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Computers, Videos and TV: Their Effect on Children

From: Barry Vogel
Length: 29:00

Effect on the developing brain of computers, video and television Read the full description.

Default-piece-image-2 It wasn't very long ago that children's entertainment would be playing with objects, being told or read stories, or perhaps listening to the radio during a significant portion of each child's early years. With the advent of television, videos and computers, these tactile and oral worlds are often left behind. Children who are frequently exposed to television, videos and computer games in the first seven years of life have been found to develop pathways in the brain that later are significantly deficient in reading, studying and socialization skills. It happends quickly: Four hours per day of television translates to twenty-eight hours per week or two months per year. Dr. Jane M. Healy is an educational psychologist with expertise in developmental psychology, and specialist in the brain development of young children. Her recent books, "Endangered Minds," and "Failure to Connect" discuss how television, videos and computers affect the minds of children. I spoke with Dr. Healy by phone from her home in Colorado and asked her to begin by describing the role of media on the developing mind of a young child.

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Piece Description

It wasn't very long ago that children's entertainment would be playing with objects, being told or read stories, or perhaps listening to the radio during a significant portion of each child's early years. With the advent of television, videos and computers, these tactile and oral worlds are often left behind. Children who are frequently exposed to television, videos and computer games in the first seven years of life have been found to develop pathways in the brain that later are significantly deficient in reading, studying and socialization skills. It happends quickly: Four hours per day of television translates to twenty-eight hours per week or two months per year. Dr. Jane M. Healy is an educational psychologist with expertise in developmental psychology, and specialist in the brain development of young children. Her recent books, "Endangered Minds," and "Failure to Connect" discuss how television, videos and computers affect the minds of children. I spoke with Dr. Healy by phone from her home in Colorado and asked her to begin by describing the role of media on the developing mind of a young child.

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Review of Computers, Videos and TV: Their Effect on Children

As far as interviewing techniques, Mr. Vogel seemed to do a rather good job of asserting himself and keeping the interviewee on track. The production was a bit monotonous for me; in a half-hour long program I prefer some variation and polyphony.

But really, my objection to this piece has to do with the material presented. Although I agree with a lot of the things the guest says early on in the show, mostly concerned with brain development and environmental impact upon it, I am troubled by the certainty and vehemence of her interpretation of this information. When I list "authoritative" as one of the tones of this piece, I mean it in a rather pejorative sense, authoritarian might be more apt. Trying to make a science out of childcare, it seems to me, is not a wise thing to do. From my perspective, a bit more information and a bit less dogmatism would be an improvement here.

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Review of Computers, Videos and TV: Their Effect on Children

Vogel does a good job as an interviewer, knowing when to interrupt when the speaker rolls off on a tangent or seems about to set off beyond general listener knowledge or understanding. The subject matter is not terribly new, but the interviewee is certainly an authority and new parents will certainly stay glued. This is a telephone interview which is not tape-synched which makes it difficult to sustain 30 minutes of holding forth. vm

Timing and Cues

single piece, 29 minutes

Musical Works

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