Monday, 6 April 2009

First quick thought on digital literacy conference

At the end of last week's conference on digital literacy, there was some (Prenskyite?) discussion about young people's technology-mediated multi-tasking and the effects on their brains.

It struck me as yet another example of (parental, teacherly etc.) anxieties about the effects of technology on young people's behaviour and intellectual development.

A couple of days later, my nine-year old son spent most of the weekend playing football in the park with other boys. He's at an age where I'm not sure if I should let him play in the park unsupervised (it's only 5-6 doors from our house) or if I should be there. Anyway, I let him play unsupervised, occasionally wandering down to check things were ok. Finally, as afternoon turned to early evening, I had to drag him back home: That's enough fresh air and physical exercise young man, don't you think you should be playing some video games.

My point is, I guess, that those making statements about the harmful effects of technology on children's cognitive development probably need to take a chill pill. Most of the nine-year olds I know are as busy playing football or collecting Match Attax cards as they are glued to the PSPs or XBoxes (i.e. not very different to what I got up to as a nine-year old).

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