Plug in and drop out: are computer games damaging children?

Nathalia Gjersoe and Natalia Kucirkova are lead educators on The Open University’s free online course, “Childhood in the Digital Age.” Here, they discuss whether there’s any evidence that suggests computer games are damaging children and invite you to take a quiz about your own attitudes towards technology in young people’s lives.

A child using an iPad

A child using an iPad © Sami Sert/iStock

In his recent book, “Man (Dis)connected,” Professor Philip Zimbardo of Stanford University claims that computer games and internet pornography are leaving boys bored in school, disinterested in human contact and opting out of society.

These claims echo regular, alarming headlines in the media. The rise of digital technology in children’s lives has been associated with higher rates of ADHD, autism, loneliness and obesity.

Do you think computer games are dangerous for children?

Based on your own experiences and those of the children in your life, answer the following set of questions and see how your views compare to other FutureLearners:

Perhaps you found simply answering “yes” or “no” to each question was difficult. You might have different responses when thinking about different people, how much time they spend playing and the sort of games they play. These complexities are often ignored in the media coverage and sometimes even in the academic research.

There are some findings to suggest damaging effects of excessive computer game playing. For instance, in his book, Zimbardo presents evidence that boys’ brains, in particular, “are being digitally rewired for change, novelty, excitement and constant arousal – leaving them out of sync in romantic relationships and traditional classes.”

All things in moderation

However, much of this research focuses on children who play computer games more than 3-5 hours a day.

In the UK, more than 80% of boys and also girls play some form of computer game every day. Dr Andrew Przybylski and colleagues at the Oxford Internet Institute surveyed nearly 5,000 British boys and girls aged 10-15 years.

They found that, compared to children who played no computer games at all, those who played for around an hour a day:

  • had higher levels of sociability;
  • were more satisfied with their lives;
  • had fewer friendship and emotional problems;
  • and were less hyperactive.

Overall, research findings in this area show that moderate time spent playing computer games is a positive experience for most young people socially and academically.

Excessive use (as with all excesses) can be detrimental. This reflects a tiny percentage of computer game players, but it is often the negative research findings based on extreme usage that are most widely published in the media.

Examine the evidence

To find out more, join our free online course, “Childhood in the Digital Age.”

It examines the evidence for the different sides of the debate around children’s use of digital technology and explores how we can maximise digital opportunities while protecting children from the risks.

What do you think? Are you a technology optimist or pessimist? Leave your thoughts in the comments below or join the conversation using #FLdigitalkid15.

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Comments (122)

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  • lianna

    i like the idea. Kids have been on technology a lot this year i looked it up and it says 96% of kids play electronics every day now thats a fact

  • lianna

    great

  • Adam Graham

    I don’t think so. Technology seems to be a beneficial tool for me. How are you utilizing it, it totally depends on you. Kids can play a lotta strategy games in GamesCaptain or GoStrategyGames or ABCya. Now if you suggest some useless games it won’t help you either.

  • Sarah

    In my view, computer games are actually ruining kids future but if we talk about few puzzle games like Sudoku then I must say these games would improve creativity in them.
    Visit website: https;//sudokuonlineplay.net

  • sarah jordan

    Technology is just a tool – parents and teachers are role models – so they need to show children how to use it in moderation!
    Having said that I spend hours every day using technology – so far today…
    Reading the paper on line at breakfast
    Marking student’s essays online
    Planning lectures and putting interesting articles on Moodle for students to read
    Looking for a recipe for tea tonight (fish curry I think)
    Checking cinema times for after tea (waiting for ‘The Circle’ but it’s not out until April)
    Looking up if I can get tax relief on my pension on the .gov.uk website
    Surfing FB whilst eating lunch to see if any friends and relatives have posted photos
    Using WhatsApp throughtout the morning to chat to my husband and daughter.
    Two hours on a online course about ‘childhood in the digital age’ – reading articles and watching videos whilst knitting.
    And it’s only 12.30!!!
    Hours awake so far today = 4.5
    Hours on screens = 4.00 (had a shower and got dressed without any screens!)

    • Simone

      I have regularly read an ebook or watched something on a tablet while showering at the same time. Obviously you have to keep the tablet splash free and if you are going to turn any digital pages you need to wipe off water drops from your hand. If you are like me it could easily be 4.5 hours of screen time. I am concerned about the time my teenage son spends in front of a screen but it’s a case of the kettle calling the pot black.

  • Mona

    I am a technology optimist and work in a country that will soon move to a middle income country. Technology here is advanced and availability of mobile phones is vast. I understand technology can greatly support developmental milestones of children if used properly. My concern is how to empower children, families and teachers to inform them on the pros and cons of using technology. IF students in school get a link on pornography what should they do? The realities of such sites etc. This will particularly support the adolescents to make informed decisions in the choices made when it comes to accessing X-rated/adults content websites, social media usage etc. I also would like to support parents to be more hands on with the use of technology in the house. And support children to have the right balance of both worlds- technology and the real word-.

  • Natalia Dubebcu

    I am more to define myself as technology optimist rather than pessimist. I have seen during my classes pupils who are keen on technology and how easy they manipulate each application. This category of children are more active and independent, but the seem not so keen on outdoors actvities. There are few kids in my class who are not at ease with technology from different perspectives, whereas they do not posses those gadgets or they simply are not interested in them (very few).
    Observing my own children at home, I would say they are crazy about finding new applications, games, etc. Sometimes, I would prefer them to be outside than exploring the secrets and endless technology.

