Kids and Computers apparently good for each other.

SAN FRANCISCO -- Rather than wasting their time, children who gab on Facebook or play online games are gaining valuable social skills and learning some technology basics, according to a study to be released today.

The report, sponsored by the MacArthur Foundation, contradicts the idea held by many educators, parents and policymakers that children should be blocked from online social networks and video games like Halo, which allow users in different locations to play together. Instead, children should be encouraged to use the technologies to gain a certain level of digital literacy, the study said.


One thing I've noticed is that kids can't get enough of computers - even for learning tools. But our eldest is learning restraint as if he seems 'emotional" about his computer use then we immediately shut it down. He has to be able to take or leave it.

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Comment by Matt Johnston on November 24, 2008 at 10:24
Hi Priya,
My opinion sways with *any* social interaction is good compared to watching a kid get zoned out on TV or games which do not have a social element. Our 7 year old would quite happy work away on his DS or the Wii and never speak to anyone and it's something we've learned to watch and control. Even if he's playing ToonTown rather than the Wii, the social element is present though severely stunted.

I would suggest that the difference in personality IRL as opposed to virtually probably affects those of us who didn't grow up with it more. We see a difference because there is a difference. When you intuitively blur the lines between face to face, phone, online, SMS interaction because that's all you have known, your behaviours will standardise across the media. In my opinion.
Comment by Priya Bhakta on November 24, 2008 at 10:02
Hi Matt,

I'm currently reading the report. I've always believed that that the internet is good for kids/people but at the same time I'm wondering how true it is that social networking sites and online games do enhance basic social skills - the online persona can be very different to the real life persona. There is that 'unreality' online - less so if you are talking to people you know IRL (the report states that the majority of youth use the internet to extend existing friendships) - but never the less I think having the barrier there will affect the way people are.

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