In a recent OECD report we learn that children who spend loads of time at their computer are more likely to excel in subjects such as maths, science subjects and reading. According to the Irish Independent the report states children do not have to use their time studying high brow subjects to improve the might of their growing brains.
It seems the playing of games, sending emails, using the internet search engines is enough to improve their brain capacity to levels way above their previous generations.This is of course good news.
However for many parents, deluged by often conflicting advice on how to raise their children, it presents some more dilemmas.
The first one is of course the growing debate on the increasing levels of obesity among young children, with the blame clearly laid at the door of internet technology. It is well known that children are much more tempted to sit at their computer, or game consoles rather than seek the fresh air riding their bicycles, or playing real games in the park.The reasons why such sedentary activity is good for the brain are not clear. It may be the case that using computers requires some degree of literacy and calculation, or it is more likely to stem from the basic fact that this is one area they are better at than their parents.
For many parents the computer is a bit like the phone for the older generation who felt that in order to be heard they needed to shout at their loudest down the line in order to be heard.This latter reason effectively gives them huge freedom to make errors without reprimand.
And after all the practice of making mistakes is the best learning model there is.T
The next dilemma is the fear that young people lock into chat rooms of dubious intention. Examples of children, particularly young teenage girls, succumbing to the trickery of perverts abound, and must be guarded against.But then children have always faced dangers. Remember poor Hansel and Gretel, or even Little Red Riding Hood.
The reality is that children need to master new information technology, and that means access to home computers. Clearly the lack of home computers available to poor households places those young people at some disadvantage. It is of some help that more schools have as a basic necessity the facility to make available to their pupils this technology. However it does remain a challenge to ensure that a digital divide does not emerge because of low income.
The second reality is that while sitting at the computer may swell the capacity of the brain, it will also enlarge the posterior not to mention put in jeopardy the future health of the child.
So clearly it would be extremely useful if when purchasing the computer, a parallel investment in the activity arena is made with equal enthusiasm