With the rapid development of technology, electrical devices such as mobile phone, computer and E-book become an essential part of people’s life. While some people think technology makes life much easier, others would say, “The life was more simple when Apple and Blackberry were just fruits.” Is technology good or bad? For years, many researchers and educators have struggled with the question and put much effort to study it.
Kids in America will be an important group to study on this question. According to report by Common Sense Media, children at age 8 and younger spent about 15 minutes a day staring at a mobile screen in 2013 and now they spend 48 minutes a day. Another Report released recently is also showing that 42% of children 8 and younger now have their own tablet devices, a steep increase from 7% four years ago and less than 1% in 2011. The doubled screen times of children become a big concern of their parents to approve the advantage of technology. Parents believe that technology is a serious distraction to kids. It would have negative impact on development of children’s language skills and logical thinking abilities, and through the increased technology usage, children may learn impolite behaviors and apply them to the real life. Also, from physical health perspective, many researches conclude, “Being overly connected with technology devices, people can have psychological issues such as anxiety disorder, narcissism, and even depression. Moreover, it may also cause serious physical problems, such as the damage of optic and auditory system.”
However, is that all? Can people conclude that technology is bad at all through overall reports? The answer is obvious.
Technology provides people, especially children, opportunity to learn efficiently. It improves working and learning efficiency. According to a recent study called Evaluation of Evidence-Based Practices in Online Learning: A Meta-Analysis and Review of Online Learning Studies, students who took all or part of their courses online performed better than those who took their courses only through face-to-face instruction. The report concludes that applying technology to general study helps people to learn effectively by enabling them to find high quality resources and courses online in a short amount of time. Online, people are able to choose their own interested field and customize special courses to study, which is a really good way to stimulate people’s desire to study and allow people to pay fully attention on those courses. Students are not limited by what’s offered in school.
Technology promotes cognitive skills as well. Lucy Wurtz, an administrator at the Waldorf School —— a private K-12 school in North America designed to “connect children to nature” and “ignite passion for lifelong learning” —— in Los Altos, Calif., once says that, “You could say some computer games develop creativity, but I don’t see any benefit.” She rejects the benefits of technology by stating that computer games do not have a real educational value. However, a recent study by Stanford Research Institute (SRI), an American nonprofit institute, finds that some intellectual games such as Samororst (solving puzzles) had a positive impact on children learning skills. In the experiment, children who played the game did 12% better on logical tests than those who did not. And evidence offered at MIT’s Education Arcade indicates that games applied with history story could pique students’ interest in history and showed a clearly grades improvement in the quality of their history-class report, proving a directly positive relationship between games and cognitive skills.
By engaging in computer games, kids not only can develop their cognitive skills, but also can expand their creativity. Technology gives children a free space to create different artistic works. By watching animations or various colorful pictures online, children can easily access to the artistic world and employ their imagination to come up to different interest and creative ideas. It’s another big part improvement of learning ability.
As many people concern that access to technology such as Facebook and Twitter is dangerous from psychological perspective, social media such as above actually teaches people to be positive and independent. By communicating to each other on social networking sites, people are able to develop their social circle by chatting different people online. They can share their personal stories and experiences with each other without knowing true identities, which is much safer and comfortable for people themselves. Also, people can express their ideas freely online. Through the process of talking and listening, people are able to learn themselves well, leading them to be more confidence and independent in thinking. This way of technology using would be an extremely benefit for people who do not want to open themselves to others in the real life; technology opens a palace belong them.
More importantly, Technology keeps people competitive in the future job markets. Because of the widespread use of technology in today’s society, it’s important for people to use technology. As principal of Spencer Tech —— a public school in one of Chicago’s lower income neighborhoods —— Shawn Jackson says, “If you look at applying for college or a job, that’s on the computer.” It’s a common skill for all of competitive people by society now. “If we’re not exposing our students to this stuff early,” Jackson continues, “they are going to be left behind.” In the future job market, people who know how to use technology, who stick with technology would definitely have more good opportunities than those who do not know how to apply in real life. So, technology can lead people’s life a different path in job performance.
It’s hard to answer that technology is good or bad. Technology truly can be a bad tool if people could not manage it well. It may become a distraction, may cause some damages to human health. But from another perspective, technology improves learning and working efficiency, promotes cognitive skills, inspires creativity, and shapes positive and independent characters. As living in the world of technology, overall, people definitely would enjoy in advantages brought by technology rather than receive negative influence of it.