Technology rots kids’ minds

This is a headline in the most recent edition of Sunday Times (April 27, 2008). The story details all the really, really bad things that TV does to children. And I tend to agree. It’s not normal for 18-month old children to be able to insert a CD-ROM and attempt to use a mouse.

However, there is one thing in the story that I find a bit far-fetched. Make that two. Firstly, an occupational therapist says that children who spend a substantial amount of their day watching television develop low muscle tone. This makes them use too much effort to sit up straight at school and – BAM! – all their energy is used up and they can no longer concentrate. In my opinion, the fact that they can’t concentrate lies in their overall decreased concentration span. The constant “surfing” on TV channels is what makes them so distracted in other scenarios like school. And it’s not only TV to blame! The latest children’s video games are action-based rather than learning-based. They don’t teach concentration or thinking-skills. It’s all just wham, bam, thank you ma’m!

The second thing which makes me snort in derision is the portentous reset button. It makes occupational therapists the world over shudder at the thought. Children can just press the button and the whole ending changes! “There is no need to attempt to rectify or improve the situation and consequently no time for reflection and learning,” says child psychologist Carol Affleck. The reset button, my friend, has been around for a very long time. I grew up with a reset button on my Nintendo. And look: I do not live in a delusional world that allows me to erase what I just did! All children grow up to learn these things eventually and I doubt anyone (including Carol Affleck) hasn’t dreamt of being able to start the day over. Unhealthy? I think not.

In the future, television habits will have to be taken into account eventually. Lessons in school might have to be shorter or more interactive. However, parents are more responsible than ever to make sure their children get a healthy upbringing in the world of bigger, better, faster next-generation TV. 

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~ by Ines Schumacher on 28 April 2008.

2 Responses to “Technology rots kids’ minds”

  1. I would disagree with the idea that video games decrease a person’s ability to think and concentrate – even the mindless action ones you refer to. I have been playing computer games since I was 10 – on the very first 486 PC. I still play games today and attribute my well-developed hand-eye-coordination to gaming. This has been useful in playing sport and driving on dodgy roads. I would even attribute some of my general knowledge to gaming – especially of ancient history and mythology, thanks to games like Sid Meier’s Civilization.

    I would agree that TV, on the other hand, kills the brain, as one can sit in front of it and mindlessly and absorb whatever is shown in front of you. At least with gaming there is choice and little more free will.

    Your gaming fan and TV’s enemy
    Inspector Gadget

  2. I totally agree with you! I am a huge gaming fan and the latest games (e.g. Oblivion – ok no so new anymore!) allow increased flexibility and a wide array of choices.

    My general knowledge has been boosted as well: although it gets a bit awkward when you explain that you know what a “scarab” is from a Pink Panther computer game! 🙂

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