  • Teresa

    Children grow up in digital environment, it’s easy to addict to games. Some adults also spend a lot time on it. I was told that people enjoy playing games because the reality is so disappointed and they could get sense of accomplishment from games. Even adults can easily addict to games, how about children?
    I grow up in countryside. I enjoy the nature more. Technologies brings a lot convenience, at the same time, people seem to be robbed by it….. I hope children could enjoy the nature more, spend more time on other entertainment or learning methods.
    I am neither pessimistic nor optimistic on technology. It does have advantages, but addict to an unreal world is not a good way for life. It’s OK to relax for a while but it’s not necessary to learn from it, reality is always much more complicated and cruel than it.

    • Teresa

      Corrections and updates:
      1. Many children grow up in digital environment, there are still many children are struggling on basic survival conditions, haven’t even seen a computer, pad or smartphone;
      2. Games might be a good way for people to interact with others. It helps to improve the social skills and prompt reaction;
      3. People addict to games seems spend much more time indoor. Even when going out, seems like they enjoy offline games like playing cards more than other entertainments or activities;
      4. Game APPs almost flooded the APP store in my phone. Are there so many people playing games?Market is always driven by benefits and profit. Why the game industry rank benefits and profit so high and ignore their social responsibility and the life quality of the customers and users?

  • Kath J

    Technology Optimist… well I would say I can see a value to some computer games, they do teach some skills, however I also can see that if a child is glued to their games most of their ‘free time’ then this would have a detrimental effect. Outdoor play and exercise is important to a child’s development, so there is a place for technology but we must be vigilant in ensuring that children’s ‘life experiences’ only come in digital formats.

  • heather

    I have not played enough computer games to begin to understand why people are attracted to them. I know there are some violent games – and I know some are not like that and that there may be an element of learning involved. I guess I think of games as being difficult to understand. I can play draughts, but can’t begin to understand Chess. I will play Scrabble – but not from a competitive perspective. I guess I am not a gamer. – H

  • Jill Lister

    I am technology pessimistic according to the quiz. I love technology.I did most of my degree on line, and love the way you can research and connect with people so easily. I could quite happily spend hours on my I pad.
    I also think many computer games seem addictive, repetitive and violent.Also much of the information or ‘research’ is of poor quality and needs filtering.
    My own children were born in the late eighties, I discouraged or limited computer games. They had so much fun and real adventures. Now I have a 2 year old grand daughter , I thought I would like to investigate how it affects her. Adversely or for the good.

  • Casey

    I was surprised that the quiz said I am a technology pessimist. I think there is a useful place for technology and there needs to be a balance. Determining what that balance actually looks like and achieving that is the challenge.

  • aligillani

    i am a technology optimist and i am on the point that technology is playing a imp role in the lives of our new generation they are more efficient than us.

  • sandra pope

    Technology has its uses but overuse can be detrimental to a child. Children still need to be encouraged to go outdoors to play physical games and so on. The process of playing for hours on a lap top, mobile or ipad is not conducive to forging real life friendships .

  • dilshat urmi

    I am not tha kind of technology friendly person. But i depends on technology everone is. Everyone busy to make friends in social media not in real world. The most scary thing is sometime we don’t even have time for our own children and because of these children are now became depended on their digital world. It makes them isolated , undemanded sometime.

  • Heather Wells

    I have grown up in the era of digital technology, when I first went to university in the 70s, even calculators were considered high tech. Society now seems to expect a certain level of digital literacy as the norm and it has brought real benefits in some areas. But, I am concerned at our over dependence on technology and some peoples preference for interactions via social media rather than real life.

  • Bertha

    I am not really sure what I am. I have concerns with the over use of technology and how it is taking over natural play time. But have also seen how it helps certain children communicate in a group.

  • Sheena

    I seem to be a technology pessimist. I have seen my 6 year old grandson spend hours on video games aimed at children. He does not like to be distracted from them. I have three daughters now in their 40s who were more creative and into imaginative games at the same age. Maybe it is a gender thing? His hand and eye co-ordination have always been good and he is a good reader for his age but never takes up a book for relaxation. He is also obsessed by Pokemon at the moment.

    • Catherine Guiot

      Hi Sheena,
      I have an identical grandson (and also 3 daughters!) I thought his behaviour was a gender thing, too, but now his five year old sister ( who copies all his behaviour) is just as obsessed with her tablet as he is with his. I’ve come to the conclusion that I can’t do much about it as both their parents have high-powdered IT jobs and don’t seem to worry about excessive usage and, in fact, often encourage it. I look after the children every Wednesday when there’s no school here in France and try to limit their tablet time. I find that once I’ve actually put the tablets away ( and dealt with the aggro!) the children are quite happy to play board games or paint or do whatever old-fashioned activity I manage to come up with.
      I’ve just finished the ‘Anthropology of Social Media’ course which has left me feeling more relaxed about all this screen time.

      • Catherine Guiot

        That should read ‘high powered’. ☺️

  • Eva Gargoulaki

    The quiz says I’m a technology optimist but I don’t behave or think like one. I’m quite concerned about the use of technology in moderate. Parents seem to have less control on their children’s free time, can’t really get involved in their games as they seem to lack energy and time. I do agree that the key is do things in moderate but I just find it hard to stick to it and in this way encourage my child to do the same.

