Friday, November 14, 2008

More from "In Defence of Childhood"

I couldn't rest until I added this part about Technology and children's inner wildness.
Mercogliano dedicates an entire chapter to the topic and it doesn't look good (I suspected this all along).
According to M the internet, TV, video games, music videos and other forms of cyberspace are "all major sources of childhood domestication."
Drawing from many research sources he goes on to explain how they are harmful on many levels: emotionally they have a tendency to discourage children from being in genuine physical and emotional contact with one another.. fostering a sense of connectedness that is often illusory.

Electronic media is so enticing and "provides so much instant and effortless gratification that they are severely eroding kids' desire and ability to engage in real play. These technologies render the consumer passive, a state that is the antithesis of real play, removing the physicality, the imagination, and the interactivity upon which inner wildness feeds."

Mercogliano examines "the pervasive extent to which the entertainment and advertising industries influence children's thoughts, feelings, values, and the sometimes irreversible personal choices children make based on that influence."
What is even more chilling is the recent research he quotes that is beginning to determine the effects of new medium on children-from the standpoint of violence and aggression-how the violent content desensitizes children to real life aggression and violence- to neurological effect such as the out- right hypnotic effect on the brain.
Dangerously addictive, they are found to be taking over the life of some young people ( and he has seen this first hand in his own school,) slowing down thinking.
Neurologically electronic media, especially TV, video and computer games "suppresses the thinking and imagining centers in the brain so severely that it renders the medium absolutely useless as an educational tool." (Emery).

From a number of recent studies he quotes that television causes memory impairment. "The reason for tv's apparent suppression of left brain mental processes: the technology of the device itself. The images appearing on a TV screen (or computer monitor) are generated by a cathode -ray tube that emits radiant light, rather than the reflected or ambient light that brings us the rest of our visual experience. "Ambient light does not in and of itself have a particular effect on our nervous system, radiant light has a potent activating and deactivating influence on many neurological processes.

In conclusion "not only is the tidal wave of high tech games and entertainment negatively influencing the quality of children's thinking an feeling... but it is also potentially impairing the ability to have any thoughts at all."
Chew on that.

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