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How Much Tech Can Kids Take?

Soulskill posted more than 2 years ago | from the cybernetic-implants-are-unsuitable-for-infants dept.

Education 240

Barence writes "Are today's children facing technology overload, or simply gearing themselves up for life in a digital world? This article examines the effects of exposing children to technology at a young age. Researchers warn of the potential dangers of too much 'screen time,' pointing to alarming (some say scaremongering) research that suggests over-exposure leads to an increased risk of developing autism and Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder. Educators, meanwhile, highlight how technology can improve interaction between child and parent, and provide essential life skills, such as enhanced communication and multitasking. Parents are left with conflicting messages — but how much technology is too much technology for children?"

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Common sense (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38129576)

It all comes down to common sense. It has never been said that raising children should be easy.

Re:Common sense (3)

Eponymous Hero (2090636) | more than 2 years ago | (#38130290)

common what? are you high?

Re:Common sense (0, Flamebait)

Marxist Hacker 42 (638312) | more than 2 years ago | (#38130452)

Autism is not a disorder. It is the next stage of human evolution.

Re:Common sense (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38130484)

This is what retards with assburgers disease actually believe.

It depends on the kid (1, Offtopic)

dev542 (2513568) | more than 2 years ago | (#38129598)

I was writing programs when I was 10 years old.
This kid [evenweb.com] actually won an international programming contest when he was 6 years old.

Re:It depends on the kid (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38129708)

Same and I played those violent video games my entire life too... now I'm bald. Must be a correlation.

Re:It depends on the kid (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38129748)

Exactly right. You turned your brain on using a computer; some kids turn their brains off.

Re:Do yourself a favor... (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38129790)

Don't follow the link, it's another goatse.

10 PRINT "Shock!"; 20 GOATSE 10 (1)

Dogtanian (588974) | more than 2 years ago | (#38129900)

This kid [evenweb.com] actually won an international programming contest when he was 6 years old.

Don't follow the link, it's another goatse.

Oh my God! You mean... the Goatse man won a programming contest when he was six years old?!

I'm sure this says something about programming, just not what. Not sure that I want to know either :-O

Re:It depends on the kid (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38129844)

Definitely depends on the kid and how they react to it. I started using my family's computer when I was just slightly older than 2. From around 4-6, I wasn't in school yet and my parents worked all day so I was at my grandmother's house, and I basically sat on the computer there ALL day. From then on I've been on the computer a hell of a lot. And I think so far I've turned out okay. I'm not crazy, I still understand the physical world, I've had excellent grades, etc. Being constantly on the computer was probably a big benefit-- I'm fairly certain that's how I learned to read in the first place. I did have myself tested recently due to some issues I have been having in college-- no sign of ADHD but I did find out I have Asperger's Syndrome. Probably not related to the computer though, as my brother also has it, far worse, and he definitely had less "screen time" growing up.

Re:It depends on the kid (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38130654)

Assburgers disease = mental retardation. Stop acting like it means you're more intelligent, you're just another nutjob who thinks he's brilliant. Not being able to talk to people is not a fucking superpower, you hypochondriac piece of shit.

We must shield our children (4, Funny)

Pastor Jake (2510522) | more than 2 years ago | (#38129614)

Friends,

Our children are being exposed to the trash on the internet at younger and younger ages, and it is time to stop. Their bodies grow to unhealthy weights while their moral compasses shrivel. We must restrict their access to technology until they are old enough to handle it. Thankfully, our dual-party system has come together to propose government filtering of the internet in the form of SOPA. This will help parents who are too tech-illiterate to shield their kids from the dangers of the internet.

Your Brother,
Jake

Re:We must shield our children (0)

postbigbang (761081) | more than 2 years ago | (#38129638)

You're not my brother, and while there's trash on the Internet, parents do their best. Your defense of SOPA for censorship is incipit.

Re:We must shield our children (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38129856)

Whoosh. Whoosh-whoosh! Whoosh-whoosh-whoosh!!!

Re:We must shield our children (1)

postbigbang (761081) | more than 2 years ago | (#38130050)

I had a feeling about that.....

Re:We must shield our children (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38130384)

See: Poe's Law.

And thanks for the contributing comment.

Re:We must shield our children (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38130506)

It's "insipid" you moron. God help you if you ever pronounce that word the way you think it's written.

They could take as much tech... (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38129634)

How much tech can a tech kid take, if a tech kid can take tech?

Well they would take as much tech as a tech kid takes, if a tech kid can take tech!

Re:They could take as much tech... (1)

ISoldat53 (977164) | more than 2 years ago | (#38129976)

I saw a new book in the book store, "Goodnight iPad" , a spoof on "Goodnight Moon."

As a techie and a parent (5, Interesting)

NewWorldDan (899800) | more than 2 years ago | (#38129644)

I'm not terribly worried. My kid is 8. She's a gamer. She loves getting email from grandma. And if she spends too much time in front of the screen, she eventually will get up and find a friend to play with. She's had her own PC since she was 3. She also plays softball, soccer, and chess. Generally, she only resorts to the tv or computer when she can't find a friend. She's an only child, so this is somewhat of a concern, but so far, hasn't been a problem.

Re:As a techie and a parent (5, Insightful)

Fluffeh (1273756) | more than 2 years ago | (#38129854)

She's had her own PC since she was 3. She also plays softball, soccer, and chess.

And I think that is the silver bullet right there. It's not so much a case of "technology is baaaaadddd!" but rather all things are good in moderation. This means it is excellent for kids to have some exposure to technology as this is a wonderful way to learn logical thinking and problem solving, but these two things alone do not make a person. Children need social interaction, and this means spending time with parents, siblings or other children and interacting with them. This will give them many other valuable life skills that they need.