  • Susan

    Technology optimist, As IT will feature more and more within the learning environment ,it is up to parents/cares to ensure how much specifically young children access it and what they are accessing.As research suggests small periods of time enhance learning and well being

  • Chris

    I am a technology optimist. I have not grown up with computers but my grandchildren are exposed to digital technology from birth. I have seen autistic children become part of a group from using this tool. I think it is easy to discount technology but it is the future and we must embrass it with both hands and learn from it. Yes, children most definitely must be out there in the mud and socialising but ignore technology at your peril

    • Bridget

      Leave a comment…playing computer games shappens learners mind of Children

  • Milenija

    I am a technology optimist, which also showes on the quiz. As I am 19 I am a child that was born in this digital era and that grew up in the same (it was different in my young age but still technology was present, as my younger brother is also the case). I can see in our own family example that the important thing is childs perception of learning and it attitude towards learning in the first place. Because I really find technology useful in performing many tasks that took longer before and also the availability of information. I am aware of the down sides but I believe that creating a positive and healty attitude towards learning even away from computer (school, sports, any other activity) tremendously affects the behaviour on the Internet. If you point a childs interest towards something that will make him develop and grow, I think that the child will already have more knowledge on how to use the Internet and other media. In conclusion I find it really important creating a childs personality, awareness and curiosity from home first, but also in schools, as that affects their behaviour towards everything else that life brings.

  • Angela

    After completing the quiz, I am a technology pessimist. Although I do positively embrace new technologies, I so often see within my work very young children disengaged as a result of technology and have also based my views on my nieces and nephews who I feel are not as creative or sociable as I would like them to be and can account this to their daily usage of digital technology.

  • Linda

    I am a technology optimist and a mother of four children aged 27M,26F,19F,10M. I thought computers were the way forward and when my eldest son was 3 . He had his first gaming computer and a Sonic the hedgehog game which we all played as a family . Now the situation is very different , he stays in his room and plays online games which he plays at unsocial hours and everything he does revolves around the game.He has unreasonable behaviour and is unwilling to do anything around the house, he remains quite childlike and is very depressed at times. In his favour he does hold down a full time job. The girls on the other hand played games but are more into instagram and facebook , snapchat, the elder has done exceptionally well at university.
    My youngest son alreadyappears to be addicted to computer games , he trys to play first thing in the morning before he has even eaten breakfast and argues with me constantly about getting games that are over his age bracket.If I try to limit his time on them , he becomes cross and shouts. I am interested in this course so that I can enable my youngest son to reach his potential and be happy . I am disappointed that my eldest son is so emersed in the online gaming and he doesnt realise he has so much more to offer the world, himself and his family.

  • Liza

    Moderation is in the hands of an adult not a child. That’s why it’s important as an adult to have a global idea of the technology and games for children on the market. I come from Curacao and I am a high school teacher. All children here are some how involved with technology, some more than others. I have seen with boys that their social skills are limited by computer games. Some are hyperactive and some aggressive. They are also the ones constantly disturb the lessons and are expelled from class. When you speak with the parents, your find out that there is no parental control. Moreover, the parents are the ones that buy the games. The girls on the other hand are more into Facebook, Snapchat and selfies. Here too you’ll find lack of parental control. Facebook is used by kids under 14. They invent their birth date. That’s why I don’t add strangers on my Facebook profile because I may talking to an eight-year-old. And now there is Pokemon Go.

  • Liza

    Actually can be an optimist or a pessimist depend the type of technology.

  • Alaa Kasawat

    I am a techonology pessimist, but who knows! I may change my mind after this course.

  • Norah

    I am a Technology optimist.
    My experience is that in moderation, as part of a variety of hobbies/ activities technology can enhance a child’s life and outcomes.

  • Alison Taylor

    Through monitoring children can have positive outcome through the use of of technology. They now have access through various mediums so with much monitoring and caution they can reap positive benefits.

  • olaniyi olayemi

    well its has positives and negatives effect on a child. Whatever the child is doing on computer should be monitor. More so there should be moderation in whatever area the child is applying the uses of technology.

  • Tina Taylor

    I’m an optimist! This is true, I believe technology can enable communication between verbal and non – verbal people! It’s not all doom and gloom!

  • Joan

    Optimist – like all things in life, moderation is the answer!

  • YARI ALICERCES

    I am a technology optimist. I believe moderation is key.

  • YARI ALICERCES

    I am a technology optimist. I agree moderation is key. I have seen that the use of technology helped children and young people express themselves and form strong relationships. Yet, too much can have damaging effects on children mental emotional and physical health.
    However looking at the evidence it is based in UK Children, what about other countries? And children who have little access to technology?
    Technology is not harmful but it is down to parents caregivers guardians and teachers to teach and reinforce children how to use it correctly.

  • Nina

    I am a technology pessimist and I’ve joined the course to change my mind. Hope it’ll happen )!

