gmhTODAY 19 gmhToday April May 2018 - Page 51

Technology and Kids’ Maturity KIDS THESE DAYS! IT SEEMS LIKE THEY’RE GROWING UP FASTER THAN WE DID WHEN WE WERE THEIR AGE. WHILE THERE ARE MANY REASONS FOR THIS, SUCH AS INCREASED ACADEMIC DEMANDS, THE MEDIA TARGETING YOUNGER AGE GROUPS, AND ABSENTEE PARENTS, THE MAIN CULPRIT APPEARS TO BE TECHNOLOGY; MORE SPECIFICALLY, THE INTERNET AND SOCIAL MEDIA. BUT WHAT WE OFTEN OVERLOOK IS THAT BEING MORE ADEPT WITH TECHNOLOGY DOESN’T NECESSARILY EQUATE TO “GROWING UP.” THE INFLUENCE TECHNOLOGY HAS ON OUR CHILDREN’S MATURITY IS FAR MORE COMPLICATED THAN THAT. U sually, we view maturity as something positive that is part of their brains responsible for impulse control is still not often measured by milestones. When our kids learn fully developed, they’re rarely able to stop and think about to walk or learn to dress themselves, they are displaying physical maturity. Getting along with others and harmful situations, like kids sending each other nude selfies the potential consequences of their actions. This can result in engaging in cooperative play is a mark of social maturity. and getting bullied or shamed because of it, engaging in When kids start to understand abstract concepts and consequences, they’re becoming more intellectually mature, and to get views on social media. sexual behaviors, or hurting other people or animals in order when they’re able to acknowledge mistakes and recognize Empathy, another aspect of emotional maturity, also when they’ve done something wrong, they’re honing their suffers. The act of doing extreme things in order to garner moral maturity. All of these different facets of maturity take more likes and views means that kids are exposed to a lot time to develop, which brings us back to technology’s role. more shocking material than their parents were as kids. This Before they leave for college, children will have spent an leads to a general desensitization, making kids more callous average of over 10,000 hours playing video games, sent and to the plight of others. Ironically enough, constantly being received over 200,000 emails and instant messages, and spent “plugged in” to social platforms and the internet also leads to over 10,000 hours talking and texting on cell phones. Kids, more social isolation. Kids would rather look at their devices in general, are being given smartphones and social media than talk to a real human being. And since empathy is best accounts at younger and younger ages. All of this tech use acquired through human touch, face-to-face interaction, lends itself well to the aspects of maturity that are already and communication through verbal and non-verbal cues, mostly developed, most notably social maturity. Texting and their ability to empathize withers. Unfortunately, as empathy online chatting gives kids more of a chance to practice their declines, narcissism often rises in its place. communication skills and understand others. Access to the At the end of the day, however, it’s important to note that internet also helps with a child’s intellectual maturity by technology is just a tool. The effects that it has on a child’s providing answers to any questions that might arise during maturity, positive or negative, all depends on the user and the their day, such as “why is the sky blue?” or “what is this bug?” user’s support network. Assess your child’s personal maturity There are also numerous educational apps and tools to help levels and grant tech privileges accordingly. Most importantly, them with projects and school work. But while the internet take an active interest in the things that they are into. The and social media boost these types of maturity, other more effort you put into knowing what your child’s online kinds that are still budding, in areas such as emotional interests are and why, the more likely you are to be the voice maturity, suffer. of reason for them when they encounter unpleasant things. Emotional maturity, or emotional intelligence, is the ability This goes a long way towards helping your kids shape their to recognize and understand emotions in yourself, as well as own moral compass. in others, and use this awareness to manage your behavior and your relationships. This self-awareness usually stems Sources: from the ability to recognize yourself as an individual separate Ramasubbu, Suren, “Does Technology Impact a Child’s from your environment and other individuals, which is the Emotional Intelligence?”, Huffpost, huffi ngtonpost.com opposite of social media experiences. Having any kind of “Maturity Levels,” The Center for Parenting Education, online presence, be it Instagram, Twitter, or Tumblr, is all centerforparentingeducation.org about garnering approval or disapproval from others. A lot of likes on a post creates an ego boost and a lot of dislikes leads Article Brought to discouragement. Young kids, who are still at that stage To You By: where they want to be liked by everyone, can easily lose sight of their internal identity or sense of self-approval and base all of their self-worth on the approval of their peers. They wind 855 Moro Drive up engaging in the more risky behaviors attributed to teens Gilroy in order to get that attention and approval; and because the gokids.org Estrella Family Services • Go Kids, Inc • GILROY • MORGAN HILL • SAN MARTIN APRIL/MAY 2018 gmhtoday.com 51 Technology and Kids’ Maturity KIDS THESE DAYS! IT SEEMS LIKE THEY’RE GROWING UP FASTER THAN WE DID WHEN WE WERE THEIR AGE. WHILE THERE ARE MANY REASONS FOR THIS, SUCH AS INCREASED ACADEMIC DEMANDS, THE MEDIA TARGETING YOUNGER AGE GROUPS, AND ABSENTEE PARENTS, THE MAIN CULPRIT APPEARS TO BE TECHNOLOGY; MORE SPECIFICALLY, THE INTERNET AND SOCIAL MEDIA. BUT WHAT WE OFTEN OVERLOOK IS THAT BEING MORE ADEPT WITH TECHNOLOGY DOESN’T NECESSARILY EQUATE TO “GROWING UP.” THE INFLUENCE TECHNOLOGY HAS ON OUR CHILDREN’S MATURITY IS FAR MORE COMPLICATED THAN THAT. Sources: Ramasubbu, Suren, “Does Technology Impact a Child’s Emotional Intelligence?”, Huffpost, huffi ngtonpost.com “Maturity Levels,” The Center for Parenting Education, centerforparentingeducation.org d o Ki s, I G APRIL/MAY 2018 Fa Article Brought To You By: GILROY • MORGAN HILL • SAN MARTIN part of their brains responsible for impulse control is still not fully developed, they’re rarely able to stop and think about the potential consequences of their actions. This can result in harmful situations, like kids sending each other nude selfies and getting bullied or shamed because of it, engaging in sexual behaviors, or hurting other people or animals in order to get views on social media. Empathy, another aspect of emotional maturity, also suffers. The act of doing extreme things in order to garner more likes and views means that kids are exposed to a lot more shocking material than their parents were as kids. This leads to a general desensitization, making kids more callous to the plight of others. Ironically enough, constantly being “plugged in” to social platforms and the internet also leads to more social isolation. Kids would rather look at their devices than talk to a real human being. And since empathy is best acquired through human touch, face-to-face interaction, and communication through verbal and non-verbal cues, their ability to empathize withers. Unfortunately, as empathy declines, narcissism often rises in its place. At the end of the day, however, it’s important to note that technology is just a tool. The effects that it has on a child’s maturity, positive or negative, all depends on the user and the user’s support network. Assess your child’s personal maturity levels and grant tech privileges accordingly. 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