When I was young, I was programming at the age of ten, but at the same time, my parents in their wisdom limited my time in front of the PC (okay, Amiga at the time) and I spent a lot of time with my father, with neighbourhood kids and doing simple things like taking the dog for a walk - or my favorite passtime back then, reading. I am very glad that I had access to technology from that young age, it has gave me the foundation that I have built my career on, but I am also very grateful that I wasn't allowed to utterly sink into my own little PC world. I see a lot of programmers or other IT professionals who are much better at what they do than I would be, but they lack the social skills to be able to truly thrive in the workplace. I think that due to these shortcomings many of these folks are doomed to live out the stereotypes that shows like the IT Crowd love to mock (in a nice way).

Re:As a techie and a parent (2)

cheekyjohnson (1873388) | more than 2 years ago | (#38129936)

Children need social interaction

That depends on whether they want it or not (and, as far as I know, social interaction isn't absolutely necessary for anyone). "Valuable" is subjective.

Re:As a techie and a parent (1)

smudj (1983234) | more than 2 years ago | (#38130006)

that explains the complete lack of respect and manners in the last few generations then

Re:As a techie and a parent (5, Insightful)

vadim_t (324782) | more than 2 years ago | (#38130356)

The children now love luxury; they have bad manners, contempt for authority; they show disrespect for elders and love chatter in place of exercise. Children are now tyrants, not the servants of their households. They no longer rise when elders enter the room. They contradict their parents, chatter before company, gobble up dainties at the table, cross their legs, and tyrannize their teachers.
  -- Socrates

Every single generation seems to have been saying the same thing.

Re:As a techie and a parent (5, Interesting)

tlhIngan (30335) | more than 2 years ago | (#38130094)

That depends on whether they want it or not (and, as far as I know, social interaction isn't absolutely necessary for anyone). "Valuable" is subjective.

Being that humans are natually social beings (things like "cabin fever" erupt without it), it is essential.

Now, the question is whether face to face interaction is necessary to be social, or one can be social through technology (email, social sites, video/voice/text chat) remains to be answered. I'm guessing the answer is "everything in moderation". Some face to face is essential, because there will always be face to face interactions - even if it's just with the mailman for a package, and there may be times one is thrust into needing to interact, so proper behaviour and expectations in such situations is a necessity. (E.g., if you desire to have a family. Or maybe you need to ask for help with some task, or broke down at the side of the street and need to call a tow truck).

Those who don't seek social interaction are known as recluse, and there's a reason why there's a negative connotation associated with the term.

Hell, the act of reading and writing posts on /. is a social activity.

Re:As a techie and a parent (5, Insightful)

hedwards (940851) | more than 2 years ago | (#38130502)

You're right it depends, do you want the kid to be socially crippled or not. It's getting harder and harder to find jobs that don't require one to play well with others. Hell, even engineers, those bastions of social interaction, are being expected to work on teams for most projects.

I don't personally like it, but it's reality, if you've kids that are socially inept their earning power and quality of life is going to reflect that.

Re:As a techie and a parent (4, Funny)

cheeks5965 (1682996) | more than 2 years ago | (#38130024)

And if she spends too much time in front of the screen, she eventually will get up and find a friend to play with.

That's so sad... I hope that eventually she finds a friend.

Re:As a software engineer and a parent (2, Interesting)

einhverfr (238914) | more than 2 years ago | (#38130642)

As a techie and a parent with ADD I am a little more concerned. There are strong reasons to think that TV time is linked to ADD, and I don't see why computers would be different.

Indeed I have been using redshift on my Linux laptop now for a bit over a week and have found my own ADD greatly helped by the software's color shifting, suggesting to me that the color balance (too much blue in particular) may be partly to blame. We already know this affects other parts of the human brain and can affect sleep. However my experience is that at least for those of us with genetic predispositions for ADD (my dad and my grandfather both have or had it), the color balance may in fact be a factor.

The fact is, the pace of change is very high and it takes years or decades to notice the effect. I think we are generally better holding off and exposing kids later, and also drastically reducing the amount of screen time (whether computer or tv) that kids get.

Kids is too broad (5, Interesting)

spopepro (1302967) | more than 2 years ago | (#38129660)

Researchers have known for years that there are certain windows of brain development where learning is best supported, and how other activities aren't so helpful. Language acquisition and music have their sweet spot right around 3-6 years of age. It is likely that the skills that using tech best supports are much later in the development of childrens' minds (like logic, problem solving). It shouldn't be surprising that early childhood subjects only use tech as entertainment, and learn little from it. But children, of age 10 or so, can benefit greatly from having exposure to tech in an interactive manner. This is supported by places like Finland, where they don't teach "hard" subjects or tech in early childhood, but rather stress movement, creative play and social interaction at school, leaving other subjects for when they are most appropriate.

Overloaded or Preparing for Future? Neither! (4, Insightful)

Zaphod The 42nd (1205578) | more than 2 years ago | (#38129670)

Who says kids have to be either overloaded by technology or wisely preparing for the future? How about a third option, like, kids aren't overloaded, they're fine, but they aren't necessarily "preparing", they're just doing what is fun and what is practical. They're KIDS, relax! Just let them play. Luddites need to calm down.

Does Television cause Autism? Everybody used to be so in arms about letting kids watch too much TV, it'll rot their brains out. Now we grew up and we all watch TV, but ooh, videogames and the internet will rot your brain! Its just society adapting to itself as always, you've got the early-adopters and you've got the naysayers.

Re:Overloaded or Preparing for Future? Neither! (4, Interesting)

MozeeToby (1163751) | more than 2 years ago | (#38129788)

My single concern is that there's lots of research that says the best thing kids can do to improve success later on in life is what is known as "undirected play" (a.k.a. recess). I doubt the play has to be physical in nature, but I suspect to see the benefits you want activities that allow kids to decide on their own (or as a group) who to play with, how to play, where to play, and what the rules are. These are not things that today's games are generally good at, ironically and especially true in the 'kids' games genres.

Re:Overloaded or Preparing for Future? Neither! (1)

Zaphod The 42nd (1205578) | more than 2 years ago | (#38130416)

TFA isn't just about kids playing videogames though, they're talking about all technology in general. The internet, iPads, iPods, iPhones, etc. I'll agree that videogames do have a way to go, but the majority of AAA video games are aimed at the 18-30 male market, not kids. (contrary to popular belief?) Because Nintendo targets children more, they've always been hesitant to include online multiplayer and have been the slowest to adapt. The games industry just needs better multiplayer experiences for children.

