Matthew, aged thirteen, started complaining of headaches when he was studying or watched the television for too long. He went to get his eyes checked by the doctor and learnt that his eyesight had decreased…
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On taking Matthew’s history, the doctor learnt that Matthew has been in the habit of spending more than 7 hours watching the television and playing video games on the computer for the past 9 years or so. Matthew told, “I started gaining weight quickly from a very young age, and this, along with my poor academic performance, made me an easy target for bullies. I found it difficult to settle in school and to make friends. Excess playing of fighting games often got me into fights with the bullies of the class, often believing that I would be able to imitate the kung fu moves of my favourite video game character. With such a discouraging environment at school, my only resort was my mum’s computer and the television- something that has been my pastime as far as I can remember.” Matthew’s example shows a more deep-rooted problem. Years of computer and television use have taken their toll on him. This gives rise to the question that is use of technology justified. Use of technology is common both at homes and schools. The primary element that the schools instil in children through the use of technology is the ability to adapt to change. For this purpose, technology has emerged as a saviour, affecting both the efficiency of pedagogical tools and the individualization of education for the students. However, the varied use of technology in various fields has led to negative impacts too- a topic that is the hotbed of debate for the past few years. The government and the media have strongly been favouring the use of technology in education. Most educationists are of the perspective that learning computer skills at an early age result in better performance in the workplace. However these claims are challenged by skeptics who believe that technology has little contribution towards the enhancement of learning and tends to affect not only the minds but also the bodies of the children. It impacts the imagination of children and initiates a process of degenerative changes in the body. Also, increased use of technology takes time away for physical activities. According to Jane Healy, computers are not an essential part of the lives of young children and have a deleterious effect on the motivation and imaginations of the children. She argues that institutions should wait for children to attain the age of 7 before exposing them to computer use. Despite the benefits technology provides, such as being an interactive interface for learning, use of non-technological ways of learning should be encouraged for young children in schools. Excess use of technology adversely affects the bodies and imaginations of the children; thereby making it a viable solution to discourage the use of technology for children below the age of 7 and use non-technologies based methods to learn basic knowledge such as promoting play, using pedagogical tools to actively engage children in physical activities and mobilizing the media to promote reduced use of technology in schools for children aged less than 7. In the early years of life, the child is in the process of learning and writing. He is undergoing a series of linguistic and verbal changes with the process of identifying letters, analyzing them and their sounds and then spelling them out being achieved by the age of 7. What would happen if this complex process is disrupted at some point by use of technological means, interfering with the natural order of learning. If a child is exposed to the computers even before they are able to write, it may have significant effects of his health and development. It is seen that gaming is the most popular use of computers for children aged
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