Kids and Tech: The Pros and Cons

The average teen spends six to eight hours a day looking at screens’ whether it is their iPhone, tablet or television, but is all that technology bad?

As this group of sixth graders shuffles into their first period class, it looks like a regular day in language arts. However these students each have a school supply absent from when you or I were in middle school.

“Technology in my classroom has gone from once or twice a month to everyday full classroom implementation in all of my classes,” said Sixth Grade Instructor at Fischer Middle School, Jaime Pardo.

Recently both school Districts 203 and 204 have piloted programs to fit each student with a Chromebook to be used in the classroom and for homework outside of class.

Something experts say have both positives and negatives that come along with it.

“There’s a lot of enhanced critical thinking, they have to follow directions, and they have to problem solve, conflict resolution. So from a cognitive standpoint the educational things can be very beneficial in that way,” said Sara Gibson, a local Therapist.

However the overuse of technology both in the classroom and at home leads to a decline socially.

“It is isolating kids, they’re not getting out and playing outside which is really important for their emotional growth. They’re not learning social skills so they are becoming more awkward in social settings we’re noticing low self-esteem, and more anxiety. So it is really important to limit the amount of time kids are playing the games,” Gibson said.

Experts recommend limiting your child’s screen time to one to two hours a day, which seems impossible given the amount of screen time students are getting in class alone.

It’s an issue teachers like Mrs. Pardo try to address by alternating the use of technology with traditional teaching methods.

“Sometimes we’ll say let’s close the Chromebooks and talk to our partners. We still use Kalgan Structures, which is cooperative learning and we are constantly pulling that in and still do stand up and walk around and things like that. They also have book clubs so they are reading real books in their hands, we aren’t taking that away,” she said.

To help cut down on technology at home, Gibson recommends leading by example and implementing rules.

“It is really important to have strict boundaries and not give in because that’s when you see start to see an addiction. When kids are becoming so emotional when they are not allowed to have their technology that when I encourage to be more aware because then we are seeing addiction personalities,” she said.

Experts also recommend that both kids and adults not use technology an hour or two before bed to help you sleep better. The blue light from a phone increases your brain’s activity.

Naperville News 17’s Natalie Vitale Reports.

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