Jul 10, 2019 in Research
The Effect of Technology on Human Development


Globalization involves the transfer of capital, services and goods between countries on the global arena. Since 1980s the degree of globalizations in terms of trade and financial liberalization has been unprecedented. At the same time, the inequality in the distribution of income has also been increasing, which motivated an interest among researchers and scholars regarding the effects of globalization on inequality. The current paper draws upon the theoretical and empirical literature to discuss the effects of globalization on inequality. From the discussion, globalization is likely to aggravate inequalities in income distribution in developed nations through various avenues such as outsourcing and foreign investment. In developing countries, globalization is likely to result in a higher inequality in income distribution based on a number of factors including its harmful impacts on financial stability and variations in endowment. Overall, it has been found that globalization does not uniformly affect income inequality; instead, its consequences depend on various factors including the country’s absorptive capacity, the share of skilled and non-skilled workers, the sector, income levels, human capital, financial and institutional development, and the state of a country’s economy among others. 


Keywords: Globalization, inequality, financial liberalization, trade liberalization.


Since the appearance of technology, people have increasingly immersed their lives in it. Today, far too many of them spend less time together in live conversations and interactions with families, friends, partners, and colleagues. They now spend much of their time online, and the Internet and video games have become the best entertainment and leisure time. Moreover, the mobile phones are an essential part of people’s lives and daily organization. The technology has changed lifestyles and raised questions regarding its virtual impact on human development. 


Some experts claim that the technology has detrimental effects on youth making them less sociable. They suggest that it may be a threat to a modern world, causing the 21st-century addiction, which may degrade people’s intelligence. There should be more concerns about the emerging continual technology lifestyle of children and adolescents. Others state that the technological advances in medicine and healthcare, communication, and education have changed the world in various ways. However, it is vital to understand that technological change will always be a part of people’s essence and development whether it is positive or negative. The current research paper will discuss the impact of technology on human development through infancy, childhood, adolescence, and adulthood. Moreover, it will review the benefits and drawbacks of people’s reliance and obsession with technological progress.

Technology in Infant’s Life 

While considering the issue of the today’s effect of technology on infant development, it is vital to reminisce the times when they grew up outside communicating with their age-mates. They used to ride bicycles, play sports games, and build forts. They developed their imagination, creating their forms of entertainment without costly technological devices, and parents’ supervision. All the games were nature-based and very simple. Parents engaged infants in baking, crafts, setting the table and cooking. 


Unfortunately, everything in today’s families has changed. The technological advances of the 21st-century form new families, disintegrating the values that used to make family members united. Nowadays, they strive that technology makes their lives faster and efficient. Parents eventually become so busy that the only things that can help them entertain their children and engage them with TV, Internet, video games, and tablets. However, a little number of parents and adults do not comprehend the impact of technological devices on their children’s development and lifestyles. 


According to Cris Rowan, 2-year-old infants watch almost three hours of television per day, whereas 3-5-year-old kids nearly five hours. They follow the example of their parents’ leisure time spending, screening media for approximately eleven hours a day. Thus, the TV broadcasting systems in France prohibited airing shows for kids under the age of three. The scholars have proved that a seven-year-old infant has already watched TV fro more than one full year of his/her life. Furthermore, today, more than 40% of children less than 2-year-old start using mobile devices. Thus, Cris Rowan has developed a Technology Use Guidelines for Children and Youth, stating that children up to two years of age should not watch TV at all. However, those kids from ages 3 to 5 years may occupy themselves with one hour of media screening per day. Children of this age group cannot use handheld devices and play any video games. 

Benefits of Technology on Infant Development

It is impossible to use the technology effectively without knowing its positive impact on people, especially the youngest ones. However, there is an enormous number of those living in poverty or developing countries who do not know how to apply the technology properly. Parents should use it only for education and learning in early childhood. Scholars state that computer devices should not be transmitters of information, but creating ways for child’s experimentation and exploration. If parents use them appropriately, they can help to extend and increase educational opportunities for infants. 


