Listen to the Recess! Clip
Enough is Enough Transcript
For the record, there were no computers when I was in elementary or middle school. In high school, my graphic arts teacher, Mr. Steinmetz, introduced us to the magic of the TRS 80. My father was the proud owner of one of the first Macintosh computers but with only 64k, it couldn’t save a document that was longer than seven pages!
Did my lack of early exposure to computers stunt my ability to function in this new high-tech world? Absolutely not. In fact every aspect of this technological revolution has been imagined, designed, and engineered by people who were not introduced to a keyboard and mouse at the age of 9 months!
These days, there is great pressure on parents to get their young children in front of the computer. Software manufacturers have created programs for babies and toddlers. Some experts say that every three-year-old should be able to work a mouse.
In her 1999 book, Failure to Connect, , longtime educator Jean Healy cautions against overexposing our children to computers. And Healy really likes computers; she was an early advocate of technology in the classroom. But in subsequent years, Healy ‘s research has demonstrated that excessive computer use before the age of 7 can be detrimental to a child’s development.
Studies show that computer programs, even the educational ones, often overstimulate children, and teach them to expect immediate gratification. But perhaps most distressing is the idea that very young children who spend too much time looking at a two-dimensional screen and not enough time interacting with the three-dimensional world lose their sense of creativity (or creative play?).
Computer software, unlike a child’s imagination, is static. There are only so many possibilities. Click on the picture of the empty flowerpot, and an animated daisy pops up. That’s neat, but I’d like to see that flowerpot worn as a hat, or flipped over and used as a step to see out of that window.
When it comes to kids and computers, it’s important to exercise common sense and set limits. It’s also important to know when to have children turn off the computer and take a walk, or play with some blocks…or just read a book.