When I was a kid, I went to an experimental school where they let all us kids have laptops, we could even take them home. Mind you, this was the 90s, so that was unbelievable at the time. And I loved it. I remember playing with emails and the command line and feeling like a hacker, and kid pix was mind blowing. Now I'm a software engineer. :) I think my early experience with technology was extremely beneficial, I've always had an aptitude for computers. On the other hand, I can't see any way in which introduction to computing at a very young age held me back. I had an NES when I was really young, and can't imagine it somehow being damaging to development. I played with my friends and it was interesting to get to play with technology and think about the possibilities.

Re:Overloaded or Preparing for Future? Neither! (4, Interesting)

GrpA (691294) | more than 2 years ago | (#38130310)

Actually, being online helped my child *with Autism*...

The computer provides a safe and effective way for him to interact with other people and stimulate his mind. Having access to a computer at all times since he was about 3 has been a huge help to him and is one of the reason he is now diagnosed as "no longer needing assistance". It has taught him to spell well and helped him with communication skills which was an area in which he was seriously affected.

The people behind this research seem to have an agenda to push and the article does not examine any links between autism and technology at all - it just says technology causes it...

I'm surprised the magazine behind the OP printed these views at all. I guess even PC magazines have reached "Tabloid" status in the UK. :(

GrpA

Re:Overloaded or Preparing for Future? Neither! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38130432)

Ummm.... TV HAS rotted everyone's brains. And the Internet IS continuing the rot.

Re:Overloaded or Preparing for Future? Neither! (1)

Lemmy Caution (8378) | more than 2 years ago | (#38130488)

I think "don't worry, it's all OK" is a bigger problem than panic among geeks right now. Television has had an effect on at least two generations of children: look at the difference in the kind of academic rigor that could be expected of children before the television age with those after. All the use of these media technologies during core developmental years is essentially a huge, uncontrolled experiment on children.

If you look at the people who succeed in our society, it's generally those whose parents kept them away from a lot of this technology in those core years. I'm not a luddite - I like games and I like the internet, but I'm not whistling in the dark, either. Human attention is a complicated system..

Re:Overloaded or Preparing for Future? Neither! (1)

Zaphod The 42nd (1205578) | more than 2 years ago | (#38130528)

There's no way you can attribute generations of cultural change entirely to the technology of the television. That is ludicrous. A WHOLE LOT of other things happened too, ya know.

If you look at the people who succeed in our society, it's generally those whose parents kept them away from a lot of this technology in those core years.

[citation required]. I would love to see ANY data on this, whatsoever. Are you talking about people like Bill Gates, Sergey Brin, Larry Page, Steve Wozniak, or.. ANYBODY? They were immensely successful, and hey, they all used computers at a young age! So, I call shenanigans, sir.

Re:Overloaded or Preparing for Future? Neither! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38130646)

Please, please, PLEASE stop using the term [citation required], Theres no documented scientific analysis that talks about this. Merely research to attempt to figure things out. We'll give you the citation once we have the answers to everything.

Meanwhile, we know what effected us individually. All that aside, a computer back in the 70's was worlds different than a computer today. You had to think to use them back then, while today you merely remember where the mouse cursor is when that happy feeling happens and try to put the mouse back into that position again.

Re:Overloaded or Preparing for Future? Neither! (1)

llamapater (1542875) | more than 2 years ago | (#38130706)

a citation wouldn't hurt that assertion >.>

can develop autism?? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38129702)

So vaccinated kids that are also exposed to tech have twice the risk of developing autism? Maybe breathing can increase your risk also?

Many Factors (4, Interesting)

CanHasDIY (1672858) | more than 2 years ago | (#38129716)

Made up ailments aside (Yes, I believe ADHD, along with a host of other "new diseases," are totally nonexistent and serve only to fatten the wallets of the healthcare industry fatcats by getting humans hooked on their products as early as possible, thus creating entire generations of addicted "customers"), one would have to weigh the individual pro's and con's, and come up with their own determination.

Personally, I would not let my kids (if I had any) spend their entire existence in front of some sort of screen, allowing corporations to raise my kids for me. Of course, when it comes to education I can see certain advantages over the technology (or lack thereof) used back in my day; kids could be reading the latest history as it is being made, as opposed to textbooks that still refer to Reagan as the sitting President. But again, that goes back to the whole 'corporate control' issue; who decides what goes into a history etextbook? Actual, educated historians, or the salespeople and marketers at Houghton-Mifflin?

Re:Many Factors (1)

bobjr94 (1120555) | more than 2 years ago | (#38129908)

I agree there. I think adhd is what happens to kids who are raised by a tv, they always expect something always flash and exciting to be happening in front of them. When its not they go crazy since they have no attention span. Not a real medical issue, just the outcome of how they were raised and devolved at an early age.

Re:Many Factors (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38129998)

I agree there. I think adhd is what happens to kids who are raised by a tv, they always expect something always flash and exciting to be happening in front of them. When its not they go crazy since they have no attention span.

That's ADD not ADHD, ADHD actually effects the way the brain operates, if the brain wave patterns are not affected it is ADD. http://newideas.net/adhd/neurology

Re:Many Factors (2)

CanHasDIY (1672858) | more than 2 years ago | (#38130234)

That's ADD not ADHD, ADHD actually effects the way the brain operates, if the brain wave patterns are not affected it is ADD. http://newideas.net/adhd/neurology [newideas.net]

Some advice - when attempting to argue that an ailment is real and not a fabrication of the pharmaceutical lobby, you may want to avoid linking to a website that exists for the sole purpose of peddling pharmaceuticals...

