Alexandria Online

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Kids and Computers: Leave the Meter Running

Why would you want your kid to spend MORE time on the computer? My kids grew up with game boys, game boy advance, game boy DS, Neopets, Runescape, World of Warcraft, Spore, Wii, and somewhere in there they master Microsoft Word too. But one microchip-powered device that they  have used ever since they were little was a small cooking timer. Twenty minutes, half and hour, extra, whatever they got it was all they got and they had to keep track of it. When we heard the beeping it reminded us and them that it was time to get off the darned machine and go play outside or read a book. We have four people and four computers in the house. One computer belongs to my wife, and the other three? They are all mine. Our kids do not own a computer. My 17 year old drives but he does not have his own car. We have one TV -- a 22" CRT (more fat than flat) -- and one ping-pong table that we also share.

Jonathan Zimmerman, resident of the now notorious Lower Merion School District and historian, wrote today in the Philadelphia Inquirer my exact sentiments on the issue of handing out computers to kids. Once a school hands it to a kid, then the school is the boss, not the parent. If the child wants to take it up to her room, she can, unless that's one of the battles you want to pick. You're not the boss of her computer any more. Whereas if it's one of my many computers, then I'm the boss of it. He and I aren't the only ones. Another friend of ours and resident of "LM" said the same: the recent and highly publicized breach of privacy was a very bad incident; however, the 1:1 program itself presents a persistent and growing problem: too much unsupervised privacy.

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