact academic performance. Increased screen time can lead to a decline in executive functioning and a decrease in focus, both in and outside the classroom. Overuse of technology can also create behavior and self-regulation challenges, hindering a child's ability to learn effectively. By finding a balance between technology use and other educational activities, we can ensure children achieve their full potential in the classroom.

Stunts Emotional Growth

Excessive use of technology can hinder kids' emotional growth, making it difficult for them to understand and manage their feelings. The quick-fix nature of technology can also make handling frustration a challenge. To support emotional development, it's important to promote emotional awareness and create a space for children to express and process their feelings in the appropriate way.

Compromises Mental Health

Today's youth experience higher levels of anxiety, depression, and even thoughts of self-harm. Studies indicate a strong connection between spending too much time on screens and these mental health issues. To safeguard our children's well-being, it's crucial to encourage moderate technology use and provide chances for them to disconnect and participate in other activities.

Promotes Cyberbullying

The rise of technology has brought with it a surge in cyberbullying. The prevalence of it is staggering: at least one-third of middle and high school students have experienced cyberbullying. This persistent threat can have severe consequences for victims, both emotionally and physically. By teaching children about online safety, fostering open lines of communication, and monitoring their online activities, we can help protect them from the dangers of cyberbullying.

Increases Risk of Sexual Exploitation and Solicitation

As the internet links people globally, it also tragically serves as a platform for sexual crimes against children. Cases of sexual exploitation and solicitation are disturbingly on the rise, with suspected child sexual exploitation reports increasing by 35% from 2020 to 2021. To protect our children, it's essential to educate them about internet safety, assist in setting clear boundaries, and maintain open discussions about appropriate online behavior, safeguarding their innocence and ensuring emotional and physical safety.

Tips to Help Children Use Technology for Good

Acknowledging the potential risks of technology enables us to guide kids toward a healthy balance. Here are some tips to help young people develop a positive and productive relationship with technology, empowering them to use it responsibly. 

  1. Model Responsible Technology Usage: Demonstrate responsible technology use by following the screen time boundaries and showcasing a healthy balance between online and offline activities.

  2. Educate About Safety on the Internet: Teach children about internet safety, including the importance of privacy, recognizing and avoiding online threats, and the potential consequences of sharing personal information.

  3. Promote Digital Media Literacy: Foster digital literacy by teaching children how to evaluate online information, differentiate between reliable and unreliable sources, and understand the implications of their digital footprint.

  4. Stay Informed and Communicate: Stay informed about the latest trends and technologies, regularly communicate with children about their online experiences, and above, all, create an open and supportive environment for discussion.

Turning to Prayer for Protection in the Digital Age

In addition to understanding the risks and encouraging a balanced relationship with technology, we can support children in today's tech-driven world through prayer. Discover more about how our mission at MercyWorks promotes the physical, emotional, and mental well-being of children globally. 

To intercede for the well-being of youth worldwide, please join us in praying the St. John Bosco Novena or the St. Maria Goretti Novena for an end to child exploitation online.

Join us in Prayer



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