Re:Many Factors (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38129910)

Made up ailments aside (Yes, I believe ADHD, along with a host of other "new diseases," are totally nonexistent and serve only to fatten the wallets of the healthcare industry fatcats by getting humans hooked on their products as early as possible, thus creating entire generations of addicted "customers")

You obviously have no kids, or been around a child that has true ADHD. yes i do agree that ADHD is heavily over diagnosed, but there are children and adults who have an honest to god uncontrollable disease, ADHD. Get off your political high horse, and holier than thou BS. THe world is only out to screw you if you let it; it's like waking up every morning and saying "I'm going to die today" eventually your gonna be right, screw the 21900 days you were wrong, you were right once. FYI that's .004 percent of the time your right.

Re:Many Factors (1)

hedwards (940851) | more than 2 years ago | (#38130536)

Precisely, ADHD is almost certainly overdiagnosed at this point, but it clearly does exist. I'm sure that there are cases where other issues inadvertently get diagnosed as ADHD, but it's hard to explain away the people who genuinely want to be organized and in control of their focus for which nothing but medication helps.

Same tends to go for other trendy diagnoses as well. Carpal Tunnel Syndrome was heavily diagnosed in the 90s and mysteriously the rate has plummeted in the last decade or so.

Re:Many Factors (1)

Tastecicles (1153671) | more than 2 years ago | (#38129932)

back in my days in school, the books referred to Edward Heath as British PM... this was the Eighties. Just a TAD out of date.

Re:Many Factors (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38130218)

Ok, lets say that ADHD is a made up diseases.

Why does giving these kids amphetamines make them calmer?

Why would other kids freak the fuck out if they were given amphetamines?

When the cure is that clear cut, it is hard to argue that it is not solving a disease.

Re:Many Factors (5, Interesting)

0100010001010011 (652467) | more than 2 years ago | (#38130606)

I'd really be interested in hearing your "ADHD doesn't exist" argument. Because you've obviously never dealt with anyone with it and obviously don't have it yourself.

I find the suggestion that computer time 'causes' ADHD laughable because it's a difference in brain chemistry. Amphetamines calm us down. I met a guy that when he was 'up' would take a small hit of meth and sit down and paint. Alcohol makes me hyper. Amphetamines settle me down. Long before there was a computer in our house my mom knew she had to watch what she gave me.

The main argument against ADHD is "Well duh. I can obviously pay attention to stuff I like." Yes. I can easily app attention to something I like. I can go into a piece of code or a project and come out 12 hours later having not moved, eaten or done anything but what I threw my self into. The problem with the ADHD brain is you can't relax.

Since this is /., I'll probably catch some trollols "OMG U TUCH GURL!" But this is the most apt example I can come up with: If I'm giving a back massage or concentrating on actually DOING something. I can pay attention no problem. The problem comes when it's my turn to relax. It doesn't happen. Sure the return back massage feels great but, what was that last piece of code I was working on How od you calculate the sum of squares in a graeco-latin experiment design I wonder how I can implement that on my TI-89. I wonder if there is anything like this matlab function in the TI-89. I'll probably have to write my own. TI-89 what a shitty calculator. It came out in 1998 In 1998 my cellphone sucked and my android does so much more Why doesn't TI update their product line. Oh crap getting back massage try to relax, relax, why can't I relax, oh yeah that stats test. Stats is such an easy class what class am I taking next semester. Next semester do I have enough money to cover it. All in the span of a minute or two.

Cleaning the house doesn't get done because my mind jumps like that. "Oh, this be longs in the garage" Go to the garage. Start to put it away and find in the garage that needs to go somewhere. Eventually bouncing around the entire house doing 'nothing' and putting away small stuff.

If I'm with my girlfriend and we're talking about something in the car I can be 5-10 subjects away when I break the silence a minute later and say something and get some odd looks. Because she assumes we're still talking about the one thing we were talking about or something very similar. Hell in the time it's taken me to finally write this post I've opened 20 Fark tabs, read those topics. Started responses in those threads. Opened a few XBMC Forum threads. Put those in another window. Checked my bank statements and still have 2 dozen tabs open. Put the Chili in the fridge. Found something in the fridge I wanted to reheat. Put it in the microwave. Got distracted waiting for it to finish and started laundry.

When I'm on my meds it's a noticeable difference. I'll start in one corner of a room and knock it out like it's nothing. I'll write posts in one response. I can sit down and do ONE thing to completion or near completion. And I didn't have a computer in the house until High School. I made it through college all on my own. I finally went to the family doctor at 27 and got on Welbutrin. It's not an amphetamine and they're not really sure why it works for ADHD, but I can tell you it's made a big difference in my life at home and at work.

So fuck you and everyone else who thinks its made up. Why not go around the old folks home and yell at the alzheimers patients about their 'made up disease'

Re:Many Factors (1)

NeutronCowboy (896098) | more than 2 years ago | (#38130744)

Gah. If ever there's something that deserves +5, Informative, it is this. The only thing worse than the people who think some 5 year old kid running around during recess has ADHD are the people who think that everyone is exactly like they are, and ADHD is just a made-up "disease".

Answer (1)

Verdatum (1257828) | more than 2 years ago | (#38129734)

Kids can take ALL the tech!!

Kids these days... (2, Funny)

SJHillman (1966756) | more than 2 years ago | (#38129760)

Kids will take as much tech as they can hide in their baggy pants without being caught

Re:Kids these days... (2)

swanzilla (1458281) | more than 2 years ago | (#38130314)

Now that they all have skinny jeans and giant Beiber hairdos, look for a downturn in this metric.

The effects of externalizing cognition (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38129766)

ADHD: The new normal.

What we're seeing are the effects of something that no generation in the history of mankind has ever had to deal with: children who can legitimately depend on other devices to do things that heretofore were the exclusive domain of the well-trained brain. No generation has ever grown up with this level of technology integrated into their daily lives.

Re:The effects of externalizing cognition (1)

hedwards (940851) | more than 2 years ago | (#38130594)

I disagree, the human brain is still a lot faster than these computerized gadgets are. Compare calculating the trajectory of a flying object in your head versus on a computer and you'll see what I mean. Our brains do it almost instantaneously in cases where we are likely to need to do it and yet it takes a computer a lot longer to get you the same information.

