COMPUTER USE A BOOST TO YOUNG MINDS, STUDY FINDS
Mon Jun 7,12:24 AM ET
CHICAGO (Reuters) - Preschool children who use a computer appear to
develop better learning skills than peers who lack computer savvy,
U.S. researchers said on Monday.
In a study of 122 children aged 3 to 5, those exposed to a home or
school computer either alone or with someone else three to four times
a week scored higher on tests that gauge school readiness and
cognitive development than non-users, said the study published in the
Some earlier studies have found computer use improves children's fine
motor skills and improves recognition of numbers and letters.
But other research has found no relationship between computer use and
children's knowledge or language capability, and some experts believe
computer use displaces essential childhood experiences such as playing
with toys or with peers.
But researchers found no benefit to children having electronic or
video games in the home. Of the 56 percent of children with computers
at home, a majority had such games, wrote study authors Xiaoming Li, a
pediatrician at Wayne State University in Detroit, and psychologist
Melissa Atkins of Ohio State University in Columbus.
The authors said the study was limited, using parents' estimates of
time spent on the computer and not assessing how often educational
software was used. The study did adjust for the wealth and educational
status of the children's families.
They said young children "use" a computer in a variety of ways:
typing, playing games, using learning software, jiggling the mouse or
joystick, watching images, or observing and imitating parents or
siblings when they use the computer.