As we already know, the rate of technological advancement has increased substantially in the last ten years. The iPhone 5S and iPhone 5C were released in mid-October. The PS4 and Xbox One game systems are to be released within a week of each other this fall. We no longer have to wait very long for new versions of popular companies’ devices. In fact, we have almost become expectant and impatient of these new installments. This generation operates devices that elder generations would have never thought possible. Therefore, it is important to notice the effect technology has on the development of this generation of children’s academic and social skills: specifically the effect that tablets have on children. Tablets are positive innovations that are an advantage to children’s learning processes if monitored to avoid negative side effects.
In a recent commercial for Dish Network, a well-known satellite TV provider, there were three men shown hovering around a tablet watching live news coverage of a robbery ring while the actual robberies on the news were taking place around them. Eventually, one of the robbers snatched the tablet from the men as they continued to stare down at the area where the tablet had been. This is an example of what many parents wish to avoid in weaning their children into the world of technology use. The men did not realize the events happening around them because they were so absorbed in the media they were watching on their tablet. It is a possibility that children without regulated tablet use could become less sensitive to stimuli, such as a calling voice. Children can develop the ability to “tune out” parents when asked to do something if always attached closely to the screen. Much like teenagers who exhibit selective hearing when on their cell phones, children will unintentionally not hear a voice or noise because their ears are more trained on sounds to listen for: the ding of a text message, the tone of a digital game concluding, and the snap of the built-in camera taking a photo.
Children will be able to grow into similar behavioral traits of the previous generation with all the technology available to them. Hanna Rosin restated the explanation of the term coined by education and technology writer Mark Prensky: “[He] popularized the term digital natives to describe the first generations of children growing up fluent in the language of computers, video games, and other technologies. (The rest of us are digital immigrants, struggling to understand.) This term took on a whole new significance in April 2010, when the iPad was released.” The release of the iPad opened up a new door to younger children who could not touch the smaller smart phone screens without opening an app or function they did not intend to. It also raised debate among parents on how to limit the usage of the device but still promote learning.
Tablets may become another barrier that will wedge between the generations as they struggle to understand one...