Birth2Work

When Parents Lead, Children Succeed

Technology's Impact on Childhood Learning and Literacy

Whose responsibility is it to lead the way when it comes to technology exposure for kids? Parents? Schools? The media?

We've seen through history that technology, in it's various iterations, has the potential to drastically alter human culture. What stays constant during those times of upheaval is society’s inability to predict the outcomes of any technological advancement - including the unintended consequences. It’s also hard to deny that once a technological trend begins to take hold, subtly altering human behavior, that it becomes a very challenging genie to put back in the bottle.

Technology’s impact on childhood learning and literacy...

Over the last 15 years, there has been a dramatic shift in children’s exposure to technology, in a casual way in general and also as augmentation to old world learning methods. It was only a few years ago that the major topic of discussion regarding kids and technology was whether or not it was a good idea to allow a TV or computer in their bedroom. In the years since, that discussion has evolved into whether or not is good for babies to utilize handheld wireless internet-enabled devices at anytime.

That's a significant shift, and is a trend that may only continue and move on towards becoming a shift with global ramifications. Similar to the modern workforce discussion now bubbling up, the conversation is shifting away from discussions about how people will engage in the future workforce, and shifting towards advances in robotics and artificial intelligence that may end up replacing the need for a significant portion of our current workforce. "Exponential" is the most appropriate word to describe the magnitude of these conversations.

We have selected four articles for your review from the The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal. Each covers a different aspect of the current technologically enhanced environment that are part of children’s daily lives. The glaring questions that come to mind for all of us here at Birth2Work are these:

1) Is this the most optimal environment for kids to thrive in, either emotionally, educationally, or spiritually?

2) What kind of future culture are we creating in America through our kids, if technological engagement is the main modality for which they engage with “the world”?

3) Did anybody stop to think and cautiously evaluate whether or not our current technologically laden childhood landscape is actually healthy or beneficial for children? If so, where is the scientific proof? Or are we carrying out a massive cultural experiment that could have serious unintended consequences or major downside risks for future generations in the US?

(Please note: If you have trouble opening any article from the link, copy the name of the article and paste it into your web browser (Google, Firefox, Yahoo, etc.). The article should appear at or near the top of the search results and allow you to read it from there.)

  1. "Is E-Reading to Your Toddler Story Time, or Simply Screen Time?"
    By Douglas Quenqua
    October 11, 2014
    The New York Times »

  2. "A Reborn Houghton Goes Digital to the Core - Textbook Publisher Hopes Scholl Standards to Drive Demand for Curriculum Products"
    By Jeffrey A. Trachtenberg
    November 25, 2014
    The Wall Street Journal »

  3. "Sesame Workshop Tackles Literacy With Technology"
    By Elizabeth Jensen
    October 19, 2014
    The New York Times »

  4. "Fighting the Internet Invasion of Childhood"
    By Martin Kutnowski
    September 9, 2014
    The Wall Street Journal »