Now, if you work for NASA or the DoD and are calculating fast moving objects over long distances then technology has the edge, but for most people it's both over kill and slower.

Internet grows on trees (2)

bobjr94 (1120555) | more than 2 years ago | (#38129818)

We live out in the country and were stuck with satellite internet, we recently got custody of our 2 nieces (6 and 9 then) and they kept asking about online gaming and watching streaming netflix . They just could not understand why that dosent work at our house or what a 350mb daily download limit pr ping times of 1300 mean. They have had broadband their whole life and think the internet is just everywhere and always has been.

TV is the worst.. (4, Interesting)

bmajik (96670) | more than 2 years ago | (#38129862)

On the occasions where my 4 year old is somewhere that he watches TV, the way he looks and acts while doing it just makes my heart sink.

He doesn't move. He is completely fixated on the screen. He needs me to make several attempts before his attention is diverted from the screen. He can look away breifly to talk to you but is trying to glance back at the screen.

We have no TV service and no occasion for him to watch TV. We do have a small handful of movies we let him watch occasionally.

One thing that he enjoys and that we let him do (usually one or two days a week) is watch the "Mighty Machines" movies, some of which you can stream off netflix. These are at least modestly interesting, as he is very interested in machines of all types.

Another thing we do together is watch youtube videos of things hes interested in. Whether its trains or rockets or consturction equipment or car racing -- theres always something your child is interested in and usually a youtube video of it. But that is a two-person activity -- you and your child can ask questions about what you are watching, pause, replay, etc.

The best thing you can do for your kids is read to them constantly, in an interactive way From an early age. Ask them what things are in books they know. Ask them more questions about the world their books create.

Listen to the questions they ask. Never tell them to shut up when they are asking questions.

When you say "I don't know", make sure you control your tone. Your tone should say "I don't know the answer to that, but now that you mention it, I'm curious too!" instead of "your question isn't important enough to answer"

My 4 year old is an excellent reader, quite good at adding, counting by intervals, subtraction, etc. He likes to play "Angry Birds" on my wifes phone, although we limit that quite heavily. He knows how to login to my desktop machine, start up mspaint, start up wordpad, etc. He has some "Jumpstart" edu-games that he can play by himself.

We limit how much computer time he gets --- even when it is educational software.

I don't think anything (Besides normal TV) is intrinsically bad for kids in reasonable amounts. What parents should NOT do is use technology to babysit. What parents and kids benefit from is a variety of different experiences, all in reasonable duration and frequency.

Re:TV is the worst.. (1)

LeanSystems (2513566) | more than 2 years ago | (#38130022)

My kid watches Dora, Diego, Bubble Guppies, Sesame Street and other shows of the like. They all do a few things that makes me question your assertion that TV is passive:

1. They ask questions such as "do you see the banana?" and he points and says "Banana!".
2. They speak in both English and Spanish and teach it to the kids. he can speak more Spanish than I can (he is 2.5)
3. They teach letters, numbers, and basic math. He can count quite well (by 1, 2, and 10)
4. They teach logic and problem solving.

I have no problem with him watching these shows... I watched much less stimulating stuff... although GI Joe did teach me that knowing was half the battle.

All that said, I can easily see that parents use TV and internet WAY to much. It comes down to individuals and there is no right or wrong.

Re:TV is the worst.. (3, Interesting)

bmajik (96670) | more than 2 years ago | (#38130130)

I watched a lot of TV when I was a kid. I mean, it didn't kill me or anything like that. But if I think about it, it was mostly about passing time.

The first few years of your child's life are the most critical for determining what kind of person they will be. Spend them wisely.

Re:TV is the worst.. (0)

cyborg_monkey (150790) | more than 2 years ago | (#38130138)

And in reality, you probably don't have kids and are still living with your parents.

Re:TV is the worst.. (1)

bmajik (96670) | more than 2 years ago | (#38130230)

Your internet stalking powers are weak, grasshopper.

Re:TV is the worst.. (4, Funny)

antifoidulus (807088) | more than 2 years ago | (#38130204)

Man you had me until you mentioned MS Paint, exposing a kid to Microsoft garbage at such a young age is akin to child abuse. Stop the insanity!

Re:TV is the worst.. (1)

LateArthurDent (1403947) | more than 2 years ago | (#38130296)

On the occasions where my 4 year old is somewhere that he watches TV, the way he looks and acts while doing it just makes my heart sink. He doesn't move. He is completely fixated on the screen. He needs me to make several attempts before his attention is diverted from the screen. He can look away breifly to talk to you but is trying to glance back at the screen.

I've heard that argument before, and I don't get it. So he's paying attention to the TV. Why is that bad? What worries you? I'll have that same level of focus in whatever it is that I'm truly engaged in. If you show up while I'm in my recliner reading a book that I'm particularly into, you might have to stand in front of me and call my name once or twice before my brain recognizes that you're there, trying to get my attention. Same thing if I'm soldering something, I tend to really focus when I'm doing that, because if I don't, I end up having to remove the solder and do it again.

Obviously if the only thing a kid does is watch TV, that's a problem, but I don't see how that is related to the level of attention he pays to it when he is watching. Seems like you have the right idea, and you limit the amount of all sorts of activities he takes part in, to make sure not one single thing dominates. You also make sure to spend a lot of time with him. That's what's important. In fact, you even said it:

I don't think anything (Besides normal TV) is intrinsically bad for kids in reasonable amounts.

What exactly are you singling out about TV? Like everything else in your list, I feel that as long as it's a reasonable amount, it's fine.

What parents should NOT do is use technology to babysit. What parents and kids benefit from is a variety of different experiences, all in reasonable duration and frequency.

Yep, that's the key. I think your kid is really lucky to have parents who understand that. I don't have anything to criticize about what you said, but I am legitimately curious about the completely anti-TV stance.

