As a parent, it’s vital to understand the positive and negative effects of technology on early childhood development. Nearly 98% of students under the age of eight have access to technology. It prepares children for a new, tech-driven learning environment. We live amid a technological explosion.

Resultantly, children are becoming technology experts at a young age. Elementary school children now learn by using computers. Many have used computers well before starting school. The impact of technology on early childhood education is undeniable. It’s giving children an advantage. Furthermore, technology is helping to prepare children for future careers. Along with these advantages come concerns about how technology affects childhood development.

To learn more about how technology is affecting early child development, keep reading.

The Impact Of Technology on Early Childhood Education

Early childhood development being impacted by technology

Many studies explore the development of the human brain. In recent years, there’s been new research on technologies' impact on early child development. The results aren’t as clear-cut as “technology is bad for kids.” Young children have elastic brains. This attribute gives them a developmental advantage. It allows them to respond to challenges in their environment.

Consider children in their first three years of life. Their brains triple in volume as synapses make new connections. Sounds, such as a mother’s voice, guide these new connections. Accordingly, children need challenges and stimuli in these early years. A young mind cannot distinguish between a live and digital voice. It’s essential to understand the stages at which children can decode information about their surroundings.

In the digital age, healthy child development isn’t about the duration of exposure to technology. It’s about the quality of content that young minds consume.

Positive Effects of Technology on Early Childhood Development

Today, children are surrounded by technology. Most homes have more than one television—along with a host of computers, tablets, and smartphones. Children become aware of these devices and play with them at a young age.  Most 8 to 10-year-olds spend about eight hours a day consuming media. Meanwhile, older children spend up to 11 hours a day using multiple electronic devices. The impact of technology on early childhood development is providing benefits beyond entertainment. The following passages highlight a few of those benefits.

Educational Resources

There are many facets of technology that can help young minds learn. Today, a range of devices—from televisions to tablets, to smartphones — exposes children to new things. This information can help children to develop their minds. It can also expose them to new ideas. Furthermore, a growing number of educators are embracing childhood development technology. With technology, teachers can engage different kinds of learners.

Technology helps educators to reinforce ideas and expand on concepts. More importantly, it’s serving as a new way to motivate students. Technology enables teachers to connect with students in a relatable way.

Creating Problem-Solving Skills

Person solving a Rubik's cube

Kids improve their problem-solving and decision-making skills by using technology. Electronic devices present children with problems. Driven by curiosity, children are determined to resolve those problems. As they learn to manipulate various devices, they also learn how to make decisions.

Introduction to Tech Careers

The technology field continues to grow and flourish. As the field expands, the demand for technical expertise will grow.  Familiarity with technology prepares young learners for the careers of the future. The devices that surround children every day compel them to get excited about technology. At a young age, today’s children are exposed to the potential of various innovations. This exposure prepares them for the future and its possibilities. It enables educators to prepare young minds with the skills they’ll need for a technology-driven future.

Visual-Spatial Development

Technology can help children to advance their spatial development skills. For example, teachers can use video games to train young students. Educational games can help kids to practice their visual-spatial skills. Video games are a great way to improve these abilities. Children need visual spatial skills for a variety of tasks. For example, it helps with map reading. Visual-spatial skills are needed for complex activities such as completing puzzles. In fact, there are many instances where children must use visual-spatial skills to complete tasks.

Greater Multitasking Abilities

A mom multitasking by doing work with her baby

Technology can help young minds improve their multitasking abilities. With technology, students can learn to listen and type at the same time. They can take notes, and perform other activities in unison. Multitasking is a desirable skill that can help young learners succeed.

Possible Hazards of Technology

Left unchecked, children can experience negative effects due to technology exposure. Today’s generation has grown up in a world surrounded by technology. For these children, privacy is a foreign idea.

Cybersecurity is an integral part of current technology. However, it’s not perfect.

Technology makes it easier to harass others. Malicious actors use technology to harass children every day. Technology has extended the reach of those who infringe on privacy, and increased identity theft.

Academic Struggles

Student performance can decline when they spend too much time using technology. The more they’re using tech, the less time they spend doing homework. Excessive technology use can result in developmental challenges. Students might struggle with homework topics such as reading and writing, and these problems can become evident as early as the 3rd grade. Down the line, this can ultimately impact their ACT or SAT scores, which can dramatically impact the trajectory of their academic lives.

Decreased Attention Span

Teachers, parents, and young learners can find that technology impacts their attention span. Technological interactions offer immediacy. Children have grown accustomed to having what they want right away. This ease of access makes it harder for children to learn patience. Technology doesn’t make anyone wait. It provides any information desired on demand. For example, kids can watch their favorite shows immediately, rather than waiting for scheduled programming. Children are becoming accustomed to instant gratification. In turn, their attention spans are waning.

Social Issues

Younger generations are developing issues with face-to-face social interactions. Today, many youths prefer to text or talk on social media.The problem persists even when children spend time together. Today’s kids are more likely to spend time texting than talking.

Bullying

Technology is a flourishing industry. Unfortunately— so is cyberbullying. Nearly all children take advantage of social media to network with friends. However, some children use these popular platforms to bully other kids. Even worse, they don’t have to deal with the consequences of harassing others face-to-face. This is called cyberbullying. Regrettably, it’s a growing trend—even among younger children.

How Parents and Teachers Can Help

The growth of technology is one of the most significant changes in the last few decades. It’s transformed how we access information. Now, there’s a wealth of information available at the press of a button. In the past, kids had to travel to the library if they wanted to learn something new. Today’s generation can learn something new on a whim by going online.

The same concept applies to instruction out of the classroom. Historically, there were only two ways for children to access additional instruction.

  1. Parents could enroll children in after-school programs.
  2. They could hire a private tutor for in-person sessions.

With technology, accessing new information is much easier. While parent-teacher communication remains as important as ever, students can now participate in remote learning from the comfort of their homes. 

Technology-based learning is an incredibly convenient tool. It’s beneficial for parents and students with busy schedules. Parents with limited time or experience with education can also rely on a tutor, which can provide a number of benefits.

Now, parents can seek out tutoring for challenging subjects in a relatable way: virtual tutoring. From a child’s perspective, virtual tutoring can serve as a new conquest in the digital frontier. Virtual sessions can support students in their unique learning journey. More importantly, it can help them to reach their full academic potential.

With virtual tutoring, young learners access a one-on-one teaching environment. Furthermore, they can do it from the comfort and safety of their own homes, provided that they follow distance learning best practices.

Helping Children Excel

Now you know how technology is affecting early child development. Technology’s impact on child growth and development is irrefutable. Following best practices can help your child focus on the beneficial parts of the digital domain.

Ultimately each parent needs to decide the role technology will play in their child's education. The pros and cons of each tech tool should be carefully considered before being implemented.