The interactive technology may help to develop skills of difficult concepts’ visualization. Moreover, it focuses on improvement of the social, language and cognitive skills of children. Kids from birth to eight are learning rapidly through play and exploration using all of their senses. Even though it is a widespread belief that technology cannot replace live human relationships, it may become an accelerator for social interaction. 


Nowadays, parents may expose their children to writing and reading using playful forms and experiences. Technology use may develop and strengthen language and literacy skills among the youngest children. Scholars prove that computerized electronic devices may encourage longer training of speech fluency, engaging kids in turn talking and other social interactions. 


However, parents should never let computers replace outdoor plays. The U.S. Academy of Pediatrics recommends eliminating or at least minimizing the screen time among infants. The reason for it is that they should use computers only for gains in verbal, nonverbal, and conceptual skills, but not for leisure time spending. 

Drawbacks of Technology on Infant Development

Many of today’s parents consider the outdoor play as unsafe, limiting the most significant developmental components attained in outdoor interaction with other kids. This restriction may cause multiple drawbacks in an intellectual development of a child as an individual. Firstly, they observe a hostility, violence, and rage on TV and in video games, which may expose in real life in future. Moreover, parents make them lonely and shy kids in need of friends. 


The scholars claim that the urges for gaming among infants produce the similar brain changes present during the drug cravings among adults. Furthermore, they warn those parents who allow their kids to use tablets for long hours about the long-term adverse effects. They add that children at the age of four become addictive to phones and iPads and require psychological intervention. For instance, a Korean couple was so obsessed with the Internet that starved their infant daughter while taking care of their virtual baby.


Another significant drawback of technological impact on children is physical impairments such as developmental delays. For example, the U.S. Physiotherapy Association stated that over two-thirds of reported members noticed the motor delays in infants over the six years of their lives. Furthermore, the technological addiction caused the problems with weight among children of all age categories. The number of overweight infants aged up to five years increased from 32 million in 1990 to 42 million in 2013. Overall, one of the most widespread problems around the globe is children’s exposure to radio frequency and electromagnetic radiation. Today, parents strap infants into a car seat and mount iPads less than 15 centimeters from their face. They force kids glancing bright images devoid of touch and human connection. 

Technology in Child’s Life

Children in the 21st century expose themselves to technology at a very young age while their parents buy products that make children smarter, early readers, and Einstein babies. Undoubtedly, technology may assist with earlier development in the critical thinking, cognitive, and coordination areas, but cannot be universal to everyone. 

The typical American child spends approximately seven hours a day using media, most of which is TV. Only 5% of kids spend less than an hour per day on media. Nearly one-third of children live in homes with more than four TV sets, and two-thirds watch it during meals.


Given a conservative estimate, the issue of the technological usage has become controversial one around the world. For instance, children in kindergartens in Los Angeles and New York spend from four to six times longer in studying math and literacy than in free playtime. Moreover, 25% of the surveyed teachers said that there is no time for free play in their kindergartens at all.


 Others oppose technology resistance and support media entertainment among children. For instance, in Taiwan, the computer games and the Internet access is the most popular leisure activity for youngsters. Besides entertaining kids, scholars have proved that computers are multifunctional learning tools to help children’s development in many areas. Japanese teachers integrate play and technology to support child’s development within learning groups. Furthermore, the educators in New Zealand amaze in kid’s abilities and passions while playing with computerized devices.

Benefits of Technology on Child Development

It is challenging but possible for parents to regulate and make effective choices about the use of technology tools and digital media among young children. It is vital managing the quality and quantity of technology in young people’s lives to make this usage the most beneficial. Parents should know what, when, how much, and why children use media. Moreover, at schools, homes, informal settings such as libraries, zoos, museums, etc., adults take responsibility for being sure that the media supports learning and development of a child. 


One of the tools that may help them to do it is Fred Rogers Center’s Framework for Quality in Digital Media for Young Children. It includes three guiding principles for the appropriate use of technology tool and interactive media with kids. Only then, the technology may bring a positive impact on young people. 