  • Victoria Shaw

    I am a technology optimist, and I think that the focus with this generation of children should be on how to manage themselves as responsible citizens of the digital age, teaching them positive skills rather than needing courses which have to repair cyber-bullying and internet addiction. Saying “You suck!” to each other on the playground is a whole lot different to the impact it has when you see it written, but do our young users (my son started Year 7 this year and everyone suddenly has a mobile phone) realise??? Based on my discussions with my son and other clients (I am a psychotherapist), the answer is NO. That’s quite specifically why I have joined this online study and discussion……

  • Stephanie

    The challenge for me, as a parent, is keeping up with the technology so I feel confident that they are safe when playing all the different games. But it’s all good learning for me too I guess! According to the quiz, I’m a technology optimist and agree with all the comments re balance too. I also think it is important to equip children with digital skills for their futures to avoid them being on the ‘wrong side’ of the digital divide.

  • Logambal Mootoosamy

    I am a technology optimist and I believe it’s all about having the right balance in life.

  • Sharon Moore

    As mentioned on my facebook page it should be about getting the balance right. There are many advantages to the use of technology to enhance learning and living, the key is using it in the right way for the right reasons. Looking forward to participating in this course.

    • Dianne Haarhoff

      I agree with you, Sharon, it’s all about balance and one cannot ignore the advantages of technology today. I, too, am looking forward to this course.

  • Mel Chavez

    I’m looking forward to participating and learning in this course. As with any medium or tool, moderation is the key and there’s always pros and cons. As both a father and as an Educational Developer, I am interested in keeping my child safe and also the benefits of how children (and adults) can learn via Game based learning Vs Gamification. They are not the same.

  • omagon charles

    Yes ,there are a variety of benefits of children using computer games but the duration the take when using the computers should be minimized ,and the only persons to do this are the parents or any other older person to avoid the future effects.

  • Catherine

    Yes the key is definitely moderation, there can be a variety of benefits for children using computer games but the time spent on such should be monitored by parents/adults so that the children are also spending time in ‘real world’ interactions and moving around sufficiently.

    • DONNETT

      Children learn very well with the modern technology are able to be witty in their interaction with their peers and adult. They ask relevant questions according to the situation presented. So I the computer is relevant for learning but the children must be monitored in use of programs and time.

  • Valerie

    Hello everyone,
    There are a lot of comments about moderation. Often easier said than done. Some think it the answer to a child’s healthy use of technology. If so, then moderation, in advance of its use, requires individual, specific parameters that each child understands. I’m thinking about what these might be….. boundaries, consistency, physical “break time”, verbal interaction with parent, time and time of day use???

  • sadek saimum

    It is true that present age is the age of technology. everything is going on high. But by influence of technology, our children is going more ego minded. we should given them a educatable technology where they enrich their skill as well as mind not ego mind.

  • Shirley Brenda Musubika

    i think everything should be in moderation. I dont want my son being happy only when he is playing his computer games, I would want that even when it is time for him to be with his friends he can still be able to interact with them well.

  • noora

    I feel we need to be technology realist.
    A pessimist will always find problems in technology sometimes overlooking its benefits while an optimist might ignore issues that may arise out of wrong usage of technology.
    Therefore by being a technology realist we can guide young minds to put technology to their best optimum use…

  • Rebecca

    I think excessive computer gaming could well be problematic BUT playing age appropriate games for reasonable periods of time, from what I’ve seen with my six year old, does not appear to be a bad thing. The games he plays are not violent, they are designed for children, and encourage problem solving. He can be really determined to keep trying to complete a level, and there’s no doubt he enjoys it and gains a lot of satisfaction from it. There are no problems whatsoever with his social skills, but I do question whether I’m doing the right thing allowing him access to screens. I’ve found watching cartoons such as spongebob which have a somewhat manic energy about them,do more to increase his levels of irritability and over arousal (so as much as I find spongebob amusing, its now banned in our home!)

  • Margaret Achieng

    In my opinion children who spend a lot of time playing computer games lose social skills therefore will not want to interact frequently with the outside world. May tend to have very few friends therefor end up a loner. They also end up not learning basic life skills.

  • Cynthia Herbert

    The American Academy of Pediatrics is changing its guidelines for digital use by children:
    http://www.forbes.com/sites/jordanshapiro/2015/09/30/the-american-academy-of-pediatrics-just-changed-their-guidelines-on-kids-and-screen-time/#3b69a7f7137c

  • Cynthia Herbert

    I think the survey needed more than just a technology “optimist” or “pessimist” designation. To me technology is like any other material–it can be used to hone someone’s creative and problem solving skills but it also can be overused and be potentially damaging. I think I am a technology “realist.”

    • Suyen

      I agree with you, Cynthia. And a well written response, by the way. I don’t think I’m necessarily a “technology optimist”; I like the “technology realist” as you suggest. Thanks!

    • Joanne Nicholson

      I like your definition Cynthia of being a technology ‘realist’ The survey questions were too simplistic, but I think that was done on purpose in order to provoke us into thinking about how nuanced most of these issues are. By making us make a Yes/No choice we have already had to deliberate on these areas before coming down on one side or the other. The survey certainly made me start asking more questions and I am looking forward to the course starting.

      • Valerie

        Simplistic survey questions indeed! I liked how they brought up my bias. I needed a comment box under each one so that I could “explain” why I said yes or no. After 4-weeks, we shall see if I am truly a “technology optimist” or if I was simply being optimistic…. 😎

  • Naser Abbas

    Our children should use the computer in a good way it does not affect their eyes. i.e., you it very wisely and for good purposes.

  • Naser Abbas

    Computer is not good because it bad to the eyes. So we must use it in a good way, it do not affect our eyes. i.e., one hour using then half an hour resting.

