New information technologies:

Advantages and disadvantages:

The so-called new technologies (or rather, advanced technologies) are changing the world socially, politically, economically, laborly and judicially. Current technologies have become an essential element in our lives and we are evolving towards new and intriguing horizons. But with this are also emerging, new problems to solve that can interfere in our daily life, work, academics, etc. This influence is especially evident in childhood and adolescence. When is it appropriate for children to start using them? In principle, there is no rule to determine at what age these platforms or devices should be used, as it depends on the maturity of the child, the circumstances or the environment.

Now, it would be convenient that between 2 and 7 years do not abuse devices such as television, “tablets” and video game consoles (around two hours a day maximum).

From the age of 7 onwards, exposure to these electronic resources may increase. Why are teenagers so susceptible to technology? Because they are in a vital stage where everything is new. Because it is a collective sensitive to the moment and the social environment in which they live. For the availability to access them. Because they are an excellent tool to socialize and communicate with others, in addition to satisfying their leisure and fun (eg video games). The use that the adolescent makes of the technologies can be problematic when the number of hours of use or connection affects the development of daily life. Among the causes that are generated are: States of drowsiness. Altered mood Attention deficit or reduction of the hours dedicated to the study or to its obligations. Irritability, anxiety or impatience due to the slowness of the connections or the malfunction of the devices (also occurs in adults). Hyperactivity and aggressiveness.

On the other hand, the advantages of new technologies (NT) seem obvious: the creation of new communication environments, whether artificial (from the subject to the machine) or human (from subject to subject) and brings us closer to the concept of “global village”. In addition to being recipients of messages (eg through television or radio), we have now also become users, as we decided when to use these tools and in what way. We have greater access to information, greater volume and immediacy of the information we seek (almost in real time). They innovate and improve other traditional means of communication. They make it possible to transfer information from one site to another. They are a source of leisure and fun. They help the educational advance (through educational programs or computer devices).

Although all this is a breakthrough, we must not forget that technologies are “neutral”, that is, it is the use that people make of them that makes them conflictive or beneficial and useful. When is technology misused? When the number of hours is excessive or affects the normal development of daily life (addiction). When they are used to entertain, harass or insult other people (eg cyberbullying). As a criminal means, that is, for cheating, fraud and usurpation of someone’s identity. In children, when they access violent content or little according to their age.

A concrete problem: addiction. Currently, there is no consensus in the scientific community to include “addiction to technology” within the manuals of psychological diagnosis. But there are a number of symptoms that can approach this type of problem such as disinterest in other activities or aspects of life or when all “your world” revolves around the computer, mobile phone or social networks. Also when there are problems with the family, social withdrawal, self-injury, paranoia, loss of contact with reality, etc.

Measures for prevention:

Educate in the correct use of NT as a source of information and training, for by prohibiting its use we will not get anything. It is also about regulating exposure times. Set goals, that is, develop a schedule for the teenager to control their time, such as connecting several times but briefly. Prepare as a reminder a list with 5 negative aspects of the excessive use of technologies and 5 positive aspects of “being disconnected”. Try to be in front (although not invading the child’s space) to monitor the contents. You can also use parental control filters. Remind your child that certain behaviors on the Internet and social networks can be a crime, and may have problems for it. Also, reiterate that they do not respond to messages from strangers or acquaintances who try to harm you. Know yourself how to use technologies and talk about them with your children. Encourage other recreational activities (sports, outings with friends …) that favor the channeling of emotions and energy.

For more information on the subject:

Guide: “Legal protection of minors in the use of Internet” of the National Institute of Communication Technologies (Spain). Book: “Education: risks and promises of new information technologies” by Nicholas Burbules.

Alba Prieto Moreno.