Another interesting story this time from the BBC website; “The rise of the cyber-children”
It asks powerful and profound questions like; “What is the best age to introduce chilren to using computers?” and “Would it give the child an advantage or a head-start?”
In the UK, children as young as 18 months to two-and-a-half years old have started to use the computer keyboard and mouse, according to the report. It adds,
Worldwide research on very young children and their use of IT is limited, but one recent report from Sheffield University in the UK called Digital Beginnings makes for interesting reading.
For instance by the age of four, 45% of children have used a mouse to point and click, 27% have used a computer on their own at home, rising to 53% for six-year-olds, and 30% have looked at websites for children at home.
Well, that’s in the United Kingdom, I wonder what are the figures are here in the Philippines? Then again more questions pop in my mind like, “How many Filipino kids have access to computers?” “How young are those Filipino kids?” “What do they do with the computer or have they experienced the internet already?” “Do they use Windows or Mac? Have they ever seen nor used Linux before?” “Do they become smarter or perform better than others?” These are just some questions racing in my mind regarding the subject of children and computers.
In my opinion, based on my own childhood experience, studies and observations, I do not agree on starting children as young as 18 months to 2 years in using the computer. Even if they use software and programs custom-made or intended for children’s education and skill levels, it’s still not a good idea especially if one is in keeping interest of the child’s development. I say, again based on my own experience which I would share on a follow up post, to wait until they have grown tired of their toys then give them the computer or wait until it becomes a necessity for them to learn to use the computer because of the need for making school projects or research via the internet easier.
Aside from the bright colors, moving pictures, graphics, cool sounds and the occassional vibrations from the mouse (if you have one that is equipped with such feature) what other stimulation could a child get from a box, a stripped-down typerwriter, a monitor screen and a device named after one of the filthiest creatures on the planet?
Compare that to the stimulation a child could get from a set of building blocks, puzzles, even a ball of clay or some quality time with mommy and daddy. If you’re a parent or an older sibling wanting to fully develop the creative mind and motor skills of a child, would you push him/her in front of a modified version of the ‘idiot box’?
In my next post, I’ll reinforce my stand by sharing with you my own childhood experience regarding computers and child development.