  • Elena Natalchenko

    Whatever topic discussed during the course, there is one important thing to note each time – the age of the child.

    I talked with my pediatrician about tablet for children that is meant to be educational. And there is an interesting point of view to know. She told me that little children are very sensitive and affectable for touching, kinaesthetics. If children touch tablets and other gadgets more than they touch parents, especially, mother, they learn to “obey” what gadgets “tells” them. And in future the authority of TV, media, computer will be much higher for them than the authority of parents. That means that children can turn into kind of “zombie”, searching for commands in media, not in conversation with close people. For sure that is exaggerated final, but the idea is that.

    So I think that digital world should be part of real world and till we, parents, can control the time of contact with gadgets, we should do that. And best way, I think, is spend time with a child while he enjoys playing or educating at soft. That will make gadget just tool for training, not independent sourse, substituing parents.
    #FLDigitalKid15

    • Valerie

      I think being actively engaged with your child while he/she is “playing” on the computer fosters an environment where both the parent and the child learn from each other. I’ve learned from my grandson’s and they’ve had to think more when I ask them probing open-ended questions. And, this extends beyond the scope of the game.

  • Chris Mayoh

    The basis for this is a fairly straightforward one, I think. The use of any technology ‘to excess’ already defines itself as unhealthy, surely? Gaming in any form is certainly no different.

    I think that for children and young people who struggle to express themselves honestly through ‘conventional’ social interactions gaming can prove to be an incredibly powerful tool for them to do so, through avatars and the relative anonymity that playing with others over the internet can provide.

    This is not to say that gaming is not a concern. Such issues as exposure to inappropriate content (think 18+ games, for example) and conversations with strangers over VOIP technologies built in to modern console and PC games remain a concern

    There is certainly much to think about in relation to these issues and the extent to which overexposure can be managed and minimised. I am looking forward to the opportunity to explore some of these issues in more detail during this course.

  • Leigh

    I just wrote a fairly long post and it disappeared! That’s technology for you…!

  • Leigh

    I agree totally that everything in moderation is ‘ok’ and it can’t be denied that there are also many rewarding educational support games available now, so perhaps its not just the usage of the computer gaming itself that needs most consideration but of the content too? Limiting time staring at the screen is a given – I’m sure we have all experienced the headaches and eye strains that occur when staring at our work screens etc, let alone when focusing on fast moving graphics for hours on end! Of course, there are many areas of potential concern that can be considered – from the fast eye movement strains, brain over load possibilities, physical well being (children exercise far less and often adopt unhealthy postures) to that of lack of real life social interactions and we must not forget safety welfare as we can never be really certain of who their one line game buddy really is… scary stuff really!

  • Emily

    I have mixed feelings about technology access at an early age. I concur it is about moderation but nowdays, this alone is a difficult challenge. I’m looking forward to the online course and find ways to expand my vision about this.

  • Michelle

    There are many practical and educational applications for computer games out there and we as a school tend to implant them into lessons. As long as there is a clear outcome I think they can be very beneficial when used correctly

  • Fadila

    Everything in moderation. It is when kids are left alone t play computer games for hours per day that problems arise.

  • Ewa

    I do really like watching my children playing computer games from time to time. I have observed that after a while- for example 1 hour they are trying to fight and are starting to be more agressive to each other. That`s why they don`t use computer more than 1 -2 hours a week.

  • Nadia

    Like many people here, I think it is the excess which is detrimental, not the technology per se. Used in moderation (and under parent supervision, especially when we’re talking about young children), computer games can be a learning experience, while also being a lot of fun. Which is something all people need at the end of the working/school day.

    Then, as parents, we should be leading by example, by limiting our own screen time (I can’t count the number of times I see parents in parks glued to their smart phone screen; they don’t seem to be able to leave the screen aside even when outdoors with the children).

    • Tsimako Tsimako

      Totally agree with you Nadia! Its a question of being in control and being disciplined. I have always felt that it brings the best out of children when used appropriately.

  • Judy Thornton

    I agree, with the comment ‘All things in moderation’ even very young children under 5 hate to feel left out & want to be one of the crowd. They need to be part of all new & exciting things including technology, but I do feel their time playing games must be limited & other things such as using google, listening to stories etc should be encouraged on the computer to. Their are so many important real life skills to be experienced, splashing in puddles learning to share & cooking to name just a few, time should also be set aside to experience these too.

  • Libby

    I guess it’s dependent upon how long a child spends at the computer on a regular basis as to the impact, as well as the content of what they’re viewing. I also think that it is possibly down to to the child’s personality as to what effect there is on the individual. I believe that children should expend their creative juices through traditional play as well as making use of technology – both playing a part in making them rounded individuals.

  • Gayle Gibbons

    As a preschool teacher, I am scared that it wont be long and children will not be using pencil and paper to write their names or to use their brain to learn maths. Most of our students now spend most of their time at home on some type of screen which is a worry, as their only time to talk with other children is when they come to kindy. Same when it comes to using their fine and gross motor skills. A lot of our children hardly go outside when at home.

    • June Irene

      I share your point of view.Is it time to decide how to accept this, and as an educator, develop different attitudes and skills to cope with what ,it could be argued,is the very extreme results of too much computer ,too soon ?

