Should Grade Schools Ban Computers?

Noted child psychologist, Dr. Aric Sigman, wants computers banned from grade schools. He insists schools should not give students access to a PC before they reach the age of nine. The UK-based psychologist says a child's brain is not yet fully developed and could be damaged by exposure to computer technology.

"We risk infantilising the child's mind by spoon-feeding it with strong audio-visual sensations," Dr. Sigman opined.

"While new technology may serve as a powerful tool," he reasons, "it must be introduced and used judiciously at much later ages -- ideally, at least age nine."

The Information Age

Obviously, there are many who disagree with Sigman -- and for good reason.

A number of major studies have shown that age-appropriate software can prove very beneficial to student learning, particularly in the area of language development.

Also, there are simply practical considerations. Removing computers from our children's schools would not remove computers from their lives. Whatever impact PC technology has on young people -- teachers pretending the computer doesn't exist is clearly not a solution.

Digital Vigilance

But Dr. Sigman's assertions must not be easily dismissed. His warning reminds us that we are flying blind -- in uncharted territory. We're just now beginning to understand how computers can best be integrated into the classroom. We have no clue about the long-term implications.

Educators must become acutely aware, and remain extremely sensitive, to how students are personally effected by interaction with digital technology.

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