Positive and Negative Technology Impacts on Kids - Internet Safety Tips

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Last Update Date: 01 September 2020

Definition of Technology

Technology is the knowledge, skills, methods and techniques required to produce tools and equipment for people's needs. Almost none of us can imagine life without it. Based on this definition, we may think that we should only focus on the advantages of technology; however, in case of unconscious use, we can very well face its negative effects!

technology definition for kids

Effects of Technology on Children

When we speak of unconscious use of technology, children are the first ones that come to mind. If an adult uses technology in a harmful way, we can call it a “choice” instead of “unconsciousness”. But it’s different for children because they are generally not aware of the possible negative impacts of technology, which are caused by its improper use.

For this reason, we want to give some reminders for adults about the possible positive and negative aspects of technology.

Here are some questions that preoccupy parents’ minds: How does technology work for kids, is technology good or bad for kids, how to stay safe on the internet for kids?

The answers are pretty simple. Until a certain age, technology is all about cell phones, tablets, and computers. So, by applying the internet safety tips for kids that we’ll share with you later on and by choosing the right applications and websites, you will be able to provide internet safety for kids.

But first, let's look into the positive effects of technology on kids that you can benefit from and the negative effects of technology on children's health and development that you should avoid.

Positive Effects

Increase in IQ

American Cornell University Tomoe Kanaya conducted scientific research in nine schools among members of different races and social groups. According to this study, conducted on approximately 9,000 students, the IQ scores of the current generation are higher than the previous generation. Taking into account the Flynn effect, the results do not change, although every new IQ test is made more difficult compared to the previous ones.

Experts link this effect directly to technology. The increase in the number of technological products in children's lives and consequently the increased stimuli serve as exercises to enable children to solve more complex problems. The positive effects of technology on child development such as increased IQ and improved learning skills are only some of the several benefits that come with the correct use of technology.

“The more subjects a child in a fast learning process gets interested in or has experience with, the more his/her IQ level increases” - psychologist Ferahim Yeşilyurt.

Of course, all these benefits are possible with a conscious use of technology. On the other hand, it should be kept in mind that an excess of stimuli leads to distraction. The duty of ensuring internet safety for kids is mainly on the parents.

In summary: Technology is recommended for children if the daily use of devices is under control. Otherwise, it can be harmful. Read more to learn about our internet safety tips for kids.

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positive effects of technology on child development

Mental Skill Development with Educational Contents

Brain exercises for children are limited to the tools and equipment they have, thus they usually have to do the same exercises over and over.

But there are many more opportunities now!

The positive effects of technology on early childhood education can be very beneficial. Educational and instructional practices, such as games and applications that improve cognitive skills, are among these benefits.

Memory games for children who want to improve their memory, attention games for children who want to improve their attention, visual games for children who want to improve their visual skills and much more are at your fingertips today. Therefore, safe internet use for children can be useful with the right applications, allowing them to play brain games instead of car-racing games.

Applications that teach foreign languages, give advice on society and ethics, games and applications that offer practice in mathematical operations, and similar applications that give information through gamification, are always accessible for children.

Of course, parental supervision plays an important role in selected applications. Children may not foresee some risks. We should not forget to guide children in recognizing which are useful and which are harmful in order to benefit from only the positive effects of technology on kids.

MentalUP has numerous intelligence games for children!

With MentalUP, which prepares a child-specific daily exercise plan in attention, memory, logic, visual, and verbal areas, children develop all these skills with fun games. You can easily access MentalUP and use it in your home.

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Note: The positive effects on children were observed and certified as a pedagogical product by the Mental Health Association.

effects of technology on child development

Learning Enhancement

“Learning how to learn” is a very important skill. Thanks to the Internet, there is a library with an infinite number of books in every house. Children can do extensive research on the subjects they wonder about.

In this way, they are learning to access information, do research and learn, and safe internet use for children comes with many such benefits.

Problem Solving Skills

Is technology good or bad for kids? Visual design programs, technical drawing programs, coding programs and similar design tools improve children's creativity. So it's not a matter of good or bad - it’s all about how, when, and what you use.

