“Put your phone away!” or “Do you really need to look at that screen all the time? ” These are
phrases that have a familiar ring to many people. Technology is progressively
becoming a big part of our everyday lives, both children and grown-ups. Some
embrace the technological development of our culture, while others take a
critical stance. In 2013 Dr. Larry Rosen wrote the article ” How Much Technology Should You Let Your Child Use? “, where he
discusses the issue of children’s as well as adult’s excessive use of
technology, more accurate iPads or other tablets. Is it bad for our kids to be
in possession of an iPad at any time, even though it is not only games but also
educational applications? How do we prevent ourselves from becoming
“iPad-addicts” and what causes it?
Dr. Rosen discusses the
psychological and cognitive side effects of these high tech screens on the
brain activity in adults and children. We know that in general, tablet and
phone apps, as well as our laptops, prevent our mind from wandering and being
creative. This is due to the fact that you are constantly and actively making
decisions about what to do next. It means we cannot just sit back, relax, and
think because we always have to make a decision and take action. Dr. Rosen
shows that this is counter-productive to learning social skills by informing
the reader that the brain cannot get what he calls the “ah ha!
experiences”(l 66) that help us to learn and better retain things. The
brain will get over-stimulated and therefore not learn to function optimally in
Throughout the entire article, Dr.
Rosen mainly appeals to logos as well as pathos as he provides logical
arguments by including personal experiences that the reader also can relate to.
“On the one hand it is comforting (and
useful) to have your child so easily entertained. After all, isn’t that what we
used to do with the television?”(l. 35) Dr. Rosen reminisces about his own
childhood when he was put to watch TV, when his parents were busy. He is
creating some kind of bond with the reader; he is trying to be understanding
towards the parents. Next, he states that doing this can not only cause a lack
of family time but also impair their children’s ability to develop social
skills, such as understanding the impact that words have on the other person
because that requires face-to-face interaction. Dr. Rosen provides a highly
logical argument for this theory in combining validated studies and personal
By underlining his title and
experience within the area, Dr. Rosen also appeals to ethos. In a whole
paragraph (l. 12), Dr. Larry Rosen explains that he is a Professor and has
spent over 25 years along with his colleagues researching technology and its
impact on people, and has written 5 books along the way. Validating his
credentials allows the reader to trust logically in what Dr. Rosen is talking
about in his article. The basic argument in this article is the fact that technology
is both good and bad for young children. However, he provokes the audience to
truly think about the advantages and risks as well, which makes him even more
reliable, along with an advanced academic language, as he does not only take
one side but sees the case from a wider aspect.
Rosen’s intention with the article
is to give a helping hand to all the parents who struggle with the decision of
letting their children use technology from an early age or concealing it for as
long as they can. It is a tough decision to make because technology has become
such a big part of our lives, and also, as mentioned earlier, it is so easy
just to give your kid an iPad that will keep them entertained for hours, when
you need a break. We think about it, but we do not really know the actual
consequences of children’s overuse of technology. Therefore Dr. Rose writes
this article in which he exposes the cognitive side effects based on several
authorized studies to help these parents to handle this dilemma in the best
So, what is the answer
to the question of handling the issue of kids and technology? On one hand, the
tablet can be an educational benefit to the child. It has been proved by the Joan
Ganz Cooney Center at Sesame Workshop that some applications may improve kids’
vocabulary and math skills. Furthermore, there is also evidence that children
with cognitive delays can help them improve their language and social skills1.
A list of great apps for children to learn, but also have fun with, has been
published on Macworld website2
which indicates that iPads also can be a really good thing. However, there are
also pitfalls when it comes to this high technological idea. As Dr. Rosen
mentioned in his article, some kids even become iPad-addicts (l. 5). As
mentioned earlier, when using an iPad you are constantly making decisions about
what to do next, which causes your Default Mode Network to always be deactivated.
That means the brain will never relax and therefore become over-stimulated,
which is the trigger of developing lack of communication and thinking skills. A
screen only offers a limited sensory environment and no physical exertion3.
The child cannot feel a stuffed animal or smell the fresh grass as they are
playing soccer, and therefore it is extremely important not to take away these
experiences, as it is how children learn the most natural human behavior. Not even Steve Jobs, the main founder of
Apple, would let his kids use an iPad at home because he feared that they would
become technology addicts4.
In conclusion, children’s use of
technology is a serious issue that we all have to be aware of and investigate,
as it can have serious consequences, if the technology is not being handled
properly. Applications can be a really good learning tool as well as for fun,
but it has to be within a limited amount of time, or else we might end up
having trouble dealing with social settings.