Re:TV is the worst.. (3, Insightful)

roc97007 (608802) | more than 2 years ago | (#38130304)

I understand what you're saying, and have observed that in my kid. Our solution (your mileage may vary) is to watch nothing in real time. Everything is prerecorded in some fashion. This helps all of us, but especially the kid, to make the TV our slave rather than being a slave to the tv. So at a very early age, when I need her attention, kid will instinctively reach out for the stop button so she can pay attention to me without missing any of the dialog. There is no such thing as "wait until the show's over" at our house. We leave when it's time to leave, and the kid picks up where she left off when we get back. (Right now she's going through all of Criminal Minds.)

As to whether this is healthier, I have no idea. On my way into work I listen to the news in real time, and I find myself reaching for a non-existent rewind button if I missed something interesting. (Like emergency routes out of the city...) But for us, TV is something we watch when we want to watch it, and for as long as we want to watch it, and no more than that. If any of us has to take a potty break, or get a refill, or make a comment longer than five seconds, the show gets paused. Since we don't watch commercials, the amount of time in front of the tv is still less than were it live, even with pauses.

What this does do is really mess up network planning. Tactics like Sandwitching an unpopular show between two winners to drum up viewership doesn't work if you only watch what you want to watch and nothing else. The concept of "prime time" and peak weekdays and dualing timeslots and even networks lose their meaning. I don't watch much TV anyway, but after programming the appliance, I couldn't even identify the network for most of the shows. (That's what IMDB is for.) Although I do follow directors and cast because they might do something else that's interesting.

I strongly suspect that the conventional network TV industry is basically running on inertia right now. I think the "tv tray" mentality, where you sit back in your barcolounger and watch whatever is on until it's time to go to bed, will die with the boomer generation. (Of which I am one, but I'm a geek, and we're usually on the leading edge of things technological.) I heard recently that some shows are going directly to Netflix now, without ever having been on network TV, and I suspect that something like it is the wave of the future.

In other words, technology finds a way, if you let it.

Re:TV is the worst.. (1)

LeanSystems (2513566) | more than 2 years ago | (#38130466)

On my way into work I listen to the news in real time, and I find myself reaching for a non-existent rewind button if I missed something interesting. (Like emergency routes out of the city...)

Okay, I don't look for the rewind button for emergency routes... more for "wait what was said on NPR while I avoided this idiot". I wonder if they will invent TiVo for the radio... Call it RaVo or something.

Re:TV is the worst.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38130326)

Your problem may be related to the fact that you do not have TV. Your child is starved of it while all the other children are used to it. It's good for you, because you already know it is bad and can stay off it. But for your child it is a source of entertainment denied to him, so obviously the few times he gets a chance he'll be glued to the screen.

How Much Tech Can Kids Take? (1)

luis_a_espinal (1810296) | more than 2 years ago | (#38129870)

Are today's children facing technology overload, or simply gearing themselves up for life in a digital world? This article examines the effects of exposing children to technology at a young age. Researchers warn of the potential dangers of too much 'screen time,' pointing to alarming (some say scaremongering) research that suggests over-exposure leads to an increased risk of developing autism and Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder. Educators, meanwhile, highlight how technology can improve interaction between child and parent, and provide essential life skills, such as enhanced communication and multitasking. Parents are left with conflicting messages — but how much technology is too much technology for children?

Depends on the kind of technology. Are we are talking educational videos and assembly kits under adult supervision? Are we talking strapping kids to a chair and letting them watch Baby Einstein for 6 hours at a time? Are we comparing "Keeping Up with the Trashdashians" exposure to technology?

Assuming we are talking technology with a pedagogical purpose, children can take as much as you teach them they can handle. Raise your expectations in a positive, but disciplined way, and that's what you will get out of children. Expect them to be dumb, and they'll be dumb. Expect them to be trash, and they'll be trash.

As a parent, I can tell you this: It is as simple as that.

My case (1)

NoobixCube (1133473) | more than 2 years ago | (#38129876)

I'm a living example of both the rewards of getting kids into tech early, and the dangers of using the computer a a baby sitter. I learned to read and do basic maths at the age of 3, from Reader Rabbit, Math Rabbit, Treasure Math Storm, and others; this had me years ahead of my peers when I started school. I developed a strong taste for it, though, to the exclusion of sports. Computer games were just more fun and interesting to me than ball games. Whether or not technology stopped me from being the greatest runner in the world, I don't know, but I do know that even as a toddler, I'm told, I didn't run around a lot. I preferred to sit alone and build with blocks, or do puzzles and stuff. I've always, as long as I can remember, been a scrawny, pasty nerd.

Ritalin: The New Robitussin (0)

Tastecicles (1153671) | more than 2 years ago | (#38129896)

It slices! It dices! It's the biggest selling prescription drug in history! It has ZERO documented therapeutic effects! So what does it do, exactly?

It turns aspartame-riddled kids into box zombies - yes, that's right. All it does is mitigate the effects of the biggest selling food additive in history.

What's the connection between Ritalin and aspartame?

Both patented by the SAME COMPANY.

Re:Ritalin: The New Robitussin (1)

H0p313ss (811249) | more than 2 years ago | (#38130058)

Did you skip your meds again?

Re:Ritalin: The New Robitussin (1)

Tastecicles (1153671) | more than 2 years ago | (#38130328)

to what "meds" do you refer?

Are you trollling for trolling sake? Or are you a Monsanto apologist?

Re:Ritalin: The New Robitussin (1)

Greyfox (87712) | more than 2 years ago | (#38130476)

Citation needed

There is never TOO MUCH +4, Helpful (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38129916)

Ritalin!!!

Yours In Ulanbator,
K. Trout

The message isn't conflicting (1)

Zephyn (415698) | more than 2 years ago | (#38129924)

The first point is that overexposure can be harmful, which is true for just about anything.

The second point is that it can improve interaction/life/communication skills when used in an educational environment. That can just as easily be at home as in school, depending on how involved the parent is with the child.

The question isn't how much tech the child is exposed to, it's how the tech is used.

Re:The message isn't conflicting (1)

roc97007 (608802) | more than 2 years ago | (#38130318)

The right amount of water is necessary for life. Too much can be harmful. This is hardly old news, but sometimes we need reminding.

