Computers and kids

It’s 04:37am, and maybe I’m not yet awake, but I can’t make sense of this.

Flicking through Slashdot, I find Too Many Computers Hurt Learning and their tag line grabbed me: “For those Slashdotters with children, how do you deal with your kids’ computer use?” (Not that I consider myself a Slashdotter at all – it was the kids reference). Anyway, off to the article it mentions: Contrarian finding: Computers are a drag on learning I read….

“Too much exposure to computers might spell trouble for the developing mind.” – define exposure please ? Is it seeing computers ? Touching them ? Having to use them ? It’s a broad term, means nothing.

“performance in math and reading had suffered significantly among students who have more than one computer at home.” Okaaay……I’ll go with this, but,

“And while students seemed to benefit from limited use of computers at school, those who used them several times per week at school saw their academic performance decline significantly as well.” So it’s not just parents to blame then ?

“People need guidance in how to use [computers in education]” – can’t disagree there.

“”The mere availability of computers at home seems to distract students from learning.” Computers seem to serve mainly as devices for playing games.” Really ? Wow…define computers please. Are games consoles classified as computers ? And “availability” – so just because it is there, students don’t learn. Fairly stupid statement isn’t it ?

Now, here’s where I really get thrown:
“From a sample of 175,000 15-year-old students in 31 countries, researchers at the University of Munich announced in November that performance in math and reading had suffered significantly among students who have more than one computer at home.”
That is a LOT of kids – but where is the number of kids who had “suffered significantly” shown ? It’s not that graphic at the bottom… in fact, the fact upon which this story is supposedly based isn’t there. At all. Anywhere. And, even better, there isn’t a link to the original study either. Dropping the apparent ‘Source’ into Google reveals nothing on the first 2 pages of results.

Like I said, it’s early, but – don’t go there for anything resembling journalism eh ?

(And my girls ? Last week I was reading a page looking for something and D wanders past saying “Dad, just CTRL-F” :) )