Parents need to question use of technology in schools – doctor

31 July 2014

computer childOneNews 1st August 2014
Trying to advance a child’s development through the use of technology before they are ready could cause more harm than good, a doctor is warning.

Dr Michael Nagel told TV ONE’s Breakfast one of the most concerning things he is seeing is that schools are becoming more reliant on technology, and as a result “we see younger and younger children using things that perhaps they’re not ready for”.

He said researchers, particularly in the United States, suggest that there’s no real need for children who are in kindergarten and primary school to use technology.

Dr Nagel says it tends to isolate children and can impact on a child’s ability to read and write, saying that there is more to be gained from reading a paperback book than reading off a screen.

When asked if he thought it was relevant for parents to want their children to be tech-savvy, he said: “I think that’s a product of an older generational belief that you have to get into computers straight away, because not that long ago you had to know the language of a PC. Now it’s so intuitive you don’t have to do that.”

He said parents should be questioning schools if they are asked to buy a tablet or laptop for their children to work on while they are at school, “because often it’s just a marketing ploy”.

His comments come after a new school in Hobsonville in Auckland went as far as ditching textbooks and pens and pencils for cutting edge technology.

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