Creative children are successful in adapting to the changing world. Likewise, they are successful in creating new solutions to new emerging problems. Enhancing problem-solving skills in childhood will allow them to overcome obstacles easier in the future.

Parental Control in Emergency Situations

Technology for kids can sometimes be a lifesaver for your child and society. Your children should be able to reach you in case of an emergency, even if they are not old enough to use a mobile phone. Simple mobile devices like smartwatches are produced to meet this need in a healthy way.

Smartwatches have various features, and they are cool gifts for holidays. For example, you can set the numbers that your child can call. Likewise, you can determine which numbers your child can receive calls from. In this way, you can eliminate the risk of your child communicating with people he/she does not know.

In schools, children are taught the numbers they should call in emergency situations. You can add the numbers of the ambulance and the fire services to their contact list.

Negative Effects

We’ve talked about the wonders technology can provide, so now it’s time to discuss the negative effects caused by misuse. The overuse of technology and unsupervised access to the Internet may cause many negative effects on children's social skills, as well as their mental and physical development.

negative effects of technology on children

Lower Attention Span

Spending too much time on using the most common technological devices such as computers, smartphones and tablets, can cause distraction and concentration difficulties.

One of the negative effects of technology on children is that it affects their academic success.

As we mentioned at the very beginning, the reason for such problems is the extreme (unconscious) use of technology, not technology itself. It should not be forgotten that technological developments primarily aim to provide benefits for us. Using the right technology in the right amount is not harmful to anyone.

Misuse of technology can cause lack of focus, lower attention span, and learning disabilities in children. It is important to develop these skills with certified methods.

MentalUP is certified as a pedagogical product by the Mental Health Association and offers 100+ entertaining and educational games that can not only boost your child’s attention skills, but also improve verbal and visual intelligence along with many other skills.

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Minimized Social Interaction

The negative effects of technology on children's social skills usually appear when the child plays too many games on a computer because they become disconnected from real life. The child, who doesn’t communicate, interact and share with his/her environment, will try to meet all these needs in a virtual environment.

For example, children can see the level they have achieved in a game. This level is an respectability element, and they can try to gain respectability in the vicinity of friends. However, these titles, which have no importance in real life, should be replaced by skills such as respect, love, sharing, and communication. A child should gain respect for these skills, so it’s important to praise them for these elements.

Increased Aggression

We all know that children have wider imagination than adults. Therefore, they are more vulnerable to the content they come across. Children can be exposed to frightening elements in videos, cartoons or games they watch and play (such as Momo). Children who are not capable of perceiving the difference between the real and the imaginary can experience unfavorable situations such as fear of being alone, nightmares, and not being able to go to the toilet alone.

Similarly, when they consume videos or games containing elements of violence, they can turn into angry children. Internet safety for kids should be provided to prevent unhealthy emotions from building up.

why is technology bad for kids

Health Problems

The negative impacts of technology on children are not only limited to emotional and mental disorders. The subject also has a physical dimension. The following disadvantages may occur due to watching TV for a long time, using a computer or a tablet in the wrong sitting position, etc.:

  • Vision problems
  • Neck pain
  • Distortion of the skeletal structure of the body
  • Arm, hand, finger numbness
  • Overstrain

In addition to these, we can also say that the physical development of a child who is immobilized through the use of technological devices, reduces the time that should be allocated to activities that support muscle development, such as walking, running, jumping, and playing physical games.

In addition, it is important to remember that children who do not burn enough calories in such cases are at risk of obesity. The negative effects of technology on children's health are hard to dismiss and it is important to keep a constant eye out to prevent them.

Reduced Sleep Quality

The negative effects of technology on children's health are not limited to the above-mentioned effects. Children, as well as adults, can suffer from sleeping disorders. Technology for kids should not only be supervised in terms of what they’re doing and where, but also as in terms of for how long and when.

The risk of developing an addiction is especially common among children and adults. How many times do you have to tell your child that it is bedtime before they actually go to their bed? Having the right measures of Internet safety for kids will prevent both lack of sleep (which has a tremendous negative effect on school, work and all kinds of daily life routines), and developing a gaming disorder.

