Major

Computer Science

Advisor

Henry, Timothy

Advisor Department

Computer Science and Statistics

Date

5-2011

Keywords

technology, children, development, privacy, social media

Abstract

Determining the Effects of Technology on Children

Kristina Hatch

Faculty Sponser: Timothy Henry, Computer Science and Statistics

Technology has become an essential part of Americans’ daily lives, affecting our communications, mail, relationships, the management of our bills and finances. As we have become more immersed in the benefits and capabilities of these constantly developing technologies, children as well as adults have become avid users. Laptops and cell phones are specially developed for preteens. Software and game companies have been targeting children in their game development. Video games have become common entertainment for children as young as four. Children today can pick up a smart phone and quickly learn how to use all of its features, as if it were inherent to them.

Today’s American children have a higher exposure to technology than any previous generation. Doctors, experts, and parents alike have begun to worry about the effects of this exposure as these children get older. Some believe that technology has provided a wide variety of benefits to children, and aided with their development. For example, technology allows for the classroom to be updated and education to be modernized to keep up with the ever-changing and high paced world. However, on the opposing side, some believe that technology is stunting children’s development, and making them more prone to violence.

In order to determine how technology should be integrated into children’s lives, if at all, we must analyze the different effects technology has been having on the youth of this generation. I have researched several benefits and detriments to technology in the hands of children and taken a look at how they influence children’s mental and physical development. Along with extensive research on the topic, I have also interviewed a senior research scientist at the Center for Children and Technology, Cornelia Brunner, spoken to a class of fourth grade students about their technology usage, and surveyed high school students and adults about their thoughts on technology trends and ideals in children’s lives. Through these experiences and research I have been able to see what the trends are in technology for children and how different age groups feel about the topics. Through my project I aim to educate people about not only how technology affects children, but also how it can be properly incorporated into their lives.