Physical activities

Despite serious concerns about isolation and impaired language development research demonstrates that children prefer working with a partner than working alone on a computer (King and Alloway,1992). They initiate interactions using high levels of language. Co-operation and compromise are developed working together at a computer, improving their social skills and enhancing development. In a recent publication “A Critical Look at Computers In Childhood” The Alliance For Childhood focuses on the negative effects that they fear computers in schools are having on young children.

They claim that computers are stunting children’s imaginative thinking and are worried that technology has been and will continue to “weaken bonds between teachers pupils and families”. Jane Healy (1998) identifies the potential dangers of children’s computer use, including vision problems and bad posture. She is concerned that “computer use will cut into play and physical activities,” affecting development.

On the whole, the effects of computers on young children are relatively positive, as long as the activities are monitored and regulated and not to the detriment of the learning of social skills. When used appropriately technology can support and extend traditional materials in valuable ways. It can also enhance children’s cognitive and social abilities. The key is finding the balance of a healthy childhood with the opportunities offered by technology. Children should be encouraged to use computers in ways that encourage social interaction and stimulate desire for knowledge.

Results of data from the Centre For Best Practices In Early Childhood Education show that young children, specifically those with disabilities, do gain many skills when using computers and software in developmentally appropriate activities. ( Huntinger ,1996,2000) It is important for children to learn new technological skills as we move into an Information Age. Used correctly this technological change provides children with opportunities to learn in many different ways. Used incorrectly the computer becomes a cause for concern and subjected to adverse criticism.


* CORDES, C, and MILLER, E; Fools Gold: A critical look at computers in childhood. 1999

* HUNTINGER, P; Computer applications in programs for young children with disabilities. ACTTive Technology. 1996

* HUNTINGER, P; Young children with disabilities can exceed adult expectations when equipment, software, activities are appropriate. ACTTive Technology. 2000

* CAMPBELL, P and FEIN, G, Young children and microcomputers. Prentice Hall Inc. 1986

* Behrmann, R, Children and computer technology: The future of children. 2000

Web References





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