Media and Children
Computer usage in childhood has become common-place, even among toddlers. Yet children pay a price for this alluring entertainment. They spend far less time in face-to-face relationships with others than in the past, and businesses now remark that their young employees are very tech savvy but lack social skills. They also lack hands-on skills, and many schools now hire occupational therapists to help children develop normal hand skills. This lack of "handiness" is also a major problem for engineering firms who find that employees who played with real objects and tinkered with them as children and teens are better problem-solvers than those who did not.
In addition, children in the U.S. between the ages of 8 and 18 now spend over 7 hours per day in front of screens with very little time spent outdoors. This imbalance has a strong impact on children's physical and mental health. Computer games have become a standard part of childhood, with very little attention paid to their negative effects. The Alliance commissioned an analysis of computer games by board member and former technology teacher, Lowell Monke.
Computers have an important role in contemporary life, but in childhood we recommend first things first: real relationships with people and nature, real hands-on activities, and lots of time for child-initiated play and artistic activities.