Mona Younes one of our counselors added a few points to the answer, focusing on the interesting issue of computer games alternatives:
Over the past few years, computers have become a vastly popular household item. Our childrens’ lives are already being influenced by technology, and this is just the beginning. Like any other modern device, computers have their advantages and their disadvantages. Actually, it is the way we deal with the device that decides whether it is going to have a negative or a positive effect. I just wanted to turn your attention to an alternative that you may not have thought about so far.
Why not use your kids’ interest and attraction to computers and introduce them to the lovely world of educational games. In doing so, you will be minimizing, or at least decreasing, the effect of excessive violence dominant in most computer games, and also you will be decreasing your fear by knowing that they are out there doing something beneficial for their intellectual development. However, even when parents introduce educational games to their kids, they have to be careful, as this means they are leaving the learning up to the computers and spending less quality-time with their children.
The most important learning step for children is interaction with others. If they are sitting in front of the screen all day, they do not learn to share, wait their turn, or even something as simple as manners. Children need to be in contact with other children, adults, and animals. They need to experience things first-hand, not off a computer screen. Computers are the wave of the future, but old-fashioned learning techniques should not be forgotten. A child needs to interact physically with other people and not learn everything from computers.
Why did I suggest turning to the alternative of attracting your kids to educational games? Simply because there are some valuable benefits your kids may gain using modern educational software: </ahref=”>
- Good educational software can enable children to develop and practice a broad range of skills. It can help them learn, for example, about letters, numbers, shapes, colors, and rhythm.
- Good software can also help children develop their understanding of cause and effect, higher order problem solving, procedural thinking, and creative expression. Today, the wide range of multimedia available for kids in India is really amazing.
- By using a computer, children develop self-confidence and self-esteem as they master computer skills and use the computer to make things happen. This also gives them a reason to smile!
However, on the other hand, computers are very engaging and can exercise a strong holding-power on children. Since we do not yet understand the impact of this power, we need to monitor the amount of time a child spends in front of a computer. If the software is not age-appropriate, children are likely to become frustrated and associate a computer with failure. Kids with access to software that is not age-appropriate may be exposed to such negative influences as violence, strong language, and over-stimulation from fast-action graphics.
Frequent and prolonged computer sessions may pose physical health risks for children. The most frequently cited risks are visual strain, harmful effects of radiation, and postural and skeletal problems. In the case of normal usage and normal operating conditions, however, research has shown that computer monitors are safe, they do not compromise the health of our eyes, and they do not emit significant amounts of harmful radiation. What does seem to pose a hazard is the strain placed on a child’s posture and skeleton structure if he or she consistently uses a computer set-up designed for an adult.
Remember, actively involved parents can control most of the drawbacks. This puts even greater responsibility on parents to be vigilant and conservative in their judgment about their children’s computer usage. A regular and constant watch is very necessary, especially regarding the Internet.
Most of all, always remember this, Computers supplement and do not replace highly valued childhood activities and materials, such as art, blocks, sand, water, books, exploration with writing materials, and dramatic play. In other words, the computer is an enrichment tool for enhancing readiness skills, problem-solving, and creative expression. If used in a proper way, computers add another dimension to concrete exploration and expression such as playing with sand, puzzles, and crayons.