Reidentifying Technology’s Role in the Lives of Children


Claudia Sindoni Bonilla, Staff Writer

The third grader is picked up from school. Her mother drives her home. She hurriedly eats dinner and does her homework and then sits down to her favorite TV show: The Office. She spends the next three hours watching more TV, occasionally joined by her busy parents and older sisters, until her bedtime at 9:30. 

Replace the word “TV” with “iPad” or “tablet” to suit the more tech savvy family, and herein lies the reality for the average American. According to websites, Adventist Health and Good Parent, by the age of 7, a child will have spent more hours watching TV than conversing with his or her father, and by the age of 18, more hours than at school. 

The solution may seem simple: just remove the electronics! But it is not as easily applied to the average American family’s busy schedule as one would think. “Although I would love to spend  more time with my daughter and not leave her in front of the TV or other electronics for as long and as frequently as I do, there simply aren’t enough hours in the day—between work, house chores, and extracurriculars—to always do that,” said one Tenafly parent, who asked to remain anonymous.  Elementary schoolers from Stillman school indicated they understood that their “mommy and daddy are busy.”

The same elementary students insist that the time spent on electronics isn’t always negative, however, referencing programs such as Cool Math Games, Mathisfun, and Prodigy that simultaneously use technology to entertain and help them “practice math skills.” Research conducted and published by Stanford University affirms the latter statement, concluding that “technology can provide real-time support and encouragement to students…and improve learning.” 

Perhaps, as long as busy schedules continue to consume parents’ weekday life, children’s prolonged and frequent use of technology may not be all that bad. Research cited by Forbes Magazine claims that children are learning just as, if not more, efficiently this way than by traditional methods, such as in-school learning or parental help because this method is enjoyable to them. For example, they learn through playing games and doing other fun activities.

So, next time you read about the alarming hours children spend on technology, think again. The time children spend on technology may not only be good for them, but for busy parents who may benefit from the extra help as well.