Ana Viseu on Tue, 18 Apr 2000 21:33:40 +0200 (CEST)

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[Nettime-bold] Re(2): <nettime> "Computers Rot Our Children's Brains"

>Computers rot our children's brains: expert

Jane Healy, the author of "Failure to connect: how computers affect our
children's minds-- for better and worse" is the newspapers favourite quote
for anti-tech. in education. She defends that the use of computers does
not stimulate the brain enough (compared to normal real life interaction)
and thus the brain's plasticity is reduced. One may agree or disagree with
her (and I believe that she at points is a bit of an extremist...), but
she does bring light to an important issue: the pressure put on parents to
put their kids in front of a computer almost as soon as they are born. 

Two weeks ago an article on the 'Globle and Mail' (canada) had a  piece of
news describing the 'lapware'. Lapware is software developed for babies
who, by virtue of not being able to sit by themselves, have to be on their
parents lap. The lapware has a warns for parents that they should be
careful because their kids are likely to drool over the keyboard,
something that may damage the equipment.... 

Parents want their kids to be computer literate asap, but as someone
commented in the article, how can a one year old be literate if she/he
doesnt know how to read, write or even how to talk?

> At 03:51 AM 4/17/00 -0400, you wrote:
>[Observer UK news]
>Computers rot our children's brains: expert
>Anthony Browne, Health Editor
>Sunday April 16, 2000
>Computers can rot young children's brains, a parenting expert warned
yesterday. The warning is set to alarm parents who  >believe they must
introduce their children to computers at ever >younger ages. 

>Dr Jane Healy, an educational psychologist from America, told a
>conference in London that instead of helping to advance a >child's
knowledge, computers can stunt the healthy development >of a child's mind,
reducing attention span and hampering >language skills. Parents who feel
guilty about not buying their >child a computer and expensive 'learning
software' will be >relieved. 
>Healy told the Parent Child 2000 conference that parents should >limit
the time youngsters spend using computers and watching >television. Rather
than living in an 'unchallenging, >dimensional world', they should
interact with others around >them. 
>Demolishing the hype of what she calls the  >technology-pushers', Healy
condemned the conventional wisdom >that declares every child must have a
computer at home and in >school. Studies have shown that children under
the age of seven >are likely to be better off without them. 
>Dr Healy told the conference: 'It is playing with the parental >hormone,
guilt, to make them believe that if a child doesn't >have a computer by
the age of three it's not going to get a >job. 
>'But quite to the contrary, it is limiting children's physical
>development and taking too much time away from what they should >be
doing.  They are, in fact, damaging the brain development in >the sense
that it's going to make it harder for them to learn >at school.'
>In the US, schools spent more than $4 billion on computers last >year,
and the market for 'edutainment' software is growing at >about 30 per cent
a year. Tony Blair has promised to connect >every UK school to the
>Rye College in Watford runs lessons for 18-month-old infants, >using
software aimed at the very young. They learn about >shapes, colours and
simple words. At two and a half, children >begin programming and basic
word processing. 
>But Healy said: 'Most of this software ... is doing more harm >than good.'

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