Finding a Middle Ground with Children’s Use of Technology

Most of us know that excessive amounts of technology screen time aren’t good for young children, but there are also a lot of benefits that can come from technology. As a parent of a young toddler, I know the importance it is for my child to be computer knowledgeable since technology is growing more and more involved in our futures. An interesting fact I found in an article by Business Insider states how Steve Jobs and Bill Gates wouldn’t allow their children to use technology until they are older. The two main people that everyone knows about and comes to mind when you think about this great creation of technology restrict their own kids the usage. It brings us to the question of what is the middle ground to children using technology and gaining the most from it?

I have found many apps that were educational for my daughter to use. One example is ABC Mouse or Homer. I see ABC Mouse used in the daycare she attends. It is a great app for children because they learn how to recognize colors, shapes, letters, writing, math and the app grows with the child and becomes more advanced as they learn more. I will be honest when I have things to do and need a distraction for the little one, I turn to the device and let her play with the different educational apps that seek my approval.  I have also seen her benefiting from the educational apps in our conversations and how she is able to count and recognize more words. Even though I have noticed such positive outcomes in her learning and see that my daughter is expanding her knowledge, I do notice a negative issue that comes about the usage of technology.

One of the negative issues I notice an instant change in her demeanor when she uses a device. She becomes stubborn and unpleasant at times. I notice that my daughter may be more emotional with a large amount of crying and more demands with the loss of her manners. This raised a red flag. I did some research to see if usage of devices in young children could cause these issues and have found many sources to state it is true, so I tested out myself. The days she did not receive the device she was respectful, polite and less sensitive. The days she received the device she was more emotional, unexpected crying and outbursts. I have tested this theory out many times and it would always be true. With technology having so much to offer and can be so beneficial how do we find the middle where we are providing our children with, the right amounts of exposure to technology to be beneficial?

Figure 1

When we consider device time for young children the question that comes to mind is what makes it so bad? American Academy of Pediatrics initially stated that children under the age of two should not be exposed to devices.  When I think about my daughter, I realized that was difficult. My daughter has cousins that are a little bit older who expose her to technology. I am to blame also since it can be an easy distraction. In a more recent article, the American Academy of Pediatrics now states that the amount of device time is done in moderation. The American Academy of Pediatrics also mentions that not only is the amount of screen time be monitored but also that the children are using educational apps, or videos to expand on their learning. This also means that no matter how educational the app can be, it will never be able to replace real-life activities and human interactions. The graph below breaks down U.S. children’ average free time hours per week separated by different activities. As you can see on the graph that more children are spending more time on screen-based play compared to activities without the screen time. Which brings me to my next issue of Gross motor skills.

Figure 2

Gross motor skills got brought to my attention while conducting my research, especially when we are looking at children younger than 8 years of age. According to the Encyclopedia of Children’s Health state “Gross motor skills are the abilities required in order to control the large muscles of the body for walking, running, sitting, crawling, and other activities”. Those skills are very important in a child’s development, especially during the early years of life. In an article, Thayer writes a blog called Teaching Mamas and, she mentions the importance of motor skills and how they are developed. Thayer states the best way for a child to develop their gross motor skills is by playing outside, interacting with the real world, playing with others, sports, and many other physical actives. If a child is stuck on a device all day long, even if what they are doing on the device is educational, it still doesn’t replace the real-life actives to help build those gross motor skills. There have been many studies and articles on the negative outcomes of using technology. From the article “Smartphones” brings to light both viewpoints. The negative side of children using technology to excessively and causing them to create an addiction to devices.  If technology keeps the children occupied for most of the day, then this could majorly impact the child’s development.

Figure 3

A thing we must consider is how technology is changing the way children are able to think and focus. Another thing that needs to be considered is how is the usage of technology is training the child’s brain to handle real-life situations and social skills. Childhood development is very crucial in the beginning years of life for many reasons. What they do now will continuously impact how the child grows. According to Miller’s article on “Child Mind Institute”, it talks about preschool and kindergarten teachers reports. Miller states from her research from preschool and kindergarten teacher reports that the exposure to electronic entrainment can cause children to become more impulsive, less able to wait their turn and not be able to make transitions to engage in activity in learning and calming themselves when they have those setbacks. Those development skills are important and will help children be able to calm themselves and to be more independent and in tune with there own emotions and socials skills.

