Friday, January 21, 2011

Raising a nation of useless genuises

A lot of us grew up with a computer in the house, but if you are around my age, it probably didn't start to be a large part of your life until your teen years. As far as gaming, you probably had an Atari, or maybe (like me) you had the original Nintendo, or Sega. Maybe you even played a little 'Myst' on your desktop, but you probably did not use a computer on a daily basis as a child, and you certainly didn't play with apps on a smartphone, or mess around with your mom's i-pad, like the kids of this generation do. AVG recently did a study, which polled 2,200 mothers with Internet access across the US, Canada, UK, France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Japan, Australia, and New Zealand. The mothers, all with children aged 2-5, were each asked to rank a list of computer and traditional life skills according to how early their children had mastered them. Here are a few of their findings:
  •  More young children know how to play a computer game (58%) than swim (20%) or ride a bike (52%)
  • 28% of young children can make a mobile phone call, but only 20% know to dial 911 in case of an emergency
  • 69% of children aged 2-5 can operate a computer mouse, but only 11% can tie their own shoelaces
This is kind of amazing, and slightly disturbing to me. I mean, I am in my twenties, and it is incredible how much computers have changed every aspect of our lives since I was a child. I love computers, the internet, gaming, etc. but I have to wonder if we might be sacrificing something when we devote so much of ourselves to these forms of communication and entertainment. Computers can be awesome learning tools for kids, and the internet opens up a world of information to kids that they would never have had 20 years ago, but is it at the risk of their basic life skills? Are they spending time playing computer games instead of socializing with their peer group, or learning the skills necessary to develop normally?


  1. As someone who spends a lot of time with computers and appreciates their power, I am hesitant to denounce them as a bad influence.

    But still, when I was young I didn't have a computer-- if I did I wouldn't be the way I am now. I'm glad I was reading books and thinking about life instead of mindlessly playing video games. The question is: when is a good age and how do you know?

  2. I totally agree with you. I think that they can be great, even for kids, but I also did a ton of reading, imagining, exploring, and socializing when I was young, and I think it's really interesting how much even the way that people grow up has changed because of them. If my post came off as anti-computer, that wasn't my intention, I am really just amazed at the difference, and interested to see what will happen as a result of it.

  3. wow very good info, lets hope all these children grow up to be computer wizz! lol i was about 10 i think when the computer came into my house and now my dad owns a computer shop and i must say i am a whizz at times haha , very good post!! =D

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  4. That's something I've thought of myself. My childhood seemed so much more adventurous than what I'm seeing kids doing today.

  5. Should I admit my first internet images in '96 was a disturbing money shot with two men?

    It was awful. SO much for my innocent mind and Wheel of Fortune on the Commodore 64 at school in my youth.

    It is amazing that kids can navigate smart phones better than most of our parents.

    There are benefits and also things to be concerned about...