NCTA — The Internet & Television Association

Kids and Technology: Good or Bad?

Kids and Technology: Good or Bad?


It’s nearly impossible to find kids these days without phones, iPads or some other electronic device in their hands. Older generations grew up without this kind of connectivity, and many of us can’t help but wonder if this new way of life for children is an advantage or detriment to their growth and maturity. But according to a new study, the majority of parents actually view technology use by their children as a plus for their futures.

The Family Online Safety Institute recently gathered responses from parents on how they perceive technology in their kids’ lives. Questions ranged from how informed they feel about their online activities, how they monitor kids’ web use, and how they view themselves as models of digital citizenry for their children.

The “Parents, Privacy & Technology Use” report revealed that 78 percent of parents see technology as carrying a positive effect when it comes to their kids’ career and life skills, and 64 percent answered that technology inspires creativity in their children as well. It would be hard not to acknowledge the benefits that come with smart technology use. We all know how much breaking news and information we would miss out on without easy access to our digital tools. Kids gain entry to this world of research and knowledge through these devices. By starting early, they also gain the skills necessary to adapt to the ever-evolving technological advancements that come our way.

In regards to certain devices, however, parents leaned more favorably towards their kid’s use of feature phones and smart phones than their time spent on social media vehicles. Only 26 percent of parents reported that the benefits of social media use outweighed the harm that it could bring to their child’s well-being. With cyberbullying, online predators, scams and peer pressure prevalent, this is easy to understand. Moreover, the report cites that parents are more likely to think they know what their child is up to if they use Facebook over Twitter or Snapchat, indicating that parents experience more unease about what kids are doing on the platforms they are less familiar with.

But according to the survey responses, nine in 10 parents gave themselves “A” or “B” grades in terms of modeling good technology behavior to their children. And this might be the best news of the report, as we can only hope that we are preparing the next generation of digital citizens to smartly navigate a future that has technology and innovation at the heart of it.