Re:The message isn't conflicting (1)

roc97007 (608802) | more than 2 years ago | (#38130332)

Geesh. Was supposed to be "this is hardly news"

[[citation needed]] (1)

cheeks5965 (1682996) | more than 2 years ago | (#38129980)

From tfs:

pointing to alarming (some say scaremongering) research

[[citation needed]]

Computers can lower test scores (3, Informative)

supercrisp (936036) | more than 2 years ago | (#38130052)

Research done at Duke and in Romania shows that computers or access to broadband can lower study scores. It's not so shocking, really, that games and media can supplant study, reading, and thinking. So I think the question shouldn't be how much (quantity) but of what sort and how (quality). The Duke study was done by . Vigdor and Ladd; there's a gloss of it in a New York Times article called "Computers at Home, Hope vs. Reality." I can attest to the fact that students on college campuses today read books, newspapers, and magazines far less than did students in the 80s. Instead they're generally using social media, texting, or listening to a portable music player. You almost never see students carry around battered paperbacks anymore; in the past the ratty old Stephen King or some similar lite reading was a common time burner between classes. Though it does seem that devices like Nooks and Kindles are becoming a little more common on campus.

What matters is "how", not "how much" (3, Insightful)

macwhizkid (864124) | more than 2 years ago | (#38130100)

I've always thought that "screen time" is a ridiculous metric for kids. As though watching the Disney Channel, writing C++, playing Halo, and Skyping with friends/family are all the same thing. And it only gets worse as LCD panels become cheaper (and thus more prevalent in our lives). Are we going to count sitting in the family minivan playing with the GPS on the way to school as screen time? How about reading textbooks on the family iPad?

What really matters, of course, is the engagement of the parents to set up, support, and reinforce the environment of their children. I have no doubt that many parents simply hand their child their iPhone to distract them when they're busy with other things. Too many parents don't burden themselves with getting involved in the choices their children make, and then usually regret it later or try to fix it in artificial ways (see: "screen time"). At the same time, there are parents who teach or enable their kids to do great things with technology, like film and edit home movies, or write simple iOS/Android apps, or build simple circuits.

The parents matter. More specifically their time, effort, and creativity matters. Friends, other family, choice of school, and other available resources matter. The "amount of screen time" doesn't matter. Stop worrying about it, and start worrying about the choices that do.

Re:What matters is "how", not "how much" (1)

adolphism (322613) | more than 2 years ago | (#38130244)

Amen, as long as those choices include proactive measures. It being an adult and saying "no" to a game system because you know your kids (or you know yourself) and you know it won't be a healthy addition to the family. My children read books primarily due to the lack of digital options. Sometime boredom is a good thing?

Computer is a better babysitter than the idiot box (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38130110)

My little sister has been going though um "issues" one result being that one of her kids stays with me quite a lot of the time. He is around 6.

The kid was quite a handful, could never sit down, always making noise, running around the house, getting hurt, and pissing people off. With the TV running of course.

Well, put together a crap little computer for him in the living room, now when he is over he is quiet and is apparently capable of concentrating on a single task for quite some time. I have him running on a linux mint setup, hopefully he picks something useful up. I will be so proud of him the day he breaks something software related on that rig.

Real World vs. Simulation of Real World (1)

adolphism (322613) | more than 2 years ago | (#38130136)

As a parent and techie, I'm passionate about this issue. I firmly believe (and AMA research is starting to support) that "screen time" is a poor substitute for the real world in any form. Young children's experiences are much about discovering their world through the senses including advance concepts such as cause/effect and object permanence. The rules governing these are universal in the real world, but limited in the simulations. It's a cheap substitute that limits discovery and expression.

I have no doubt that my children will learn about technology and end up as good or better with it than I am. They're drawn to it like a moth to light. They'll get it by default. It's the outdoors, playing with others, learning about social norms, etc. that are the lessons we as parents need to concern ourselves with. The tech will come. One needs a solid foundation in the "real world" before being able to see the limitations (and also the lack of limitations in some aspects) of the virtual.

Can someone explain... (1)

h4x0t (1245872) | more than 2 years ago | (#38130142)

... how fiddling with tech can induce a chemical imbalance, producing disorders such as ADHD or autism?

I posit that this notion is flimflam.

Re:Can someone explain... (1)

Jeng (926980) | more than 2 years ago | (#38130264)

Because it works towards peoples distrust of modern society.

That which they don't understand They Really do not understand so they mistrust it.

Kinda like the Freemasons, no one knows what the fuck they do, and they won't say, so you can blame them for everything under the sun.

Re:Can someone explain... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38130430)

... how fiddling with tech can induce a chemical imbalance, producing disorders such as ADHD or autism?

I posit that this notion is flimflam.

It doesn't 'cause chemical imbalance'. The theory is that too much screen time early on has a negative effect on the brain development of a small child. If this happens when the child's brain is forming neural pathways related to visual process / language skills / etc, then it can lead to underdeveloped brain function in these areas (ie. autism, etc).

In reality, there are probably a number of different inter-related (and unrelated) causes for these conditions, including genetic, stress, (lack of) attentive parenting, environmental, etc. And these or a combination of these make any given child more or less susceptible to factors that may not affect another child.

'Chemical imbalance' is a term that the drug companies like to push, because it implies that there is a drug that can fix it. For many of these 'disorders', the drugs only seek to mask the symptoms. In some cases this can be very useful, but acting like this is the best and/or only way to go is heading down the wrong path.

Common Sense (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38130154)

Critical thinking and applying your own knowledge is underrated in education of any age group. By Knowledge I mean a justified belief, this isn't just limited to empirical or scientific study. But only apply knowledge that you yourself understand or talk to a reputable authority that you know personally (doctor, professor, etc) for advice & info.
If there's some strange headline like "Peanutbutter may cause lower IQ score in kids under 10" DO NOT apply this to your life unless you have read the study yourself and understand it. Listening and applying alarming misinformation that headlines produce for entertainment only leads to yourself being paranoid and your child being confused.
Now as far as what you should do: Talk to your children. Do you see that your child is being deprived of certain social skills? Do they understand social concepts or general concepts appropriate to their age group and apply them successfully in a group of their peers or family? If you don't see any problems then don't bother with changing something. Use your common sense and don't depend on misinformation to educate your children.