      • Alison Hellam

        As an Early Years teacher, I also find children seem to have poorer fine motor skills possibly as a result of touch screen use. Even though there are apps which are supposed to help with handwriting and letter formation, children seem unable to transfer the skill from on screen to using pencil and paper. A wider concern is the nature of many “educational” apps, which are marketed to parents and teachers . These apps are often narrowly focused on surface learning. That, however is not the fault of the technology, but rather those who develop the software! I think teachers need to promote thoughtful selection and use of technology.

  • Barbara

    I think that computer games can teach dexterity and quick responses and are obviously fun. However, it does depend on the content. I think that computer games which show a lot of violence and killing can have a detrimental effect on a child. It can make them think they can eliminate anyone they do not like. Games with violence are likely to make them behave in ways they have witnessed i.e. in an aggressive way. The amount of time spent playing the games is probably important.

  • Sheila Torres

    Computer games and digital technology is here to stay and will become even more prevalent with time. yes i do think it has had a great effect on younger generations. Is it bad? Everything done excessiveliy has the potential to be bad but not always. There are some great careers out there which constant users may be better equiped for???
    I think as long as a child has a balanced life they are still developing normally but differently to how a child developed before all this technology existed. I am a teacher and joined this course to understand better and not be closed minded; I think it is amazing that my kindergarteners can help me understand my new smart phone and they are amazed by what I can show them as well. Everything changes, nothing stays the same. The world has been that way since the beginning. I am sure early man was worried about the effect of the wheel on future generations of children as well.

  • Zélia Maia

    Says a popular saying: “everything is too much, is wrong.”
    So, I think that technology is a science that has brought great benefits to the world, in all fields of Science. In my opinion, the computer games, if for fun pleasure and share them with family and friends, I will not come there any harm to children. But the benefit of learning rules, think and acquire dexterity.
    If, however, are hours playing as an addiction, in a closed room, “clinging” to the game, thinking about it all the time, and the conversation, “pass level”, play, kill, etc. “, then technology is a dangerous weapon that can cause serious personality disorders and be the cause of nervous disease. There will be no sharing and fun, to be an obsession, then, exceeds the reasonable.

  • Katharine Childs

    I believe that digital technology is has many valuable benefits for children, if used in the right way. In fact, I gave a TEDx talk about it: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SPTWg_fOJEI

  • Paul

    Just found this article which is related to this blog. I just spend the last term putting lots of my material for students on a Virtual Learning Environment. Have a been wasting my time?

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/education-33022500

    • Carl Hibbs

      No Paul, I don’t believe you are wasting your time!
      This is the developing age we live in and it is not going to change back whether we like it or not.

      I’m doing the same at the moment.

      • Nik Has

        This debate goes round and round in circles. Our school has gone ‘green’, meaning paper has been replaced with technology. I can only speak from an observers point of view, but I can say that so far I am unimpressed with the move. In 6 months we’ve seen more negatives than positives.

  • Margaret m

    I believe children need to move with the times which is keeping up with all types of technology. They benefit hugely as long as it’s in moderation and not used to keep children quiet. If abused then of course it’s going to cause damage, but adult supervision is a must at all times to keep them safe.

  • Carol Bartlett

    I believe computer games in moderation are not harmful. In my work I often hear children turn their online game play into real world imaginary play. My grandson at age five is very good with technology and we gave him a tablet for his fifth birthday. This is one small part of his daily life. Kindergarten, childcare, bike riding, soccer and socializing with friends are the other important components of his daily routine. Most parents I know limit the amount of time their children spend in the electronic world.

  • Colin Hynson

    It seems to me that every young generation has to undergo some kind of ‘moral panic’ about how a new technology affects their behaviour. In the past I’m pretty sure that people were worried about the impact of television or visiting the cinema had on children and young people and I’m pretty sure the same arguments were used to restrict access to these new technologies.

  • Ali raheel

    Games in addition for its damage on health, also it kills the time .

  • Freda Macneill

    I think I am quite optimistic regarding children using technology.Obviously children need to be monitored and that’s the role of the adult. My own experience in observing my grandson is that he is confident in using technology and has shown me how to do certain things. I am amazed at the skills he has at the age of 4

  • harold brooks

    interesting theories and there is definitely a change in children today but I don’t think it is just computer games. parents stimulate children at a much earlier age with interactive this and that and many do grow up with social deficiencies. computer games can be a distraction for them while they make the tea or at the childminders and with limited supervision it is easy for them to access material that is not suitable for their age or any age in fact. the amount of children that have played GTA is frightening and surely can only lead one way.

  • Josephine Hart

    Computer games that contain non violent or sexualised content can be good to enhance skills when used in moderation. The problem is that the release of dopamine that gives euphoria leads to a craving for more and can become addictive. It then opens the door for other addictions. Children should learn to interact with people first before machines. I see the difference in friends children who regularly use games and those who don’t.

  • Mazar Abdulaziz

    I think some of this games Enhance their supervision skills with this flexble games they discover manything and it’s role.
    Like musician ,dentist,engineer and so on.
    So they improve their performance .
    Although there are games which damage children like use weapons,fighting,war
    It damage mind and causes depression
    Or heart diseases and pain .

    • June Irene

      I think you have a very good point.I hope we can learn about this on the course,.
      Facts about the bad influences that might damage a child’s sense of what is good or bad.
      Painless destruction of little men on the computer screen,rewarded with ‘bonus points’ does seem to be far away from reality. No high moral feelings that are what makes humans’ top of the species’! Will the coming generations be just like drones?

