Computer reliance may lower children's development and creativity: report

09:36, May 10, 2011      

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Technology may have a harmful effect on children's development and creativity, Australia's report found on Tuesday.

The Pilot Pen Australia Creativity Report found that children could be depending too much on technology such as computers.

Written by psychologist Kimberley O'Brien, the report suggested that students are becoming scared of handwritten tasks as there is no spelling or grammar check tool to pick up their mistakes as they go along.

"Children who develop this kind of dependency on computer software are less likely to write using a pen and paper given that they will feel a vulnerability to failure," the report said.

It said using software that immediately tells children to correct errors like spelling and grammar could disrupts their thought patterns and stunts their ideas, and children who hand write are able to produce almost twice as many ideas as those using computer technology to write a creative story.

The report studied 300 Year five and six children, and found handwritten essays were completed significantly faster and contained a higher standard of sentence structure, grammar, punctuation, cohesion, ideas development and organization than those completed using keyboards.

A further study found students in Years two, four and six produced up to twice as many ideas writing on pen and paper as those on computers.

O'Brien said the results were due to computers putting extra pressure on writers to edit as they go rather than get their ideas down first and edit minor mistakes later.

O'Brien said children were most likely to develop their handwriting skills between the ages of eight and 10, and she urged all teachers and parents to ensure their children met community standards for legible handwriting.

However, she said that computers are a good support tool, and they should not replace handwriting entirely.

Source: Xinhua

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