Mobile technology and child and adolescent development — ScienceDaily

A new special section of child development shows how the use of mobile technology is particularly diverse among children and adolescents, and highlights a great complexity in the effects of this use.

This special section of child development, edited by Dr. Zheng Yan and Dr. Lennart Hardell, adds important information to research in this area. It includes articles from national and international scholars on the complex impact of mobile technology on infants, toddlers, children, teens and parents.

“There are nearly three billion children and adolescents in the world,” Yan said. “Most of them were, are, or will be different types of mobile technology users, interacting with and being influenced by mobile technology in many ways.”

Articles in this special section, “Contemporary Mobile Technology and Child and Adolescent Development,” examine the effects on a wide range of outcomes, including:

  • Risks of using mobile phones while driving, walking and cycling (Stavrinos)
  • Radiation risks in cell phone use for brain development (Hardell; Sage)
  • Effects of mobile technology on cognitive control and attention in settings such as parenthood and early brain development and (McDaniel; Li; McClure)
  • Risks of sexting/increased risky behavior through peer pressure and social media interaction (Rice; Sherman)
  • Effects of mobile technology use on sleep, mood and mental health (Vernon; George/Odgers)
  • Ability to monitor children’s locations / children’s attitudes towards safety and surveillance through GPS tracking (Gelman)
  • Increased connectivity between spaces and cultures (Shapka; Coyne)

The findings of the articles in the special section point to a range of findings, including areas where mobile technology may pose potential dangers and areas where development can be supported. An important example is the work summarized by Dr. Lennart Hardell regarding radiation and brain development. In terms of potential developmental benefits, mobile technology offers new and unique ways for young children to maintain contact with family members who are not physically present.

“Today’s mobile technologies have a very unique and powerful influence on child and adolescent development,” Yan said. “Its use is highly personal for children and teens, happens almost anywhere and anytime, and integrates telephone, television, video games, personal computers, the Internet, and many new technologies into one wearable device. Evidence points to complex impacts on young mobile technology users.”

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Material provided by Child Development Research Society. Note: Content may be edited for style and length.

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