The extension of new technologies in the age group of minors poses to the educational community a challenge that requires reaching a balance in the use of different tools. As we collect today in Paper, the initiative of a village in Ireland to control the use of technology in children under 12 years shows the way: anxiety levels are reduced and school performance is improved. It is therefore only possible to pay attention to the scientific evidence and act accordingly.
The new generations are made up of digital natives who, following the advice of specialists, should not be strictly prohibited from using digital instruments. However, the assumption of this inexorable reality cannot become carte blanche to end up bordering, in the field of teaching, analogue learning tools whose effectiveness from the pedagogical point of view is amply demonstrated. The methodology used conditions the way knowledge is processed. It is not surprising, therefore, that more and more countries are applying coercive measures. Italy banned mobile phones inside classrooms six months ago. France did so in 2018, except for strictly teaching functions. And the Seattle school district sued TikTok, Instagram, Facebook and Snapchat in January for knowingly promoting a "mental crisis" among its youth, with all its derivatives. Keep in mind that when there is a mental health problem, social networks operate as an enhancer and a normalizer of this type of disorders. Mobile phones or iPads are tools for socializing. Therefore, they exert a notable influence when it comes to shaping individual identity at an early age, including adolescence.
In Spain, 22% of Spaniards under 10 years old have a smartphone, according to the National Observatory of Technology and Society. Social concern about the impact of technology on education is understandable. Access to the network enhances creativity, but offers additional inappropriate stimuli. In fact, as we have reported in these pages, prosecutors, judges and police have increasingly proven the link between the high consumption of pornography on the Internet and the increase in sexual assaults, especially among minors.
In addition to training the child in the handling of mobile phones and digital tablets – to take advantage of the best and defend against the worst of these devices – experts recommend promoting adequate legislation. It makes no sense to regulate tobacco consumption, for example, and not to do so in this area. Currently, Madrid and Galicia are the only two autonomous communities that prohibit the use of mobile phones in schools. The priority is to preserve the demand for quality in education.
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