Analog vs. Digital
In previous generations children spent a lot of time reading. This trained the attention, the imagination and the memory and offered little distraction. Today, on the other hand, children are growing with the use of digital devices, e.g. TV and internet on. At the same time, distraction is the norm, continuous attention is impossible, and imagination simply is not necessary because the children are already given the pictures (Taylor, 2012).
Nicholas Carr (in Taylor, 2012) found that reading stimulates our brain to be focused and imaginative, while using the Internet supports our ability to quickly and efficiently scan information. This raises the question of whether the former is the better, or whether with the technological change of our time, the standards for recording information will also change.
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The advantages of books, reading aloud and reading in the development of children
There are many reasons why reading books plays such a big role in the development of a child: Listening to stories stimulates the child's imagination, supports the development of important social and language skills, and prepares the child for the written word to understand (Cullinan and Bagert, 2008).
Reading aloud can also strengthen the bond between parent and child. It gives parents the opportunity to teach the child adventure and experiences within the safe world of a story. In addition, books leave it to the reader to decide at what speed he wants to receive the information. This is a very important point for children as they often need more time to learn and understand.
Von Stockar (2006) points out that the story of a children's book can function like a mirror reflecting their feelings and conflicts, such as loneliness, fear, jealousy, and the need for love and acceptance. Books offer fictional possibilities and solutions that children can integrate into their lives.
According to a study by Pearson (2014), children who enjoy reading generally fare better in reading tests than children who do not. Regular reading also extends the attention span, increasing general knowledge and understanding of other cultures. Bali Rai (in Pearson, 2014) explained it this way:
"Reading for pleasure is the greatest success factor for later life, after school education. Study after study has shown that children who like to read are the ones who are most likely to achieve their goals. If your child reads, it will be successful - that's how easy it is. "
Technology enters the nursery
In our digital age, almost every child is surrounded by technical devices every day. These children are also called "digital natives" because they were born at a time when digital technologies emerged or were commonplace in our lives. They all have access to digital devices and the ability to use them.
Digital natives are always connected. They have a different understanding of privacy and friendship - because they share a lot of information online and have many friends in the real and virtual worlds. They are multi-tasking, are surrounded by visual stimuli, are easily distracted, and collect information differently than previous generations (Palfrey and Gasser, 2008). But does that affect the development of other important skills?
The effects of technology
In 2014, the AVG Internet Security Company (AVG, 2014) conducted a study on the effects of technology on childhood. The study's findings suggest that 66% of 3-5 year olds can play a simple online game and 47% know how to use a smartphone or tablet, while only 25% know what to do in an emergency and only 14% can tie their own shoes.
Williamson (2012) also explains that children who watch a lot of television, surf the net or play video games tend to get worse results at school. The reason for this is that the brain releases dopamine (the happiness hormone) when children watch TV or play video games. Too much time in front of the screen dulls the kids down and they can no longer focus on something that does not have the same extreme visual stimuli, such as: on reading a book.
Too much smartphone makes children sick
Unconcentrated, hyperactive, language-delayed: Excessive use of digital media harms children, a study shows. And demands more care from the parents.
The intensive use of digital media can lead to developmental disorders in children. This is the result of the Blikk Media Study 2017, which was presented by the Federal Government Drugs Commissioner, Marlene Mortler (CSU).
However, the study will not be fully published until a few months later. The risks therefore range from feeding and falling asleep in babies over speech development disorders in infants to concentration problems at primary school age. According to paediatricians, the higher the media consumption is, the more marked are the above-mentioned abnormalities.
Mortler stressed that the investigation was "an absolute novelty". It shows "the health consequences children can suffer if they are left alone in the digital cosmos in the development of their own media literacy." It is necessary to take the health risks of digitization seriously. Parents needed guidance on media usage.
"Toddlers do not need a smartphone because they have to learn how to keep their feet safely in real life," said Mortler.
For the study funded by the Federal Ministry of Health, 5,573 parents and their children were interviewed about the handling of digital media. In addition, the results of the pediatrician screening examinations were used.
The researchers concluded that feeding and falling asleep can occur in infants when parents use digital media in parallel while being cared for. Here a significant connection can be established. Harmful consequences could also be detected in kindergarten children. 70 percent of them played with their parents' smartphones for more than half an hour every day. This could lead to motor hyperactivity, impaired concentration and speech development disorders. The children are restless and easily distractible.