The iPod, now the best selling portable media player on the market, was originally released in 2001. Since then, a global outbreak of electronic usage has occurred, the ever-growing urge to “stay connected” larger than ever. Today, we have the latest versions of the iPod, iPad, and iPhone captivating the public, along with TVs that seem to get flatter and larger and laptops that look more anorexic than the models posing on their screens in advertisements all over the internet.
We are living in the iGeneration. However, this is not a positive outlook for our youth.
Children of this age carry tons of gadgets around constantly, playing games on these instead of gaining the social skills they need. Preschoolers are learning from computers rather than classroom discussions, and exams for older children are being given through computers rather than the old pencil and paper as well.
These gadgets can easily impair a child’s eye development, and could even raise the probability of shortsightedness. “‘IPads shine with bright colors, which is a strong visual stimulus,’ said Tang Dongren, head of the ophthalmology department at Tianjin First Central Hospital. ‘The muscle that adjusts the pupil remains highly tense to adapt to changes of light. The flicker of the electronic screen intensifies the frequent movement of the muscle.'”
In a large study in 2006, it was noted that children who watched violent television shows or movies were less inclined to spend time with their friends doing other activities. This led to a conclusion that children that spend most of their time watching television or being engrossed in other electronic gadgets are more likely to become obese, especially at a young age.
An article on “Adolescent Screen Time and Attachment to Parents and Peers” observed that “more time spent television viewing and less time spent reading and doing homework were associated with low attachment to parents.” Children are becoming more independent too early in their lives due to electronic gadgets, and this can lead to many different negative results, such as teen pregnancy, dropping out of school, earlier child rebellion, and less of an inclination to listen and follow the parent’s rules.
Children are now exposed to sexual content, nudity, and violence in a lot of the media that is released daily. In a study over sexual content in the media, 40% of music content contained sexual lyrics, 70% of the top 20 TV shows watched by teens contained sexual content of some kind, and 44% of the youth who browse the internet have been exposed to online porn. In another study based on media violence, it is noted that children experience fear and anxiety, desensitization, and aggression, all due to watching the violent media around them. With statistics like these, it is easy to see how electronic gadgets are harming the iGeneration of today.