THE BLOG
11/12/2013 08:13 GMT | Updated 10/02/2014 05:59 GMT

Nearly 80% of Kids Have Asked for a Digital Device for Christmas: Cause for Concern or a Sign of the Times?

A new study by the IT firm Logicalis found that kids own up to 6 digital devices by the time they reach 13. That might seem excessive, but the devices include TV's, mobiles, MP3's and laptops which are all pretty omnipresent in modern life.

Unsurprisingly as kids gain more access to technology, the time they are spending in front of these electronic devices is also increasing. A study conducted by the Kaiser Family Foundation found that school-age kids spend an average of 7 ½ hours a day in front of digital devices.

The reaction to such developments has been understandably mixed. On the one hand digital enthusiasts argue that technology is an integral part of modern life. Kids are intuitively comfortable with tech and its relevance in both educational and social life is only increasing.

Anyone that has ever had to watch someone over 65 operate a computer will appreciate the appeal of having a generation that is digitally literate.

2013-12-10-granny.png

Conversely, there is academic evidence to suggest that children who spend more than 2 hours a day in front of a screen are more likely to be obese, have irregular sleep and poor academic performance.

While that might very well be the case (and we should probably be pretty alarmed seeing as kids are spending almost 4x that amount in front of screens), that argument sometimes falls into the trap of treating technology as a monolithic entity.

It's not all video games and television programs - tech is revolutionising the way kids learn in schools. Educational apps are incredibly popular and increasingly used in schools across the world.

They are highly interactive, encourage problem solving skills and allow parents to be more involved with their kid's educational development.

60% of the top selling apps on Apple App store are geared towards younger children which shows there is a clear demand for this type of interactivity. Learn to read with Pip is just one of those apps; a series of phonics reading games and exercises that help children continue learning beyond the classroom. 2013-12-11-Screenshot20131211at11.55.48.png www.learntoreadwithpip.com

http://vimeo.com/79302164

So while there are of course dangers to be aware of, namely letting kids spent exuberant hours in front of digital screens, there are also clear advantages that should not be dismissed. Educational apps, key skill development and bringing the classroom back home are all incredibly positive advances that technology has facilitated.

2013-12-10-granny2.png

Though don't be fooled, any kid trying to advocate the 'educational' benefit of GTA V is clearly trying to pull a fast one. Personally I think that game should be banned for anyone under the age of 70. Extreme? Maybe. But no-one does social commentary like an irritated granny.