Technology During Lockdown
by Betty Booth-Walters
(9 years old)
How many times have your parents moaned to you about having too much screen time? Is there any proof that the screen is bad for your health? Is it addictive?
I’m going to be focusing on the pros and cons of tech in lockdown. Some people say it’s very helpful and some say that it’s addictive and can badly damage your posture and eye sight. To address this I interview my mum (to get a parent’s view), an 81-year old man who lives alone and a teacher, and give my own honest thoughts, feelings and opinions.
So, first, what about your parent’s new-found hobby of yelling at you for half an hour a day to “get off that screen”? Is screen time bad for your physical health and mental development? My mum shares her thoughts on the subject:
“My concerns are largely with the addictive nature of devices like iPhones, video games and sites like YouTube. I am acutely aware that my children’s childhood is massively different to my own, it’s one dominated by tech. I welcome the educational nature of it, it’s opened up all kinds of knowledge on the world.
“But at a young age you need to create good habits, you need real skills, physical fitness and the ability to occupy and entertain yourself. I worry that if computers replace all this, you’re setting them up for a lifetime of inactivity. When any device is taken away, the children seem not to know what to do with themselves, or they get irritable and lazy! But, equally, when my children use it for creative things like animation, I welcome it!” (Emily Booth, mum)
But are my mum’s concerns relevant or real? Let’s see what the scientists say!…
“Too much screen time can result in digital eyestrain… Headaches, fatigue, loss of focus, and head and neck pain are other threats.” (healthline.com)
Child behaviour expert, Dr Jennifer Cross, says, “Excessive screen time may inhibit a child’s ability to observe and experience the typical everyday activities they need to engage with in order to learn about the world.”
So, the parents are right, too much screen time can damage your eyes and affect behaviour! But, technology is an important part of daily life: you are using it right now to read this brilliant newspaper that’s now only online!
Seeing your friends for real is much better than talking to a screen, but apps like Zoom, Houseparty and FaceTime have really been helpful during lockdown
I think that humans are sociable animals, we are not meant to stay alone at home. Isolation can make you feel lonely. Like one of my friends, Ken Brooks, who says that tech has got him through lockdown because he has learnt to use Zoom to share his amazing knowledge of the world. Seeing your friends for real is much better than talking to a screen, but apps like Zoom, Houseparty and FaceTime have really been helpful during lockdown.
How about using tech in classrooms? “I’ve really loved being able to meet with children every day and see their faces, whilst having a chat and sharing their learning,” my teacher said. I asked if maths computer games are effective? “As long as the games are at an appropriate level. It’s important that the children have fun whilst they learn too!”
A Head Teacher made a good point: “Teachers, parents and pupils have adapted extremely well and are now using technology with ever-increasing thought and skill. We have advanced our use of technology much further than we might have done otherwise. It has been incredibly rewarding for the school to see its community continue to connect, grow and strengthen with our joint endeavours in this way.”
So, technology has played a huge part in keeping schools up and running and maintaining education in a very difficult time when parents have had to become teachers.
So how do I feel and what happens to our use of tech after lockdown?
I think tech has really helped people like Ken and schools, but I think that after lockdown we should start seeing people and maybe not use tech so much, but I think that it will be hard to do. The thing is that I secretly love tech: I have learnt PowerPoint and Zoom and I have also had all my piano lessons on Zoom, but lessons face to face with my teacher, Bev, are definitely better!
I will now turn to Steve Jobs, the founder of Apple, for my final quote…
“Technology is nothing. What’s important is that you have a faith in people, that they’re basically good and smart, and if you give them tools, they’ll do wonderful things with them.”
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