Computers are everywhere these days. No longer merely the tool of white-collar office tasks, it would be hard to find a business NOT using computers. Our auto mechanic has three of them – one to help diagnose the problem with the vehicle, another computer to list parts and prices, and another computer to ring up our sales. And now, if you’re really addicted to the social networking sites like Twitter and facebook, you can remain online through your cell phones.
School Computer Labs Are a Financial Drain
Schools all across the nation are urging for budget increases to purchase or upgrade their computer labs. They claim that our children absolutely have to be computer literate to function in the “real world”. I figure if that were true, then yes, a computer class for graduating seniors is a must. Unfortunately, anything a younger child is going to learn about computers now will be obsolete long before he nears graduation.
Public libraries have computer labs. Coffee shops offer high-speed internet while you get your caffeine fix. Restaurants, motels, even truck stops now offer internet access. Four years ago, a national survey found that seventy-six percent of the homes in the United States had at least one computer! Children spend an average of 5 hours a week on the computer, and another 14 hours a week watching television. If you figure in the time spent in school, in a car, or on a bus, or sleeping, surely you can see the problem. Children today spend less time in physical activity than ever before and childhood obesity is on the rise.
Plagiarism and Cheating Is Easy With a Computer
Schools need to teach children to read, write, and do arithmetic. Children need to learn to be responsible, resourceful, and respectful ( the real “three Rs”). Children need to learn to communicate, to express themselves, to develop their natural skills and talents. Children need to learn to make wise choices, to eat right, and to get regular daily exercise. They do not do any of that on a computer.
Computer Verses Flash Cards
Computers can help children practice reading skills or drill them on math facts, if used correctly. However, I saw many children in the public schools who were more interested in “playing the game” rather than learning the skill. Poor readers go through the multiple choice questions following the short paragraph they were supposed to have read and just click on answers arbitrarily. The law of averages says they’ll get at least a few right. When you put a $1500 computer next to a $2.00 deck of flash cards, the cheaper product actually does the better job.
Some studies suggest that children today are smarter than ever before, and they believe it is because they have access to computers. I question their tests. Are kids really smarter, or do they just have more useless facts crammed into their brains. Try giving an eighth grade final exam from 100 years ago to any high school graduating senior today. You may be shocked at just how poorly today’s student performs. I’ve had classrooms full of high school students who could not solve 2 times 4 equals what? without their calculator.
Children Need to Develop Social Skills
Instead of twittering, emailing, or chatting on Facebook, children should learn how to actually talk to people, to make an intelligent sentence, and develop social skills. Instead of wii sports, children should go outside and play. Little children want to use computers, because they see their parents using them. Little children want to imitate our actions in their dramatic play. So give them an old, broken one with which to play. Or better yet, give them a box and some markers and tell them to create their own toy “computer”!
Some other issues with preschoolers and computers include: most homes have adult computers at adult desks with adult sized chairs. Some researchers suggest that small children are at risk of damaging their muscles and ligaments by sitting for extended periods of time at a poorly fitting desk. The small type of the computer screen can affect their vision, cause eye strain and headaches. And there is the danger of using the computer as a babysitter, taking away one-on-one time spent boding with the child.