The mongers (1)

kikito (971480) | more than 2 years ago | (#38130178)

They are scared.

I'd say... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38130352)

...much more than adults can.

in hindsight... (1)

Eponymous Hero (2090636) | more than 2 years ago | (#38130372)

in about 100 years from now when humans in general predominantly exhibit autistic or ADHD behavior (assumed from TFA) they'll look back at us now and decry us all for being so attached to our present social norms, and how silly we were to resist the change. like 10-20 years ago when your parents/grandparents told you email was bad because it killed off letter writing. yet we still have thank you cards and such. wutevs.

The children today.. (2)

dohnut (189348) | more than 2 years ago | (#38130382)

..are living in some sort of F'ing fantasy land!

What I wouldn't have given to have my parents let an Atari 2600, an NES, or an Apple II babysit me. No, instead I had go outside and do chores, do dishes, clean my room, clean everyone else's room, do my homework, finish eating my food, monitor the reactor core, etc. Seriously, In the summer I had to go to bed when it was still light outside (and no, I didn't live in Alaska). Do kids even have bedtimes anymore?

Oh to be left alone by my legal guardians to sit and veg in front of an electronic device... We are chastising these parents?! These parents are heroes!

Eye troubles (4, Interesting)

smellsofbikes (890263) | more than 2 years ago | (#38130520)

My wife is a vision therapist. She is seeing lots of kids come in who have trouble reading, playing sports that involve catching, and similar issues. When you're young your brain is really malleable but what it sees is what it expects as normal. When kids' eyes are constantly focussing on small high-resolution screens just a short distance from their faces, their brains consider that normal and adapt to that, meaning the kids have trouble, later on, with easily getting distant images to fuse. It's not like their eyes are crossed, but they do have to work harder, in some cases a lot harder, to maintain distance vision. She gets lots of kids who are considered slow learners or who "just hate reading" and after 12 weeks or so of visual training, suddenly they can catch balls easily, are reading at their grade level, and are enjoying reading.

Not the tech, but it's use. (2)

TheEmpyrean (788742) | more than 2 years ago | (#38130524)

There is some argument about the overuse of technology, but the bigger issue is how and when it's used. Now, plopping the kid in front of the TV.. generally bad, even if it's so called educational programming. Video games... I'd say so so, as long as the socialization is there. Now, things that make the kid learn more and become engaged in their information and such, not so bad. It's all in the use. Using it as a substitute for something is not going to end well. using it as a supplement for most things, probably ok.

I was programming at a young age, I was also racing dirt bikes and helping dad fix his cars.

It depend on the home environment (2)

InterGuru (50986) | more than 2 years ago | (#38130538)

If a kid grows up with concerned active parents who spend signifcant time interacting with her, the screen time will probably not hurt too much. If TV and tech are used as a constant babysitter, then the kid will probably have stunted intellect and social skills.

Russel Bank's latest novel "Lost Memory of Skin" (11 reviews here [bookwormhole.net] ) concerns a guy who grew up with no emotional support, fell in internet porn, and found himself in real trouble.

I swear (2)

rapidreload (2476516) | more than 2 years ago | (#38130644)

I swear these articles are sometimes just an excuse for people on Slashdot to write posts on how awesome their son or daughter is, how they aren't affected by tech and how amazing their kid is compared to everyone else.

Entertainment isn't "exposure to tech" (1)

Kohath (38547) | more than 2 years ago | (#38130656)

Watching the movie for the 20th time isn't "exposing kids to tech". If you interact with your kids a maximum amount of the time, that's probably better than listening to experts. Experts don't know your kids. Kids are individuals. Observe them and do what works.

Setting aside kids for a moment ... (2)

Krishnoid (984597) | more than 2 years ago | (#38130676)

Is it clearly understood how much tech adults can take? It seems to me that the unstated assumption is that adults have a well-tuned self-regulation mechanism for their intake, but is that borne out by the evidence?

Be tough, persistant, and FUN! (2)

datavirtue (1104259) | more than 2 years ago | (#38130680)

Kids are swamped with video games so much that ey think all devices are used for games. I have started greatly limiting my son's exposure knowing he gets free reign when going to other kid's houses and while visiting the local YMCA. It has been an obsession with him since he first started watching me play WOW at age four. I shortly thereafter quit WOW cold turkey and have been trying to instill in him that computers are used for more than video games. I have even had him do some programming with BASIC and Game Maker but he is still more interested in playing than building things. I constantly stress the value of creating things to him and I can only hope it is making an impact. He is only eight now, so it is probably some time before he is able to run with these concepts of programming. I'm interested myself in building games (been programming business software for years) as I need a fun creative outlet aside from my current projects. I have introduced a single board computer and various small electronics/soldering kits which have been a hit with the kids. My daughter who is about four and my son's video game addicted/unregulated cousin (age 11) also took to the electronics kits as well. My wife thought it was boring and protested giving the kits as birthday presents, but she was dead wrong (doing a little victory dance). Now we have robot kits on the horizon where I will once again introduce programming in assembler and other languages. You can get electronics kits by a company named Elenco; their products are sold on Amazon and at other retailers. It is hands-on and gets them away from media consumption. http://www.amazon.com/Elenco-AmeriKit-Learn-Solder-Kit/dp/B0009Z3JJA/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1321919567&sr=8-1 [amazon.com]

The Singularity (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38130696)

When the time of The Singularity arrives, we will aleady have made a choice to be physically augmented by technology, or dominated by intelligent, superior machines and the programs that rum them.
jtkno6
Rocky Mount, NC USA

Re:The Singularity (1)

koan (80826) | more than 2 years ago | (#38130716)

I would take the machines even though that may result in a child like state for humans, human nature isn't going to change if we are "augmented" instead it will become amplified.

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