Regulating Classroom Technology: Are the Kids at Risk?

This week’s article reminds me of several conversations I’ve had over the past two years. Maryland is now passing regulatory laws about safe and healthy uses of digital technology in children’s classrooms, which seems like a law we didn’t know we needed until we see how children can be affected without it. This article states that pediatricians and tech companies alike have expressed for this concern of children’s overuse of the technology, specifically for the physical and emotional implications its use could have for children who are still developing. These issues include vision issues, insomnia, and addiction to games and other rewards presented over digital media and technology.

While the studies are still in unsolidified states, clearly Maryland legislators think this is enough of a concern to regulate classroom use of digital technology with children. I couldn’t help but think of my mother when I read this, who teaches at a public elementary school in South Carolina, where the students just two years ago were given iPads for learning. I have heard many first hand complaints about how the children can’t focus anymore and how their learning seems to be stunted by these high tech gadgets. I think that it’s true that we don’t know all the effects yet–we’ll have to keep observing how this technology can play into education. Clearly there’s efficiency in its use, and obvious benefits of teaching children to understand technology and begin a relationship with it as they grow into adulthood. But I also can’t help but agree that things like this that are so revolutionary, and by their very fascination and nuanced existence, distracting, must be regulated. Especially when they could be impacting development of our next generation.