  • federica

    Computer games can be more or less violent. For this reason children through their parents’education must know choose the correct computer game they want to do

  • Antonette Clarke-Akalanne

    I say every thing in moderation. Computer technology enables children to access a wide range of information and knowledge but this should be monitored by parents and care givers because some information could be harmful. Computer games are fun and could enhance a child’s hand eye coordination, cognitive abilities, ability to think quickly and to sequence. Parents and carers should ensure that children access the internet safely and not be exposed to inappropriate viewings. Children should be educated against giving out personal information to internet friends and not accept invitations to meet people they met on the internet. By building up a good rapport between parents and children, trust which may enable children to confide in their parents in respect of suspicious contacts on the internet. Children should also be given the opportunity to have fun away from the internet, for example, be creative, make their own toys etc. Keeping one’s child away from computer games etc would only make them use the devices in secret as most of their friends have access to computer games and the internet.

  • zawhtetpine

    children should not play the games . it is obvious from my experience that children who sit in front of TV games no longer interest their school lessons and pay attention to parents’ talk. to matter makes worse, most of the children even forget to have meal because of addiction to it. time passed by, they would face health problems. but from the positive point of view, playing the games some time shows signs of some benefits such as ability to think creatively and critically and brightness of the brain. this is a case for saying that we must agree with.

  • zawhtetpine

    i never think of an event at extreme point.there are advantages due to technology whereas it may benefit people. developments in technology from day to day through the efforts of inventors and innovators gives rise to higher standard of living of people and improvement of quality of life as well. for example, food security, smoother transportation and economic development. onthe other hand , it may be argued that it creates political crisis , wars and problems relating to balance of power among the world nations. so , anyhow , we must accept and adapt this is the nature.

  • Reema H. Al-Noweiri

    I am optimist technology.Every technology has pros & cons.In my opinion, the problem is not in the technologh it self, the problem is how we use it.We have to guide our childern to the ideal usage of each technology,so they will get lots of knowldge and benefits.

  • Hind Al-Shybani.

    I believe that every thing has it`s own positive and negative effects. The persons who know this fact are adults and not children, so the big responsibility is falling in parents shoulders. They should put security lock in the sites which can ruin the children`s innocence . Also,they need to put limited time for playing in those games.
    In addition, I believe that they can play with the children to see the content of the games.
    I personally does this with my sister. In this way, I have fun and become comfortable about her.

  • Craig Close

    My hope would be that in the future our understanding of the impact of the usage of all types of digital media will be understood to the extent that anyone sufficiently motivated will be able to reap the benefits of these activities without suffering any negative consequences. The issue I find troubling is the willingness of most parents to allow their children’s exposure to these technologies before the long term effects are understood, I appreciate that given the ubiquity of digital media devices, it must be difficult for any parent to deny their children access to them”all my friends have it” must be a familiar argument to most parents. So essentially children are unwitting Guinea Pigs in a vast neurological experiment, the results of which will only become apparent many years in the future and can digital media be manipulated for the positive benefit of children?

  • Jacki Hart

    Has the computer game replaced the Television as the “child minder”? Small child in baby chair watching daytime TV so mum can do the chores. As the child grows, social skills come to the fore, listening, talking, playing together.
    The 5 year old with a mobile phone with the “app” for this & the “app” for that. They can soon learn to text friends using “text shorthand”.Selfies & Candy Crush.
    WHERE DID THE REAL CHILDHOOD GO? PLAYING IN THE PARK OR A GARDEN WITH FRIENDS, TAGG, COWBOYS & INDIANS,……..now more likely to be “call of Duty” & how hany can I “nuke” before tea-time………not at a meal table but before the Alter of the TV or even eaten “on-the-hoof”.
    GRANDMA IS SO OLDFASHIONED…….BUT CHILH-HOOD APPEARED MUCH MORE FUN THEN!!

    • Craig Close

      I agree that childhood seems to be losing something precious, however, Obe of the things you point out in your comment is how easily children use apps to communicate with their peers, could that perhaps be a positive thing and perhaps aid the development of the child’s social skills?

  • Jackie Montgomery

    The questions were rather open to get meaningful answers. Kids these days have an opportunity of finding out so much about the world from computers and learning can be so much fun.
    I definately see the pros and cons of computer games etc, although it concerns me how much time both adults and children spend addicted to screens, with many hours lost that takes time away from real life conversations, chores, listening, making (other than virtually) and sleeping, watching the world, etc. The world is changing, in many cases due to computers, we just have to be careful not to throw the baby out with it.

  • Hanan Qaisi

    This issue is important so much especially that in our lives now, the children became their
    use of modern means of a computer, iPad and mobile, games electronic.. becomes a child
    is a social and secluded from the family as the child becomes the academic level of
    the child is low, this has a very negative effect on the child.. muse keenness family on
    work scheduling them when the use of these means, but also a light work schedule and
    time to study and interact with family and punish who break the laws of the table..

    Also it has to be the work of lectures and educational sessions to encourge children to
    mitigate the use of electronic means and encourage learning and reading, among others.

