The education triangle - Part 3

June 01, 2016

The students

The rapid advances in communication technologies and the availability of smart electronic devices can be identified as major causes of distraction to all learners.

Some general observations reveal that children with unlimited freedom and financial resources to acquire smart devices are more affected than those who cannot afford them. Some parents tend to purchase expensive devices for their children as a way of motivation to obtain desirable grades. Thus, more children are seeking a promise from their parents of a gift, often a smartphone, to increase their effort in school. Children also complain to their parents that they feel embarrassed when all their friends have better phones than them. There are other excuses that children employ to acquire smartphones; such as the compatibility of new phones with advanced educational applications to exchange schooling information with the teachers and their peers. However, modern communication technology can be both a blessing and a curse.

The benefits of technology are observed easily, but unsupervised access to the Internet, liberty to download materials and the use of social media resources are difficult to monitor these days. As a result, the devastating damage to our children both morally and academically is spinning out of control. For instance, students are becoming smarter and faster in downloading entertainment applications than recalling a simple piece of information from a school lesson. We are living in an age which is dominated by Facebook, Twitter, WhatsApp, Viber, IMO, Talkray, Instagram and other applications that allow free chats and games. But our children don’t realise the terrible price in terms of lower academic achievements, less social interaction with the family and lack of awareness about the impact on cultural and traditional values in a society.

Most children are becoming addicted to their smartphones and other gaming devices. Some children believe that having a sophisticated phone will enable them to rule the social media and have the upper hand in electronic gaming too. But deprived sleeping, shortage of energy, bad eating habits, mood swings, lack of physical exercise and diluted concentration are all common characteristics of children who use their smart phones constantly.

As a result, teachers are becoming frustrated when they experience such cases in the classroom every day and will not accept the blame for deficiencies in learning. In addition, some children misuse their smartphones to film videos or take pictures and upload them easily on any site where file sharing is allowed. This could lead to an invasion of someone’s privacy and might develop into a serious problem. Children don’t realise that a human brain can be treated as a substrate with active sites for receiving information. When these sites are saturated with non-schooling information, any knowledge delivered in the classroom will decrease within a short period of time. Thus, retaining school information is becoming one of the major causes for difficulties in learning as children continue to struggle with remembering and linking lessons when they move from one topic to another.

School managers try their best to use what is available for them to provide children with a successful education. Teachers attempt to deliver their lessons to an audience with a passion for learning. Parents invest a lot of their time, effort and money to provide their children with the best future.

However, addiction to smart electronic devices in today’s society is producing preoccupied, withdrawn, irritated and mentally exhausted children with no energy left for learning. Some are copying their own parents who are addicted to their phones too. They see their parents carrying more than one phone and using them while eating, driving, socialising, shopping, walking and they sleep next to their phones too. After all, smartphones allow you to do anything you want these days and it is up to the adult to weigh up the benefits and control their use. But there are clear signs that, while the short-term rewards from smartphones are known, the long-term devastating costs are not apparent for most parents and children.

(To be continued tomorrow)

Click to read Part 4