Thursday, February 19, 2015

Technology and Our Young - Is It Harmful?

I'm sure many of you have read headlines that read something like this, "Ban iPhones from Young Children" or "Too Much Screen Time is Harmful to Your Child".  I have seen these as well, and would like to present to you the following excerpt:  

Despite the widespread availability of technology, a digital divide remains. Fewer than half of children from low-income families (less than $30,000 a year) have access to computers, compared to more than 90% of those from higher-income families (more than $75,000 a year). An “app gap” also exists. More than half of children from higher income families regularly use hand-held mobile devices; just 22% from lower-income families have done so (Rideout, 2011). Lack of technological opportunity is one more potential contributor to the achievement gap, leaving large numbers of children unprepared for success (NAEYC & Fred Rogers Center on Early Learning and Children’s Media, 2012)....  
Although research on the effects and benefits of mobile digital media is limited, studies on the use of desk-top computers demonstrate that they can be highly effective in promoting children’s learning as long as software is developmentally appropriate and children are in control (NRC, 2009; Sarama & Clements, 2002, 2004). Unlike adults, who tend to work at computers in isolation, preschool and primary grade children willingly seek peer involvement and conversation if the software is engaging and interactive. Placing two seats in front of a computer encourages interaction, as does locating it in the classroom rather than in a separate computer laboratory... 
...Although research on the harmful effects of passive television-viewing is prevalent, decades of evidence exists demonstrating the educational benefits of programs such as Sesame Street and Super Why! (Linebarger, McMenamin, & Wainwright, no date; Wainwright, 2006)... 
...Despite continuing controversy, NAEYC and the Fred Rogers Center for Early Learning and Children’s Media (2012) take the position that “technology and interactive media are learning tools that, when used in intentional and developmentally appropriate ways and in conjunction with other traditional tools and materials, can support the development and learning of young children” (p. 1). (This statement focuses on interactive media, not television.)
("Effective Practices in Early Childhood Education, Building a Foundation" Second Edition by Sue Bredekamp, pages 301-302; my emphasis)

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