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The Secrets to Raising a Smarter Child
- By Inderbir Sandhu, Ph.D



Jan 10, 2003 Issue

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                                      ~ B R A I N Y - Z I N E ~

                           "Learn How to Nurture A Smarter Kid" 

        Volume #1 Issue #5   ISSN: 0219-7642   January 10, 2003

                   Andrew L., Publisher,

By subscription only! You are receiving this newsletter
because you requested a subscription. 

T A B L E  O F  C O N T E N T S : 

(1) ~ EDITORIAL ~ 
(2) ~ ARTICLES - How to prevent harmful impact of computer 
                           on your children ~
(4) ~ CONTACT US - Contact and Subscriber Information ~

E D I T O R I A L - W e l c o m e !

Dear Subscriber,

I hope your holidays were merry. You probably have your new
year resolution drafted by now. Did you plan anything for 
your children besides yourself? As for me, I have made a 
target to get my boys to read by end of 2003. You know, once 
you have a target, you are 'forced' to take some actions ....

One of BrainyZine's subscribers wrote to me requesting an
article about how the computer could affect young children. 
So, here you are. If anyone has special request or feedback,
please don't hesitate to contact me. Have a good day!

Andrew L.

Publisher/Editor of the BrainyZine


"How to prevent harmful impact of computer on your children"

Today, you can find computers in almost every household. And
computer has been introduced into the early childhood
education programs and elementary schools at the national
level. As a parent, how do you utilize the computer on your
children? Do you know the potential hazards of computers?

When parents were asked why they used computers with their
children at home, the most frequent response was "helping in
learning" followed by "important in today's society". While
it is true that computers can be used in developmentally
appropriate ways beneficial to children, but they can also
be misused. How? Here are some potential harm:

Programs' content and age-appropriate
Many parents can mentioned the names of their children's
favorite computer software, but they didn't necessarily know
much about the programs' content. Another mistake is
off-the-shelf programs chosen were not age-appropriate to
their children. Therefore, parent has to screen the computer
software before presenting them to their children. They have
to ensure the computer programs for young children are
supposed to encourage dialogue and interaction instead of
just ‘pointing, clicking and moving a mouse'. They have to
ask questions such as: What is the content? Have the
software producers tested the content for age

Time with computers
Some parents tend to use computer (and TV) as a babysitter.
When this happen, your children could be spending a lot of
time with computer. As a result, they have high potential of
trouble with social interaction in the long run and are
harder to engage in more traditional play and reading. Not
to mention about the physical consequences of children
staying in front of the computer at very young ages. One
guideline is to limit young children's time with computers
(and TV). Generally, 30 minutes a day on the computer is
reasonable for 2-3 year olds. Most importantly, accompany
your child while at the computer to help and discuss what
the child is seeing or making happen on the screen.

Limitation of Computer
There is no doubt about many useful computer programs that
your children can learn a lot from. However, a computer is a
tool, just like a book, a pencil or a television, which can
be used in an appropriate ways that beneficial to children
but it has certain limitations that cannot be ignored.
Computer programs today often do so much that they require
less work on the part of the child. As they click on the
mouse, these stimulated experiences may not help the
children to learn especially in the areas of pretend play
and the development of symbolic thinking. Children can learn
important concepts through everyday, real-life experiences
than using computer. For example, categorizing big and small
as you compare the sizes of the toys when they are playing.
It is more meaningful and longer-lasting that what the
computers could provide. Traditional toys such as
shape-sorter allows the children to have ‘hands-on'
opportunity to improve their fine-motor skills and
problem-solving skills. It is certainly a richer experience
compared to learning shape using computer.

Computer Games
Do you expose your child to computer games at young age?
That was one strong reason how a child will grow up to
addict to computer games. When they are exposed to computer
games from young, they will tend to be attracted for more 
graphical and motional intensive games which lead to violent 
computer games eventually. There were separate studies 
conducted at Stanford University and Tohoku University in 
Japan that came to the same conclusion. The studies indicated
playing computer games were halting the process of brain 
development which essentially causing brain damage. In 
addition, computer game playing appeared to increase children' 
aggressive behavior and affecting their ability to control
potential anti-social element of their behavior. Hence, only
expose your children to educational programs. Companies such as 
'The Learning Company' and 'Knowledge Adventure' have developed
excellent programs for baby and toddlers.

Reader Rabbit Playtime for Baby and Toddler

JumpStart Toddlers and My Learning Scrapbook

Computers are redefining how we gain knowledge and the
impact of computers has changed our daily lives. We have to
acknowledge these changes. However, research has shown that
computers supplement and DO NOT replace other highly valued
early childhood activities and materials, such as art,
blocks, sand, water, books and dramatic play. The growing
use of computers demands better monitoring. Parents should
make sure computers are used to their children benefit, to
develop literacy, cognitive and social skills.

N E X T  I S S U E
Next issue, you'll find how to give your child encyclopedia

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