Figure 4

As we see there are a lot of negative outcomes to young children using technology. This brings me back to my question about my daughter getting emotional and cranky after using a device and what could be the cause. The American Academy of Pediatrics released a study that stated digital and social media can assist in learning but has negative side effects with sleep, attention, learning, obesity, and depression.  Children using technology and devices at a young age limits the child’s ability to manage and identify their emotions. Technology teaches them to have low attention spans and enforces that they can have what they want when they want. That is why my daughter does have those outburst and bad behavioral traits on the days she can use a device. Now, is there a way to find a happy middle and still benefit from technology without bad behavioral traits?

It turns out there is a middle ground on the topic. Dr. Catherine Steiner-Adhair mentions many good ways to keep the connection between family members and technology in her book “The Big Disconnect”.

Figure 5

Steiner-Adair mentions the importance of relationships with family and friends. Those relationships build on many development skills such as social, cognitive, problem-solving, and individual personalities. Hsin conducted a study that correlates with Steiner-Adair statement about how it can cause issues with the child’s early stage developments. Steiner-Adair states that setting limits to screen for both the parent and child to give each other their full attention. This doesn’t just stop when a child is a toddler but goes for any age. It is important to take time out of the day to spend with one another and be truly connected. This could include planning activities that don’t include any technology and is something the whole family can engage in

As we know there are still a great number of benefits that can come from technology. As I mentioned earlier my daughter tends to get emotional and cranky after using her device. Shelley Pasnik, director and vice president of Center for Children Technology mentions many great ways to be able to take advantage of using technology and expand your child’s attention and focus and not get cranky. Pasnik states that taking the time to watch the educational video and interact in the educational app together can grow a stronger bond between parent and child. This allows you to get involved and allowing the child to still take advantage of technology and the one-on-one time. The child will learn better if you engage in the educational app or watch the movie with them. This way you can teach them, and they can learn from you. A child needs their parents to help with their development, mentally, emotionally and physically.

In today’s world technology is a big factor and growing rapidly. It is difficult to completely rule it out. As we have learned there are benefits to using technology as well as the perfect middle ground. There are ways to utilize the tools that are given and if they are properly engaging in technology, it can make a significant impact. It is important to monitor what the child does on the device, restrict activities and movies that you have approved of. Also limiting the child’s screen time to ensure they are still taking part in real-life activities. Most importantly is spending the quality time with your children. The child will get the most out of technology and different educational apps if you are right there teaching and learning with them. It builds a bond with the child but also helps developed more lifelong skills. Technology has many benefits when used properly as mentioned. With technology, learning can be fun!

Annotated Bibliography

This article I found especially useful for my research paper since it was the American Academy of Pediatrics. This is a very credible source and most people will refer to it for guidance on raising their children. This article mentions how they released a new statement pertaining the usage of technology in young children. In their early article they discouraged as much usage of technology and children as possible. They later released that small quantities are okay and should be monitored, as well as educational material be the main purpose for technology.

This helps me with my research question since I am researching if there is a middle ground for children using technology and if there are benefits. It helps me counter the negative arguments of using technology and that there is a middle ground for the usage of technology. This resource is a good resource for me to include in my paper.

This resource is the Encyclopedia of Children’s health. I referred to this site to get to a detailed explanation of what all gross motor skills consisted of. In a lot of my research and reading different articles many people referred to gross motor skills when reviewing technology and children. In order to get an accurate definition, I turned to the Encyclopedia of children’s health.

This source will be a great addition to my paper to help build credibility and provide more detail and understanding for some of the research I have uncovered. Using multiple source that back up what you are saying help build trust in your readers. To get a clear definition on gross motor skills is very important for my paper since that is one of the negative effects of children using technology. They lack the development of gross motor skills and can cause them to be delayed in their development.

  • Thayer, Angela. “Gross Motor Skills and Why They Are Important.” Teaching Mama, 5 Oct. 2014,

This article goes into detail about gross motor skills. The development process and the importance that a child goes through different steps to achieve these motor skills. As a child being to learn to crawl, then stand, walk, and all the way to running and playing sports. All those steps are important in a childs development. If a child is stuck being a device all day takes away from the real-life activities.

This article will be helpful in my paper to continue to support the opposite viewpoint of technology and devices. We are exploring all the issues, the negatives and the bad issues. This source helps evaluate more of the importance of taking advantage of those real-life activities. But also, there is benefits of using technology.

