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Computers harm young,” US group says
WASHINGTON Tuesday September 12 (Reuters) - Early exposure to computers stops healthy development in children such technology should only be introduced after elementary school, a group of U.S. educators and psychologists said on Tuesday.
The Alliance for Childhood, a group that focuses on child development, said in a report that computers and the Internet prevent preschool children from interacting with each other and adults.
"Children need a healthy education, and computers cannot provide them with a healthy education because children need a living education -- with live people," said Joan Almon, a former preschool teacher and U.S. coordinator for the organization.
The U.S. government has spent billions of dollars a year on new technology for elementary schools. In 1994, the Clinton administration said it would work with public schools to have them hooked up to the Internet by the end of this year. According to the report, in the last five years public schools have spent more than $27 billion in computer technology and related costs.
`'Children are not getting warmth, artistic inspiration and understanding. Only a teacher can do that," Kim John Payne, a Massachusetts child psychologist, told Reuters in a phone interview.
As of late 1999, 95 percent of schools were connected, said a spokesman for the U.S. Department of Education.
Almon said some schools have cut back on teachers, library books, music and arts programs, and field trips to parks, while spending millions on computer hardware and software.
Studies show that introduction to computers at an early age does not increase children's creativity and can cause eye strain, repetitive stress injuries and obesity.
Those who frequently draw on a computer are reluctant to create hand drawings, and are extremely critical of their handwritten art work because it is not "sophisticated enough," she said.
The effects go beyond that, Payne said. She said that increased computer lab time and shorter breaks make it difficult for children to develop their social skills. Early exposure makes children unaware of other children's emotions, she added. It is particularly damaging at a young age because the brain is most active in terms of the socialization process.
"When children are playing with a computer they are not playing with each other," Payne said. "It's a virtual world not a real world."
But not everyone agreed with the report. Alan Delamater, a child psychologist at the University of Miami, agreed about the risks such as posture problems and obesity, but said this was outweighed by benefits such as educational games.
"It's an inactive activity, but so is reading," Delamater said. He said children need to learn to use computers at an early age because they are part of modern life, but stressed that parents need to monitor things like computer games.
While Almon and her peers encouraged parents and teachers to keep young children away from computers, they favored their use in the education of older children.
"They are wonderful tools," she said. "Let's be really careful about how we use them."

المطلوب

· summarise the article in your own words – 1 paragraph

· discuss the ideas expressed in the article – 1 or 2 paragraphs

كيفية تقييم الدرجات:

Summary
six marks for the topic + main idea
four marks for relevant details

Discussion
six marks for expressing and describing a relevant opinion
two marks for relating this to your own life, and/or giving detailed support to your opinion
two marks for considering wider (e.g. global or societal) implications


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