Firstly, digital media should safeguard the health, well-being, and development of a child. Thus, the content cannot harm kids but lead to their healthy cognitive, social, physical, and emotional development. The media should never be physically or emotionally damaging, disrespectful or exploitative to children. 


Secondly, while using technology, parents should take into consideration child’s age, the content of media, and the context of use. They should pay attention to kid’s cognitive abilities, emotional and social needs, and interests at different stages of development. The objective of the content should educate, introduce new information, develop skills, and entertain. 


Finally, the educators, parents, and policymakers should select and use the most beneficial media products and encourage media creators to improve and develop them in response to the quality expectations.

Drawbacks of Technology on Child Development

As technology has taken most of the people’s free time, a big number of child development experts have expressed their concerns about children spending too much time with computers. They state technological devices contribute to health problems and risks, including stress, eyestrain, obesity, social isolation, and long-term physical, emotional or intellectual development damages.


Firstly, the technological misuse just like drugs may cause addiction. For instance, 12% of boys and 8% of girls fit the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders of Fourth Edition because of pathological patterns of play. To cure the Internet and online game addiction, and to prevent the escalation of this problem among children, the South Korean government created camps. 


Secondly, Dr. Maria Liu, who is currently the head of the new Myopia Control Clinic at UC Berkeley’s School of Optometry, states that children may develop myopia due to the tablet usage. They may have shortsightedness as their eyesight is still developing. Furthermore, the scholars believe that the simplest and best strategy to reduce the risk of this disease is let children spend more time outdoors. 


Another adverse consequence of inappropriate technological use is obesity. The researchers indicate that approximately 70% of Hispanic kids have a TV set in their bedrooms, increasing the risk of an obesity problem by almost 30%. In 1995, only 10% of Canadian children were overweight while, in 2004, its number grew to 30%. Moreover, the North America considers the obesity caused by technological misuse an epidemic. This territory accounts for 60% of childhood overweight problem.

Technology in Adolescent’s Life

Over the last years, teenagers have become the most avid users of the new social media. In Great Britain, over 22% of Internet users aged over 16 and almost 50% of children aged 8-17 who have a profile on a social networking website. While moderate use of technology may benefit adolescent’s well-being, the scholars have raised concerns about its addiction. People consider Internet access as problematic when it interferes with daily activities, and the person cannot control it. For instance, surveys in America and Europe indicate around 2%-8% prevalence of excessive Internet usage. It focuses primarily on online communication and gaming. 


The latter one has become a popular pastime of problematic Internet users. In the USA, 9% of children aged 8-18 are pathological gamers. This study reports that such behavior is prevalent among boys rather than girls. 


The technological obsession among teenagers may lead to less involvement in after-school activities, lower reading and writing scores. Moreover, the technology among this age group showed no beneficial changes in academic performance. The reason for it is that adolescents prefer multitasking, including homework and video games. 

Benefits of Technology on Adolescent Development

One of the beneficial effects of online communication is a development of self-esteem. Moreover, teenagers turn to the Internet for information regarding sexual development, and discussions about moral, emotional, and social issues. 


It is a well-known fact that adolescents may experience anxiety and depressive disorders more often than any other age group. For instance, studies of computerized Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, also known as CBT, proved that this approach may provide efficient and practical health care for all teenagers in need. Although, this issue remains controversial as scholars are not sure if it may replace face-to-face communication with a therapist. Undoubtedly, this approach may be beneficial to remote or disabled populations as well as to those adolescents who do not want to share their problems in a live communication.  


The scholars also proved that online programs could train people’s working memory improving the ability to solve problems in new situations. Furthermore, modern media may enhance teenager’s ability in such tasks as visual attention and motor skills. 

Drawback of Technology on Adolescent Developments

Even though the online communication may be controllable and attractive to teenagers, it can also expose them to severe risks. For instance, the potential anonymity and accessibility may lead to bullying and sexual solicitation. Moreover, it may withhold the development of face-to-face communication and live interaction. 