  • Rich Markle

    There is an underlying assumption that there is an ideal way for children to be raised. I do not believe this, other than to say, as adults we would encourage learning for the joy of it. Children in this digital age are going to be more technologically immersed than most of our generation. This is how they gain the basic skills for this environment. My wife always says, “All things in moderation”. I couldn’t agree more.

  • Zélia Maia

    I think the game is always important. Children have more skill and I think they will have better skills to manage the computer. They will also be informed about the games and other computer skills, depending on their interest in researching and acquiring more knowledge. In no way can allow a child to remain hours playing, making the game an addiction and an obsession. Play, yes, like fun, find the pleasure of the game and share with a friend or family member. Having fun, playing outdoors with traditional and classic games, read, learn to play a musical instrument, playing a sport, cycling, sharing a chat with colleagues or friends, do camping, going to the beach, swimming, boating , hiking, visiting museums, will bring good benefits to youth and adults. In my opinion, children will grow up healthy, sociable, with a mind in a body and spirit are seforem well accompanied by their parents and school teachers. “Every dog ​​has his day”!

  • Houda Almaamari

    This subject is very important because a lot of children now concentrate on technology devices. There must be rules that limit their over usage and to get time with family sharing. Parents should apply the punishment if the child doesn’t follow rules. Relationships between people in future will break up because they’ took on computers.

    Also, government should do quizzes to encourage children limit use of computers and concentrate on books.

  • akpos

    lt is a good method of learning

  • Amy Wilhelm

    A thought: children who have limits on playing computer games and even traditional sports or board games have parental figures in their life that teach the value of setting limits, improving the odds that their children will be better in delaying gratification, thus improving their peer status. Peer status is a tremendous influence for most children and adults. As a result children with higher peer status are placed in leadership roles and are attentive to detail. True or False doesn’t quite cut it. Computer gaming and time spent playing computer games studies have far too many extraneous variables to draw any real conclusion. A negative or positive correlation does not demonstrate cause and effect.

  • margarita arias

    so tired mothers and fathers got an aide in new technologies that catch the attention of the children. if children are bored at school it is a target for the teachers catch their attention. about being disinterested in human contact and opting out of society, probably it is a way children have found to avoid bullying. my children are adults, but i see how children are borning with a new chip to learn new technologies. sorry i don´t speak english

    • Jacki Hart

      No problem Margarita, I knew what you said. and I think you are correct.

  • Ron Martin

    I believe that some channeled interaction between children and the computer via games is a good thing, helping to develop keyboard and other skills.

    Games should encourage problem solving and creativity, not just solving problems with the biggest gun to hand. Keep violent games in the realms of fantasy land or a higher more strategic level, rather than one man with a big gun takes on the world and wins without a hair out of place.
    It would be well nigh impossible to have different levels of games for different MENTAL age groups. A six year old doesn’t need to be fed the idea it’s good to hit somebody with a baseball bat because they might try. Some 14 or 16 year olds with a lower mental age might also think it is the thing to do, whilst others in that age group would I hope consider it as an option of last resort.
    So a one size fits all approach isn’t the answer, the snag is I have no idea phase in the more far fetched and or violent games to those who can understand it is not real life.

  • joyce barker

    I would like to see the evidence, but am too busy with my own studies at the moment. I would like to know whether the same results apply to younger children, and if the older ones in the study were socialising with others who were also playing the game, if those who did not play the games did so through choice, or did they not have access to the games, and if they did not, why not. The role of the games as a substitute for family interaction, especially with younger children interests me, especially when I see youngsters of pre-school age using them. I feel that they are missing out on the experiences which they need to draw on in later studies for example in science.

  • Caroline

    and I think playing a computer game can be better than passively sitting watching television.

  • Caroline

    I have seen children especially those with autistic spectrum disorders make significant gains via computer games.

  • Joanna Krista Abella

    We are now living in the so called modern technology.EVerything we are using in our everyday life has somethng to do with it.It really help us specially in communicating to our love ones even they are in far places.HOwever,when we use it in improper way it can be harmful to everyone.It can destroy also the studies of childrens because they focuses on computer games.Inorder to achieve the goals succesful we need to use it wisely.

  • Kant Kaw Thinn

    Yes. Because they play computer games that affect their eyes, lack of environmental information .They don’t concentrate their lessons and not to study regularly that affect their education. So above these facts, computer games are dangerous among children.

  • Odion Tobi

    Everything Life presents has an ADVANTAGE and also a DISADVANTAGE.
    but as for computers, its advantages are much than its disadvantages, computers are not really damaging kids, but helping them improve socially and academically, there are ratings for computer games and softwares, if i will say, i think the PARENTS are to be blamed for less supervision of the kind of games , softwares, kids are operating.
    With the help of Zuma, my little sister operates the mouse faster than me, she clicks fast and type fast with the help of Mavis Beacon. she is also good at spellings. but i will never let her play Asphalt or Grand Theft Auto.. i don’t want her to think ‘killing and smashing cars are good ‘,.
    so , i end by saying the parents should be blamed if computer are damaging their kids, parents needs to keep an EYE ON THE PROGRAMS OR GAMES THE KIDS USE.

  • nezha wannos

    iam technology optimist in our day life technology is very important in all sides but in the way we use it for me computer games may be useful for childeren , it can evoke children,minds in away or another and it is exciting ,but on the otbner hand it is harmful if childeren spend lots of time playing computer games , also it is necessery for children to recognize digital world and how it can be used