Letters to the Editor

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EDUCATION: Limit students’ computer time

Letter by Jacob Braun, University Place on June 14, 2012 at 1:36 pm with 13 Comments »
June 14, 2012 2:06 pm

We’ve all heard or seen signs that children’s screen time should be limited to two hours per day. Too much screen time can ruin creative thinking and handwriting skills. Most parents and experts agree that exceeding the two-hour limit is dangerous to the mental health of children.

Why, then, do schools have their students spend so much time on computers in class? The time spent on Internet research, YouTube videos, smart board and power point presentations, and online tests, adds up to a little over two hours a day.

Baroness Susan Greenfield, a professor in brain neurology, says, “Working on computers prevents the brain from learning properly, and can lead to addiction to drugs and gambling in later life.” I bet parents are startled to discover that their children’s mental health is at risk.

In a press release, Sen. Maria Cantwell says that “computers in classrooms help students prepare to succeed in an economy heavily dependent on technology.” However, in the Silicon Valley Waldorf School, there is no technology – just paper and pencils – and the students grow up to become prosperous in businesses.

Exposure may be a good idea, but research shows that at a younger age than high school, it could do more harm than good. There should be little or no computer exposure for grade school students – just books and pencils. This will make children’s futures much brighter and will save schools thousands of dollars.

Leave a comment Comments → 13
  1. Theefrinker says:

    tha fewcher duz sertinly look bleek. i relly wish their wuz mor enfisis on english profishincy.

  2. Jacob, you are so right but don’t blame the schools. Blame the Bill Gates and Michelle Ree’s who want to increase class sizes to the 100’s and plop the kids infront of a computer all day. Teachers would rather see penmanship, and active learning NOT plopping the kids infront of a computer/ baby sitter. They’d rather have tests be on paper and not on computer because for one reason, not all schools have a computer for every kid and it becomes disruptive to rotate a whole school around 30 computers.

  3. cclngthr says:

    Exposure may be a good idea, but research shows that at a younger age than high school, it could do more harm than good.

    What research are you referring to?

    As a teacher who has taught almost every grade, computer use is necessary and increasing due to what is required of students. A lot of information in books is dated and inaccurate due to that fact. Teachers also require papers be typewritten (on the computer) due to various reasons. Ease of readability and editing are 2 major reasons why papers are typed.

    I require students to use the most up to date information possible, which I verify if it meets that standard. I also require students to have access to any information possible. I also want students to research topics of their choosing which meets the criteria I set up for them, which allows more topics to be used in research papers.

    Internet access allows students more information as well as other forms of media they can put into their work. Insertion of video presentations and other media is possible in their presentations.

    Schools also can eReaders and this technology allows students access to material not found in standard books and non-technology means of information.

    Sure, the brain changes with this issue, but with more information available at the fingertips of people, the focus is not on basic research design, but sifting through various information in a critical way where critical thinking skills are a major component.

    In other areas of education, learning is enhanced through other forms of technology. People with autism have trouble interacting with people appropriately, and using computer games, they are learning interaction through the games as well as other game players.

  4. I call BS on too much computer time is bad for kids. My son who is going into the 10th grade spends a lot time on the computer for several years now and he’s a very creative writer. So creative, I had to tell him to tone it down. A lot of his elementary teacher predicted he would become a writer when he’s an adult.

  5. SwordofPerseus says:

    Limit TV to zero and let the kids have some out-door time. I believe that children today do spend too much time in front of the computer playing video games. The computer though has become integrated into the modern classroom and it makes sense to utilize them for up to the minute information for project research. Computers can replace the paper text books and save money and paper in the classroom. However if given the opportunity children do love to be outside playing and exercising. Kids need both computer skills and exercise it is up to the parents to decide and monitor how much each child needs and gets.

  6. Theefrinker says:

    SwordofPerseus, this is a lot of the kids’ fault though. When I was a kid, if I got in trouble, I COULDN’T go outside. Now, going outside is the punishment and games are restricted. It seems backwards. Unfortunately, most of today’s kids would actually prefer virtual interactions and activities, as opposed to real ones–and this seems to be fine and dandy to the parents (because that means less parenting for them).

  7. There is a lot more to the internet than chat rooms and comment boards. On my internet machine? I can take MIT classes for free. I can take Stanford classes for free. I can take University of Michigan classes for free. I can be tutored… for free. The interwebs are what you make of them. If you wanna stay on comment boards and porn, you can do that. If you wanna play solitaire and free cell all day? You can do that.

    But blaming your computer’s monitor for the way you choose to utilize the unlimited number of tools at your disposal? Wow.

  8. Don’t blame the kids for the lack of supervision their parents provide.

  9. Same as you can choose to watch snookie and them, or you can choose to watch learning shows on PBS or TLC or the history channel, etc…

    You can’t blame the machine for what you choose to watch on it.

  10. Is kindle a threat to society? kindle allows people to read book without a bunch of trees being chopped up and made into paper.

    Medical records…

    Sounds like fuddy-duddiness to me…

    You wanna tell kids to go out and play? I’m totally down for that, they need a whole lot more of it.

    But when the time for learning and study comes around? Don’t act like technology is a hinderance.

  11. concernedtacoma7 says:

    SoP- I agree. Get these little fatties away from the computer and outside.

  12. LIfe4Sale10Cents says:

    look who is saying “away from the computer”

  13. internet access allows students more information as well as other forms of media they can put into their work.

    And the cut/paste function makes plagiarism so much easier (as well as being able to identify it and bust the students on it).

    I require hard copy sources for the majority of sources cited. The internet is a wonderful source for a lot of information but it isn’t the only source and….oftentimes not the best source. Internet research (unless you are tapping into online research journals that the University Library subscribes to) is shallow and leads to academic laziness and shallow discourse.

    Being able to link all sorts of materials is all superficial gloss – not a replacement for deep thinking based upon good research and connecting ideas.

    I had to turn in typed assignments when I was a college student – and used my portable typewriter to do it. Typed assignments do not have to be computer generated. (“My printer doesn’t work” has replaced “the dog ate my essay” as an unbelievable excuse).

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