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Is computer use harming our children?

Sat, 16 Aug 2008 17:13:43 BST

An eminent British neuroscientist is questioning whether young children are damaging their brains with prolonged computer use.

Baroness Susan Greenfield, Director of the Royal Institution, believes there could be a link between the shortening attention span of children and the growing use of computers.

In an interview for Radio 4’s iPM, Baroness Greenfield questioned whether a small child’s brain got accustomed to the quick responses from a PC, preventing them from learning to concentrate for long periods of time.

After asking why there was a greater demand for drugs for attentional problems, Professor Greenfield speculated that it could “be something to do with the increased exposure of young children in front of a screen."

Are we harming our children by exposing them to PCs at an early age? Should parents prevent their children from using PCs when they're very young? Do you worry about the amount of time your child spends using a computer?


Having grown up from a very early age playing computer games for hours at a time (starting in the days of the Dragon 32 and Commadore 64) I'd say this report is nonsense. If anything playing computer games improves attention span. What other thing could get children to sit still and concentrate on one thing for 7-8 hours as I used to when playing games like Civilisation?

Games having a negative effect on your social life? Possibly. Reducing attention spans? Rubbish.
Graham, Sheffield

The computer is an important tool in both business, education and socialising over distances. Computer literacy is a must for most people who wish to gain employment so children should learn the skills. They should also be closely supervised by their parents as to how long it is used in each session and what.
items they are viewing

The inane text spellings which appears to be the norm of many of todays children is a far greater danger than the use of the computer

Of course children are harmed by computers & TV, you only have to listen to them. They can hardly string a sentence together and live in a world of their own. The fist stage on the dysfunctional, Anti-Social road.
Barrington Bugg, United Kingdom

Children and adults have become desensitised to pornography thanks to the internet.

It has done irreparable harm to our children and I am personally addicted to my computer , spending nearly all my waking hours writing on blogs at the BBC and various daily newspapers.

My marriage broke up over it.
Terry Burgess, Manchester, United Kingdom

If computer games keep teenagers indoors at night, they should be encouraged, not criticised.
Suffolk Boy

Who makes up this rubbish?

I've found that computers and consoles actually IMPROVE a childs hand eye co-ordination, puzzle solving skills and makes then concentrate MORE than sitting them down with a book or jigsaw puzzle, both my neice and nephew play games and they're NOT antisocial.

Also a computer helped my sister CURE her Dyslexia just by using Word as it underlines misspelt words and helped her learn the correct spellings.
San, Kent, UK

You only to have to talk to a youngster (if you can drag them away from their PCs/Gameboys) to realise the harm that continual use of modern technology has done. We have created a monosyllabic, unsociable generation of morons. We should be really proud!!
Chris S, St Helens, United Kingdom

Judging from some of the badly written and even more badly thought-out comments you read on HYS, I think there is pretty good evidence that computer use damages brains.
[DisgustedOfMitcham2], London, United Kingdom

You would have to be wearing blinkers if you haven't seen the young people working a computerized till that can't give change without it.
gazzie Fedup, London, United Kingdom

I cringe when I see children plonked in front of TV's or computers because parents have bred for benefits and housing and cannot be bothered!
Computers are not bad, TV's are not bad but millions of Parents are!
Louis Cannell, Northampton, United Kingdom

I agree but not all of those parents are on benefits many are middle class proffessionals.
Michael Lincoln