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The effects of technology on childhood: good or bad?

Art by Jessica Lau

How differently have people grown in this generation than the last, and how much has technology played a role in this? If there are vastly different changes, are they good things, or are they bad things? During the 21st century, technology has greatly changed, with many or most people having a cell phone in their pocket at all times. With these things in mind, what effects does technology have on this generation’s childhood?

The world is full of technology now. A smartphone in a pocket, or a GPS integrated into a car is a common occurrence. But how different is the world now; how many children would rather play outside than watch TV or play video games? I asked Mathew Templo, an eighth-grader when he first received his first phone or computer. “Maybe around three or four years old. I got it early,” he said. He also uses his computer and phone, “probably around two hours a day. Maybe two hours of homework.” These quotes show just how much technology this younger generation uses these days. Is it good or bad though? “More technology would help if it is used the right way,” said Mathew. What is the right way, and are we using it correctly?

Society in the previous generation was much different than it is now. What did the children and teens of the previous generation do while growing up? “I was pretty much playing outside football, basketball with my brothers. I grew up in a very sports-heavy family, so we would always be watching softball, basketball, and baseball. A little fun fact, we're huge Laker fans, and my room was once painted purple with yellow trim,” Mr. Torres said.

The previous generation of children and teens definitely spent less of their time on computers. And even if they had access to more computers, “the personal computer was just barely getting popular. I grew up, I would say, when I was in high school and late early 2000s. By then, barely, the Internet was really becoming popular. Google was just getting popular.” I asked Mr. Torres if he thought that more or less technology would be a good thing, to which he responds, “I think right now we need to find a balance because I'm sure a lot of people feel like we've been using a lot of technology at home with zooming and connecting here and now or back on campus. And we've gotten accustomed to using computers. But maybe we need to do some things the old-fashioned way with pen and paper and just to kind of mix it up because even myself if I'm on the computer 24 hours, I get burned out so I need to have breaks. I feel like this is a good time for our students to have a break and interact socially in person and then utilize old skills because we forget right too.”

With these responses in mind, which are better, and does technology make growing up easier? Does it pose a positive or negative effect on the world? Why? “It definitely plays a positive effect on society because it allows us to connect to each other. Like, for example, when we had the pandemic,Mr. Torres says. The world is full of technology, computers everywhere. Whether we like it or not, technology is out there. Maybe though, it would be better for technology to be limited and more time to be spent outside, not staring into a screen.

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