How many hours a day would you say that your children spend using technology? While the above guesses might sound somewhat reasonable, they offer a far cry from the average amount of screen time a child devours.  According to a study from the Kaiser Family Foundation, children between eight and ten years of age spend more than seven hours per day utilizing technology. Before you jump up to grab that tablet out of your kiddo’s hand, it’s worth noting that some of that web surfing time takes place at school – not only at home. Many schools implement all sorts of multi-media into a student’s daily life. This could include time on tablets, computers, laptops, and the list goes on and on.

We can’t blame educators for including tech into the daily routine of learners. Our world seems to be all about social media, online presence, and the drive to keep technology spiraling forward. In some ways, it might be considered irresponsible to negate the importance of teaching our children how to thrive in our modern tech-savvy world. With all that said, does increasing the use of technology solve all of education’s problems? The answer is not just one-sided.

1. Technology can put too much focus on perfection.

Have you ever seen someone with a flawless online presence, but who doesn’t display a genuine sense of who they are?

The desire to craft a beautiful social media image is no surprise. Of course, we all strive to put our best foot forward. Why would someone show a huge baking disaster gone wrong, when they could post a perfect photo of 3-tier cake?

This focus on perfection may create a desire for excellence, but is it realistic? Perfection isn’t a fair standard for parents, and nor should it be for children.  However, having kids viewing life through a lens of idealism can leave them feeling as though they fall short (especially in terms of accomplishment).

In an article for Mayo Clinic, Amy M. Charland, a wellness coach, encourages adults to focus on children’s progress rather than having everything 100 percent correct. With this in mind, it might be highly beneficial to have children put down that enticing educational app and trade it for the messiness of a marked-up notebook.

2. Technology doesn’t always offer problem-solving skills.

Ever try to learn a language with an app? It can feel fun and rewarding to experience a new language with a sleek program. However, when you take that linguistic lesson into real life, your verbal skills may not translate to the local dialect. Learning from a computer screen isn’t altogether terrible if used as a foundation.  But we need to remember that meaningful learning encompasses real life experience. If your child were to speak Spanish with another person, for instance, he or she would experience the other person’s facial expressions, accent, and would need to figure out how to communicate in a problem-solving manner.

3. Technology can create depression.

To learn Pro-Papers or other information effectively, it helps if a student feels confident and happy. A study published on the NCBI site (US National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health) found that of the 1,500 children who used the internet for three (or more) hours a day, 30 percent suffered depression. The students may be using online tools to research and learn, but this doesn’t take away from the mental harm that can ensue if done too much. This study discovered that the children with depression lacked motivation and drive.

While we want children to learn how to surf the web responsibly, it’s vital to let them reconnect to the world around them.

4. Technology can create the need for instant gratification.

Most people enjoy seeing ‘likes’ and incoming messages. It’s nice to feel accepted and popular. But sometimes, we need to wonder if students using apps and other technologies to learn are missing out on delayed gratification. When a child sits down to work out a long math problem, it may be frustrating not to see a green check of approval immediately.But with practice and time, the student will learn how to finish the problem successfully. He or she can build a strong sense of accomplishment. 

As grown-ups, we generally understand the value of putting off a reward until later. For example, it might be tempting to blow off that morning meeting for extra sleep. But in the long-run, missing the meeting can cause unwanted problems. Instead, it might feel better to go to the meeting, then enjoy a more extended lunch with a coworker.

In conclusion, educational technology isn’t going anywhere. Our world is fast-paced and modern, and children are part of the movement forward. But there is value in offering them real-life interactions.