"First, let me state that I'm not at all a TV, media, computer opponent (for example, I thought the Academy of Pediatrics was ill-advised to forbid TV for kids under 24 months), as long as they are used in moderation and with close parental attention to the content. The electronic media will certainly be a fact of life for your kids and, hopefully, a positive one.
Having said that, these omnipresent 21st century TV and computer-based experiences have three qualities that worry me:
- Everything moves at a fast pace. Even the great Sesame Street has taken some heat for promoting short attention spans as their lessons fly by at a dizzying pace (and they are the good guys). Most TV images are fleeting: BIF! BAM! BOOM! Process it quick and move on to the next image.
- These experiences are essentially passive ones. Everything is laid out for the watcher, unlike books or even radio. We don't have much work to do; mostly we're along for the ride. (I love Harry Potter, but I was sorry they made the movies. It was heartwarming to see children so excited about reading, each with his/her own image of Hogwarts and Harry, fueled by imagination. Now the need for that creative leap is gone - the movies have done all the work for us and it's hard to imagine Harry as anything other than the actor who plays him.)
- There are no long, complicated stories, no slowly developing narrative flow, no time or need to anticipate and guess what is coming next. Our kids are being raised on a diet of short stories instead of novels.
Could such experiences have unintended long-term consequences?"He goes on to encourage us to give kids books very early, and suggests that the earlier a child forms relationships with books (instead of e-media) the better chance they'll have to see books as fun, and to build positive associations with reading.
Found via Parent Hacks.