To learn more on gaming disorders, read our article about symptoms and treatment of video game addiction.

negative effects of technology on children's social development

Cyberbullying, Abuse and Security Risks

We have often talked about “overuse“. There are some hidden threats among the negative effects of technology on children that are not related to overuse. For example, Cyberbullying! Considering that the technologies that children are interested in can usually be linked to the Internet, we need to be aware of the external threats.

In games and applications with online communication preferences, children can be exposed to bullying. They can be abused by malicious adults. Again, malicious adults can obtain personal information about the child or his family.

Internet Safety for Kids

The advantages of technology are hard to dismiss; however, it is important to take the necessary Internet safety measures to be able to benefit from those advantages without facing the negative impacts of technology.

Ways to Protect Children from Harmful Content on the Internet

The first step in protecting children from harmful Internet content is knowing what kind of content they are exposed to. We can predict and prevent risk situations effectively when we have information on the content.

Just like the warning on airplanes, we should first put the oxygen mask on ourselves and then help our child. We, therefore, recommend that you read the following instructions carefully.

What Kind of Harmful Content are Our Children Exposed to?

One of the most favorite content among children is games. It is possible to access games on websites and application stores. When we leave children alone, they can consume the content they want without filtering. The negative effects of technology on youth are usually caused by content we are not aware of.

Naturally, they apply to free services. Parents also make the same mistake from time to time!

The Risk in Free Content Providers Is:

The revenue source of free services (games, apps, etc.) is usually ads. With an ad click from an innocent car-racing game, kids can switch to zombie games. They may encounter advertising videos with violence and fear. They can switch to betting sites or obscene sites with a single click. Safe Internet use for children is harder to maintain when it is easy to wander to different sites.

Switching from a free and ad-containing application or website to another, which can be potentially harmful to children, is just a click away!

We just said, "Prohibition isn't the solution." Now we're talking about a significant risk! It means it’s the right time to share our solutions.

To meet your child's need for playing games in a healthy way, offer them games that provide the following specifications:

safe Internet practices for children

Which Specifications Do Reliable Online Games Have?

  • No Ads
  • No items of violence and fear
  • No non-exemplary behavior
  • No online communication with other players
  • Licensed if possible
  • Trustworthy in the public sphere
  • Presented by a known (trusted) publisher

Allow your child to play games with these and similar features for a specific period of time depending on the age.

Example of Reliable and Useful Games:

MentalUP Educational Brain Teaser Game

MentalUP has lots of different intelligence games. All of these games are actually exercises. Daily exercises take about 20 minutes to complete. In addition, MentalUP doesn't have any router ads to other websites, applications, or platforms!

MentalUP, which was examined by the Mental Health Association and observed to be beneficial for children, was given the pedagogical product certificate. MentalUP is also used by educational institutions as educational content.

You can meet your child's desire to play mobile games with useful apps such as MentalUP.

Try MentalUP!

Attention to Video Content

YouTube has beneficial content for children. However, there is also some content that children should never watch.

It's only a matter of time for children to get exposed to contents such as MOMO and the Blue Whale or cartoon characters that cut each other up.

Let's say - you have protected your child from dangerous games such as the Blue Whale. In the same way, do you protect your child also from the opportunists who want to gain an audience by using popular topics on YouTube? The matter of safety on the Internet for kids it’s not a one-time thing - it requires constant supervision.

For example:

We've looked at the video of a young YouTuber investigating internet content that could be harmful for children. In the video, the horrible MOMO was claimed to be a real character that lives and threatens people. We complained about this content, but there are thousands more like this and every day new ones are added.

The horrible MOMO legend is not real, but the danger is real! For more information, see:

About The Terrible MOMO

The claim that MOMO is a living character is quite illogical for adults, but children can believe it. Then mental problems begin to develop, along with symptoms such as fear of darkness, not being able to go to the toilet alone, etc.

