Children and Computers: What's Your Stance?

A recent iVillage article posed the question: Do you think your home computer is too much of a distraction?

According to the article, a study by Duke University's Sanford School of Public Policy found that in a study of 150,000 North Carolina students, getting a home computer had a notably negative effect on the students' math and reading test scores. In addition, researchers from the study identified that a core group of children primarily used their computers to play games and socialize via social networking sites, which the researchers hypothesized may also be contributing to lowered test scores.

While I don't agree with the research suggesting that online socialization is a culprit when it comes to children receiving lowered test scores, I can see how children may be lapsing in education as a result of tools such as automatic spell check (Word) and automatic equations (Excel). Aside from these tools, the Internet even offers suggestions, such as "Did you mean..." if a word entered in a search is misspelled.

These tools may be useful for adults who know better, but because of the ease by which misspellings and calculations are automatically corrected, no learning curve is presented for children who innocently make these mistakes. As a result, they become accustomed to being automatically corrected, thus diminishing their sense of right and wrong in the process.

To echo the sentiments of the article, what is your position on your child's use of the home computer? Do you find it to be too much of a distraction, or have you found the opposite to be true?

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