This was an interesting article to read and I like the fact that was stated about Bill Gates and Steve Jobs. How they did not expose they young children to technology, such as tablets or phones until they were older in age. I found that crazy to think about since they both have made such a large impact on the technology world.

This article shows you again the negative and peoples strong view points about technology and the usage of young children. I will use this to continue to make my points in my papers. To think that people exclude their children from all technology is a little crazy and hard to do. Especially since they are using more and more technology in schools. So back to my original research question there must be a good middle ground for children using technology to fully benefit from it.

  • “Smartphones.” Opposing Viewpoints Online Collection, Gale, 2018. Opposing Viewpoints in Context, Accessed 17 Sept. 2018.

This article does a study about the opposing viewpoint of technology usage in children and teens. For my paper I am focusing on the effects of using technology in children and how the technology impacts their development. In this article there are many issues they have founded that are linked to excessive smartphone or mobile connected devices. A few of those examples include mental heal issues, behavioral issues, inattentiveness, and creates sleep issues.

This is good to bring us in my research paper to ensure I am covering all the viewpoints of the impact technology has on children and their development. It is important to consider some of the negative thing’s technology can do and things to also consider before allowing your child to spend countless hours on mobile connected devices. It also helps to bring to a reasonable understanding if technology does positively impact their development or is it creating more issues. From reading the article I kept see them mention using excessive usage and using a device for an excessive amount of time will create negative outcomes.

  • Ching-Ting, Hsin, et al. “The Influence of Young Children’s Use of Technology on Them

Learning: A Review.” Journal of Educational Technology & Society, vol. 17, no. 4, Oct. 2014, pp. 85-99. EBSCOhost,

This study does a study on how technology influences young children. This study views children from different parts of the world and how technology influences them. They also viewed children from the ages of 0- 8. The study has shown a positive influences technology has had on children. The study considered how changing the way children learn they can positively impact the technology we have to create a positive environment.

This is a good aspect to view and consider on how teaching children and taking advantage of the technology we have has a positive impact. Considered a good viewpoint on how to take advantage of the technology we have and make the most of it. The article is focusing on social, emotional, physical and cognitive development. This will work for my research paper since those are the areas I wanted to cover and understand more of the impact technology has with children development.

  • Miller, Caroline. “The Benefits of Watching TV With Young Children.” Child Mind Institute, Child Mind Institute, 24 Aug. 2017,

This article states to bring together my paper about the benefits and find that middle ground I have been looking for with children using technology. Technology is something that we cannot avoid especially in this growing world. To completely cut it out of our children’s lives will be difficult especially since us as adults use our phones, computers, tablets and many other interactive devices. We set the example. Miller mentions how watching a video or interacting with the children in their games while using technology is the most benefited.

This is a good balance on my paper. It brings out the positive sides that can be done with technology and that us as parents can just give our children a device and not engage with them. If we want it to be most beneficial for them, we must sit down and engage with them, as well as keep the boundaries and limitations. This will help the child grow emotional and mental as well as keep a close bond with the parents.

  • Yolanda, et al. “Children and Adolescents and Digital Media.” Pediatrics, American Academy of Pediatrics, 1 Nov. 2016,

This article was an interesting article to read. To read about different types of media and how the usage of media is changing in young children. This article had a lot of resources to back up their claims and provided great insight for my paper. This article conducted and reviewed studies on all different children. From different backgrounds and age groups to see how much they were consumed in the usage of technology, such as tablets, phones, TV.

This is a great source for my paper to bring in different statics and numbers. To back up my statement and my research question. I looking to find the middle ground between children using technology and gaining the most benefits from their technology usage. The article slowly walks you into the middle ground that there are benefits of using technology, but it is based on the childs age.

Figure 1) Hellmich, Nanci. “Even Children Are Affected by Digital Eye Strain.” PenBay Pilot, USA TODAY, 25 Jan. 2014,

Figure 2) Armstrong, Martin, and Felix Richter. “Infographic: Screen Time Dominates Kid’s Play.” Statista Infographics, 1 Nov. 2017,

Figure 3) “Family Online Safety Intitute.” Good Digital

Figure 4) “Learning or Loafing – Watching Summer TV.” Parenting for a Digital Future, 17 July 2017,

Figure 5) Fisher, Rich. “‘Protecting Childhood and Family Relationships in the Digital Age’ (Encore Presentation.).” Public Radio Tulsa,

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