In the United States of America, approximately 32% of adolescents are overweight, and 17% are already obese. The reason for it is less physical activities, and more time spent in front of TV screen or computer, which may also lead to myopia, also known as nearsightedness.


Overall, scholars state that television and total media exposure in adolescence closely relate to depressive symptoms in young adulthood. Furthermore, the long-term playing of violent video games may lead to an increase in aggressive behavior in teenagers over time. Specifically, these students may become more hostile, get into arguments with teachers, involve themselves into the physical and emotional fights, and have poor performance in school.


After such exposures, adolescents can hardly distinguish between the fantasy and reality. Thus, the media increase the number of child aggression against other children and school staff members. Moreover, there are an enormous number of incidents of school shooting, leading to deaths and severe injuries. 

Technology in Adult’s Life

Adults have entered the world of technology later than their younger counterparts have. However, their activities and interest in digital life continues to deepen. There are two groups of adults, who engage themselves in the technological world. The first one is those who are more educated and view the media as a positive aspect. The second group consists of older and less affluent people, disconnected from the world of digital tools and services. Most of the adults use the Internet for finding news and information, visiting governmental websites, health and medical resources, and opportunities for social support. 


Today, almost 90% of all adults use cell phones, approximately 86% of them are Internet users, and 70% have a high-speed connectivity at home. Despite these figures, they still lag behind younger people when it comes to technological adoption. Moreover, it is widely known that higher-income and educated seniors use the Internet and technological devices at rates exceeding the general youth population. However, a big number of adults face difficulties and challenges when using new technologies. 

Benefits of Technology on Adult Development

Adults and seniors who do not use the Internet agree that they are at a disadvantage because they lack all the information that continually spread all over the world. Others strongly disagree, believing that the technology brings only negative effect in person’s life. 


One of the major advantages that technological world brings into adults life, especially those of seniors is communication. Approximately 30% of adults use social networks such as Facebook and phones to socialize with their friends and other people they care about.


Another benefit of technology advances is that adults can maintain their health themselves. For example, there are hand-held devices that patients use to check their blood glucose levels without leaving their homes. Finally, yet importantly, those adults who live alone or have no relatives can pay their bills and order food via the Internet. Moreover, it is vital to remember that adults are willing to use novel technologies, contrary to stereotypical views. They strive for acceptance and adequate training and assistance. 

Drawbacks of Technology on Adult Development

As the society is becoming more dependent on technology, those adults who do not use it may feel oppressed because they do not fit in with the new culture. However, the negative impact of technology on those adults using computerized devices is no less than on infants, children, and teenagers. 


Firstly, the older adults already have problems with sight and hearing, which may even worsen when using technology inappropriately. Secondly, they require physical activities, which become lacking with the usage of computers. Moreover, adults may become aggressive and impatient in the course of gaining their technological skills. Another adverse effect of media among adults is the spread of pornography and sexual solicitation of younger people in social networks. Everyone is well aware of this issue, but it is difficult to protect oneself against it due to the Internet power. 


Another drawback of technological advancement is that not every adult may afford the Internet access at home. Thus, the government should provide them with free access to computers and the Internet in public facilities such as libraries and museums. 


It is a well-known fact that people’s lives have changed since the introduction technology. It affected the human development during the periods of infancy, childhood, adolescence, and even adulthood to some extent. The young people before 18 face the biggest number of challenges and disadvantages because their bodies and brains are still developing. The adverse effects of technological usage are more severe and may result in physical and mental problems. It is easier for youngsters to engage themselves in the computerized world than for adults, who already became individuals. 


However, it is substantial to understand that the reasonable usage of any technological devices will bring no harm, but may cause an enormous number of benefits to people of all ages. It may be a good source of entertainment, socialization, education, and even business. Thus, parents should control their children’s technological pastime. The adults, in their turn, should contact professionals, and other sources about the consequences of exceeded use of the Internet. Without personal comprehension of the problem, no expert can help people to overcome the addiction. 



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