Smart Homes & Children’s Cognitive Development: For Harm or For Good?

Smart Homes & Children’s Cognitive Development: For Harm or For Good?

Unsurprisingly, smart home devices are starting to become a part of most modern households. Since they connect all the Internet-connected devices under a single roof, it’s much easier to manage and control your home from a single gadget or console. Because of this, the smart home market in Malaysia is growing as well. From $132 million in 2020, the industry is expected to grow to $421 million in 2025, with a 21.13% annual growth rate.

 

But for all the efficiency that smart home technology boasts, some argue that it may overly “simplify” daily tasks. So much so, that it may become a crutch especially among young and impressionable minds.

 

Digital tablet with running mobile application to control smart devices in the kitchen. Female controlling smart devices remotely at home. Smart home concept

What’s A Smart Home Technology?

When people think about smart homes, they initially describe them as houses reliant on the Internet of Things (IoT). For example, connected homes can have windows with sensors that will automatically notify homeowners whether they’ve been left open. Although they’re a part of smart home features, these technologies are much more extensive than that.

 

In an article by Daniel Ling on smart home technology, they explained that smart technologies don’t just include communication over remote distances. They’re more complex, with various sensors and software that enable your household to react more intuitively to the environment. Following the same example, houses with smart windows not only notify individuals of the open window but can also inform them how long it’s been left open and indicate the temperature outside the house. Additionally, it can help you manage your home security and electric usage, enabling you to create a safer and more efficient home environment for your family.

 

However, some findings claim the disadvantage of using smart home technologies, especially if you have children at home.

 

Are Smart Homes Safe For Children?

In a study by Ananya Arora and Anmol Arora, they shared that smart voice control devices, such as Alexa, Siri, and Google Home might have long-term effects on children. It may impede their capacity for empathy and compassion and their ability to maximise critical thinking and learning skills. According to them, smart home devices lack the normal social interactions that most humans share while communicating. These include non-verbal cues, which are necessary for children to recognise to improve and develop their social cognition. Because voice assistants don’t have this ability, it makes a poor method of learning the ropes of social interaction.

 

Smiling teenage boy using application or playing videogame on his smartphone

 

Moreover, the same study discussed that since these devices are designed to only provide a concise and specific answer, this may affect the traditional processes from which children learn and absorb information. This is because when children ask questions to adults, the latter can request contextual information, explain the limitations of their knowledge, and probe the child’s reasoning. As a result, children’s critical thinking skills are challenged and further developed. This kind of interaction and exchange of ideas is also something that smart home devices cannot provide and replicate.

 

Are Smart Homes Good or Bad?

Electronics like smart home devices make our lives easier. What makes them disadvantageous is when we exploit the use of these devices to the point where it’s affecting our lives and family. So if you’re planning to incorporate smart home technologies in your house to upgrade your living experience, it’s necessary to supervise your family’s technology use, especially if you have children at home.

 

Our article on ‘The Screen That Possesses Your Children’ discussed that one of the ways you can reduce your children’s reliance on technology is to limit their daily screen time. Since gadgets are still useful tools in learning, it’s best to set limitations on when and how long they’re allowed to use their gadgets. The same goes for the use of smart home devices. If your children know that they should communicate and ask questions to adults, you can avoid the possible effects of using smart home devices.

 


About The Author

Abby Grace is a freelance writer, tech enthusiast, and mother of two children. When she’s not busy discovering new tech to write about, you can expect to see her in the kitchen cooking food for her family.

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