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Are Children More Adaptable to Technology?

Posted on Thursday, April 25, 2024
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by AMAC, D.J. Wilson
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Are Children More Adaptable to Technology?

Creative, imaginative, fast-learning, and adaptive are some words associated with children and their abilities to learn. Let’s explore this great question and see what some experts and regular folks have to say about this hot topic.  

Smarty-pants!

Without a doubt, children do possess abilities to learn quickly. A study conducted by neuroscientists from Brown University details brain mechanisms that allow children to process information faster and learn more efficiently than adults. The study demonstrates a rapid increase in GABA (the abbreviation for the neurotransmitter y-aminobutyric acid) in children that positively affects ability to learn. This offers substantial clues as to why children readily absorb information and catch-on to technology fast.   

Kids don’t mind change – but some adults might!

Time moves quickly, with days drifting into months drifting into years – and it can sometimes feel a bit alarming. With the passage of time comes improvements to science and technology that impact our everyday lives. In general, kids seem to easily adapt to digital and other developments. However, some adults are reluctant to change. There are understandable reasons why some experience resistance to change, especially when it comes to having to purchase new and more expensive devices to keep up with technology. It also requires precious time to set up and learn to operate new devices. It may necessitate taking classes, research time, and practice. While adults generally applaud new technology, change may push some out of their comfort zone.

Too silly!  

There are numerous memes out there poking fun at adults’ failure to properly “use” technology. This includes a 90-year-old woman zooming her iPhone with a magnifying glass, grandpa trying to “unfreeze” his computer with a blow dryer, an elderly aunt using the mirror to take a selfie, and a favorite of many, a baby on a cell phone featuring the caption, “That’s it, I’m calling Grandma!” Of course, these over-exaggerated tech jokes are indeed intended to be lighthearted and funny. Even despite a minority of folks who resist change, many adults do fine with new technology. And, truth be told, a baby using a cell phone isn’t that far off the mark. In the grocery store, a friend recently witnessed a screaming one year old who immediately quieted down once mom put a cell phone in his hand!

Using kids as resources

Most parents have tapped the brains of their school age kids or adult children for technology advice. For example, a mom recently requested information about syncing devices and a dad about choosing the best antivirus software. Sure, they could research it themselves, but since their tech savvy kids had the answers and were happy to help, it was a time saver. Kids do seem to know things about computers of which some adults are not readily aware. In addition to possessing extensive computer knowledge, they also know a heck of a lot about apps, social media platforms, video games and beyond. We may wonder, “Why is that?”

Do kids have an edge?

In a dynamic discussion held amongst an older group of people, most agreed that when it comes to technology and platforms like social media, kids are “in the know.”  The following “unofficial conclusions” were then drawn. Unlike adults, youth have access to information through schooling and socialization. Other things that may give kids an edge over adults in terms of easily acquiring new technology-related skills likely include:

  • Fearlessness; unafraid of making mistakes
  • Quick observation & learning capacities
  • Sharp memories
  • Multitasking abilities
  • Good hand-eye coordination
  • Smooth motor skills
  • Great imaginations
  • More free time to learn
  • Adaptability to change; open mindedness
  • Encouragement from instructors & adults
  • Unique problem solving capabilities

A double-edge sword

It’s a bonus for children to learn and adapt quickly, but experts point out that there are both positive and negative effects of living in the presence of technological advancements. While it is true that technology such as computers can help educate and entertain kids, it’s been proven that too much tech can interfere with development and behavior. It can lead to a lack of attention, sedentary lifestyles, sleep disturbances, aggressive behaviors, and even expose them to harmful content or cyberbullying. For these reasons, adult supervision, tech time limits, and content filters are beneficial.

The debate rages on…

The debate goes on as to whether kids or adults adapt better to technology. However, according to many studies, and even the opinion of some older folks, kids clearly have the edge. And they surprisingly become computer and device literate at very young ages. Per WGU.edu, “Hand a smartphone or a tablet to a toddler, chances are they’ll figure out how to open it and make some in-app purchases in a matter of seconds.”  

We can all win

As time progresses, people of all ages must remain adaptable to change. This includes being willing to learn new skills to keep up! Adults are called to stay on top of the latest developments, not only for their own benefit, but to help their kids and grandkids navigate life with digital technology and the cyber world.

This article is purely informational and is not intended as a scientific or medical resource.

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David Millikan
David Millikan
24 days ago

Interesting since children have no life of interacting with other people and have had nothing but a cell phone put into their hands at 4-5 years old on with their faces glued to cell phones and computers.
They will be the first generation known as the ‘BORG’.
Pretty sad since they will never know what real life experiences will be until it’s too late.
Remember the BORG saying, ‘RESISTANCE IS FUTILE’. And look what happened to the BORG.

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