We know that it is easy to say “Prevent your child from watching videos on the Internet!” But we also know that it is difficult to apply this. In the same way, we think of those parents who do not want to entirely ban the use of the Internet.

In this case, it is useful to suggest some alternative solutions.

Reliable Video Channels

If you want to allow your child to watch videos in a controlled way, here are some tricks you can follow:

For example, you can try “YouTube Kids” instead of YouTube. The content published in YouTube Kids is checked for children before publication. But don't forget to check what your child is watching. At the same time, don't forget to inform them about imaginary characters and tell them that these characters are not real. Teaching them what technology and the Internet are will help protect them from the negative effects on child development.

You can also check out the child videos app called “Jellies”. According to our research, there are no ads in this application. They only provide content that can be useful for children, which provides a better environment for safe Internet surfing for kids.

IMPORTANT REMINDER: While the YouTube Kids and Jellies applications seem to be reliable channels, after thorough research, we want to remind you that every parent should do this research himself/herself and that the responsibility lies with them.

To sum up, you can offer your child reliable video channels instead of prohibiting video viewing. Of course, age-appropriate daily use must be taken into account .

safe internet use for children

Attention to Applications with Online Communication!

In some online games, there is the possibility of correspondence with other players. It is equally dangerous for your child to talk to a stranger outside, in the real world, and online, in the virtual world.

The real danger here is that the child is not communicating with another child! The hidden danger we cannot ignore is that there might be a malicious adult on the other side.

Children's emotions and thoughts can be easily manipulated. A malicious adult can mislead your child by giving him various instructions.

Applications with online correspondence have many threats from the seizure of your personal information and - much worse - to child abuse! Sharing some of the tips on how children can stay safe on the Internet with your child will help them protect themselves from these vulnerabilities.

Age Limit for Social Networks

We have talked about the risks of applications with online communication. The same risks and even more are present on social networks.

Therefore, it is necessary to pay attention to the age when a child can start using social media as prescribed by ICTA. According to ICTA, children should not create a social media profile before the age of 13. Internet safety for kids and young adults starts with adhering to these limitations.

Practical Tips on Providing a Safe Internet Environment for Children

Here are 5 Internet safety tips for kids to minimize the negative effects of technology on young children. Let’s dive right in.

Always Communicate with Your Child

If you are not an authoritarian parent who shakes their finger all the time and if you do not suppress the child, he/she will be more open with you. If your child is comfortable enough to consult you when they feel something suspicious, you will be aware of the potential dangers. Internet safety for kids means kids should feel safe to share their problems and insecurities with you.

internet safety tips for kids

Tell Your Child the Difference Between Imagining and the Truth

Explain that he/she should not be afraid of the scary/ugly characters that may appear on the Internet and should close the content that he/she does not like. Raising awareness in this matter will reduce the negative emotional impact of technology on children.

Explain to Your Child That Some Applications are Not Suitable for Them

In normal life, they know that they should not talk to people that they do not know on the street, so explain that the internet is not different and that the applications that can be used to communicate with others in oral or written form are not suitable for them. If they do get contacted by someone online, remind them that they should share this with you without giving any response to the message. Sharing the information on how to stay safe on the Internet with your kids will prevent your child from forming unwanted contacts.

Use Family Filters and Security Software

Configure your browser's sensitive security settings. Filter fear-inciting, violent, obscene content. Taking these measures will reduce the negative effects of technology on children. Do not stop being in control after doing this. Be in constant contact with your child and wonder what they do on the Internet. You can ask them to teach you what they are doing online because children often enjoy teaching adults something and it’s the best way to unobtrusively monitor them.

Do Not Ignore the Wishes and Needs of Your Child

Determine daily use time instead of banning and provide reliable content for your children. Consider each new game you want to download. Select which application to follow when you want to watch a video. Provide the necessary research and reliable content.

So, is technology good or bad for kids? It simply depends on how you raise them and which contents you introduce them to.

MentalUP is a safe environment for your child. MentalUP is chosen by millions of families. With its age-appropriate content and 100+ beneficial games, you can offer your child a fun and educational time too!

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