Stories by David Elkind

Technology's impact: David Elkind

FRAMINGHAM (10/06/2003) - There is considerable disagreement among experts regarding the effects of technology on child growth and development. Some regard technology as advancing intellectual development. Others worry that technology may overstimulate and actually impair brain functioning. One of the problems is that most researchers have taken too narrow a focus on the issue. They have looked at the impact of a particular technology rather than at the technological environment as a whole. One might argue that taken as an aggregate, technologies such as computers, television and cell phones create a digital culture that has to be looked upon in its entirety rather than piecemeal. The question becomes: What is it like growing up in a high-tech world, and how does that differ from growing up at an earlier time? Part of the answer lies in the fact that the digital youth has a greater facility with technology than their parents and other adults. As a result, there is a greater disconnect between parents and children today, and some adolescents have even less respect for the knowledge, skills and values of their elders than they did a generation ago (hard as that may be to believe).

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