Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Computers

There is a reason many Montessori schools for kids under 6 and for early elementary do not allow the use of computers: it avoids having the children having to undergo the stress of inevitable computer problems!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Ok, that's not at all true, but it should be. lol. I could not use my computer last Friday. Since we've had problems with it crashing for 2 years and it's progressively gotten worse, we thought the brief working of the screen had something to do with the computer itself. So I took it into a shop and only got it back yesterday. As dh and I fully expected, they couldn't find anything wrong with it because the darn computer refused to crash for them.

Before this, I'd discovered that it was the monitor itself that was the problem. Even not hooked up, you couldn't get the display to do anything other than a momentary flash when it was turned on. I got the computer back, called dh to update him about what was going on and he bought a new monitor on his way home from work.

Putting all the cables back in place before installing the new monitor, he tried various things to get the monitor to work. It didn't, so I located the plug in for the monitor to remove it. Except the plug wasn't completely in. "How can that be? I checked everything, didn't I?" I thought. I pushed it all the way in and the monitor worked. I felt like such an idiot. We had supper and dh brought the new monitor back to the store, unopened.

I come down to the computer this morning, thinking of my silliness, but lo and behold, what happens? The monitor won't work. I unplug it, plug it back in, change where it's plugged in... The stupid thing won't work. I go have a shower, thinking dh is not going to be happy about having returned to the store last night, come back to the computer and decide to fiddle around with the plug. If the plug can be just a certain way in the slot, the monitor works. Stupid thing.

And so it is my opinion that young children should not have to be subjected to the stresses of ridiculous modern technology that is so poorly built it can not even last 3 years. In the 3 years since we've had the computer, we've replaced the power supply, replaced the hard drive and now have a monitor that may or may not work, depending, for now, on how the cable is plugged in. I've still got my Commodore 64 which works just fine, except for the 3 key having been broken off. They know people are going to be buying new systems within 5 years (often 3) because of all the improvements made to the processors, so why bother making something that will last long, right?

Argh.

[Okay, the real reason many Montessori schools do not allow computers for kids under 6 and some schools for kids 6-9 is that they feel kids need to be spending more time with real things--moving, touching, feeling, seeing 3D, etc.--rather than sitting in front of a computer; whatever a computer can truly offer to a child's development at that age can be offered in another way that supports whole development much better. These same schools will discourage computer use at home for the same reason--there are far better things the child can be doing than sitting in front of a computer screen (or tv, playstation, etc.). For kids 9-12, these schools recommend computer use at home only for work purposes--making nice reports, for example, or doing searches on the internet. People who scream, "But how will they learn the computer skills they need in today's world?" can be reassured that more than one study has shown that kids introduced to computers in junior high through college were still able to gain the same level of proficiency.

Did/do I follow these recommendations? No. Only because I'm not convinced that a little bit will do much harm. My kids' screen time is greatly restricted most of the time due to believing that they can be doing much better things but my kids' behaviour also deteriorates if they get more than a few hours total a week in screen time.]

5 comments:

Debbie said...

It's funny that you should write this at this time. I'm just having discussions with my son about limiting his time on the computer. He's upset about it, and doesn't believe that many children not only get limited time on the computer but don't even own one! I'm going to read some of your post to him.

Pam said...

Oh geez Daisy! I hope your computer troubles end soon!! My kids don't have much computer time at all. Our computer crashes on lots of the kids sites (due to the pop ups I think) and we don't have many kids games. They have survived just fine without too much computer....

TV however...they watch too much of it! I am *really* trying to limit it. They seem to go downstairs and turn it on whenever they have a down moment. And I often don't even stop to realize it is on. But, like I said, we are working on it.

I do agree that kids need to have REAL interactions...not interactions only with screens.

irene said...

I love your blog, it is always so humorous and has great topics!
You have such a great common sense approach to Montessori. Your blog is a jewel.

Daisy said...

Debbie, if you read this, try reading "Endangered Minds" by Jane Healy and share some of the stuff you read in there with your son. He's kind of young, perhaps, to appreciate it, but the book will definitely encourage you to stay firm!

Pam, I think the only way our computer troubles will truly be over with is if we buy a new computer and monitor. This was not an expense we were totally prepared for this year.

Irene, I'm glad you visited! And that you enjoy it! :)

Debbie said...

Thank-you, Daisy, for the book suggestion. I've ordered it from the library. Perhaps there will be something in there to convince my husband.