How the Use of Technology is Affecting Children

Times are changing. “Let’s play!” no longer implies going outside and making mud cakes or using pillows and cushions to avoid touching the floor because its lava. When the kids of today say “let’s play!” they mean “come sit next to me and watch me beat this game on my iPad”. No parents from today grew up with iPads in their hands as children are now doing. So how is technology affecting them? Is it a positive addition to education, a tool? Or is it inciting violence and shorter attention spans?

Some mothers, according to the New York Post, observe a loss of interest in what used to be their children’s favorite activities including but not limited to sports. “Why not let [my son] get a jump on things?” a mother named Susan thought, when she got her 6-year-old an iPad. Only later did she realize that his son was throwing fits when she told him he had had enough of what she thought to be “educational” technology time. Had this young kid, who had not even been on this planet for a decade become an addict? (Kardaras, N. 2016)

With such little time to explore how this technology is affecting children, because of how new this is to history, the only things that have been proven so far are that technology has both valuable and detrimental effects to brain development. For example, according to Psychology Today, the rise of the internet has reinforced our ability to scan words making us read quickly and efficiently. No longer do our brains take the time to focus and use their imagination as they did when books were all we read.

It is complicated however, to explain the benefits and costs that technology is having on children. Whether technology hurts or aids the development of children’s thinking depends on how and with what frequency it’s used. It is in fact, early in the lives of kids that it is easiest to determine how intense or positive or negative their relationship with technology will be for the rest of their lives.

Some areas in which the latest thinking and research has shown that technology has impacted the way kids think, are attention, information overload, decision making, and learning and memory. It is believed, however, that parents can highly influence the impact that technology has over each of these areas of his or her child’s development.

According to the article, How Technology is Changing the Way Children Think and Focus, attention is the gateway to thinking. Without it, memory, creativity, learning, problem solving, etc., can’t happen. Therefore, the ability of kids to focus effectively is crucial to their growth and development. In the past, kids spent more time reading, something that of course involved fewer distractions and more imagination and concentration time. The internet, and tablet games however, don’t allow for that.

The article, also suggests that reading is like scuba diving, where one is absorbed in a “quiet, visually restricted slow paced setting with few distractions”, while the internet is more like jet skiing, where one “is skimming along the surface (…) at a high speed, exposed to a broad vista, surrounded by many distractions, able to focus on one thing”. (Taylor, J. 2012).

Going back to Susan’s story, after some time, she had walked into her son’s room at night while he was “sleeping” to check on him, only to find him “sitting up in his bed staring wide-eyed, his bloodshot eyes looking into the distance as his glowing iPad lay next to him.” (Kardaras, N. 2016). She had to shake her boy to snap him out of the spell. Was this iPad becoming a drug? Susan couldn’t understand how her happy and healthy boy had become so dependent on “harmless” digital games.

Other studies now show that devices such as smartphones, iPads and play stations are a form of “digital drug”. Recent brain imaging research shows that these forms of distraction or “learning” affect the brain’s frontal cortex, which controls the executive operations and impulse controls in the same way that drugs like cocaine do.

Therefore, it is in our hands to decide to what extent we want our children to use technology, and perhaps evaluate the consequences for ourselves.

Anna Arteaga

How to Make Amazing Mini Arepas in Under 30 Minutes

Original article posted on www.spoonuniversity.com

It was love at first bite when I had these!

Photo by Julio Sánchez

Photo by Julio Sánchez

What's made Chef Julio Sanchez, a proud arepa-loving Venezuelan, so successful, is his love for serving dishes such as sushi burritos, Nutella-banana pancakes, and avocado toast, at events ranging from corporate meetings to birthday parties and weddings.

But his golden staples are his college-friendly dishes from his native Venezuela.

One of his coolest recipes, known for being easy and great for breakfast, lunch or dinner, or as a snack, is for the best Venezuelan mini carrot arepas you'll ever taste. All the ingredients are cheap and can be found at your local supermarket!

Arepas are one of Venezuela's oldest and most popular recipes, dating back to various indigenous communities that first inhabited the country. They are these pancake-like corn based disks that can be made big or small, with the filling you crave, or not.

It was love at first bite for me when I tried these Venezuelan arepas. So go buy some corn flour and get ready to impress your roommates with 40 mini arepas (which will make 20 mini arepa sandwiches)

Photo by Julio Sánchez

Photo by Julio Sánchez

Here's how you make them:

Arepa

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup warm water

  • 1 pinch salt

  • 1 large grated carrot

  • 1 tablespoon cooking oil

  • 1 cup corn flour

Prep Time: 10min
Cook Time 15min
Total Time: 25min
Servings: 20

Instructions:

  1. Place 1 cup of warm water in a bowl, add a pinch of salt and a tablespoon of cooking oil
  2. Grate a large carrot over the mix
  3. Add 1 cup of corn flour
  4. Mix using your hands until dough is even. Roll into balls the size of the palm of your hand. Flatten balls into disks 10cm in diameter
  5. Preheat a frying pan with cooking oil on medium heat. Place dough disks and flip over every minute for 15 minutes until done

Filling

Ingredients:

  • 1 can tuna fish

  • 1 diced tomato

  • 5 chopped up medium basil leaves

  • 1 teaspoon mayonnaise

Prep Time: 5min
Cook Time: 0min
Total Time: 5min

Instructions:

  1. Open can of tuna, place in mixing bowl
  2. Place diced tomato over tuna
  3. Chop up 5 basil leaves and place in bowl
  4. Add 1 teaspoon mayonnaise to bowl and stir
  5. Place mix in between 2 mini arepas forming a sandwich, and enjoy!

Tag @chiringuitos on Instagram with your arepa photos to see if you can impress Chef Sanchez!