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At what age can a child start using a computer?

14.01.2011

Let us consider at what age a child might be allowed to use a computer. Experts have suggested that children should be forbidden from using computers in an academic setting until the age of 9, due to adverse impacts of computer use on the mind.

Psychologists including Dr. Aric Sigman, confirm that premature introduction and the excessive use of technology have negative effects on children’s development since their cognitive abilities are being formed at this stage: “There is evidence to show that introducing information and communication technology (ICT) in the early years actually subverts the very skills that government ministers said they want children to develop, such as the ability to pay attention for sustained periods.”

In contrast, the counter debate supports  ‘positive’ effects of new technologies on cognitive and social development for children, arguing that such technologies enable children with opportunities for educational development in globally digitized world.

The researchers conclude that computers should be allowed (in schools), for academic purposes beginning at the age of 9. They support that the added value of educational software used for the attainment of educational goals can no longer be doubted. However, the following precautions should be considered: practice computer education in moderation (the duration can be increased from less than an hour (for 6 year-olds) to two-three hours a day (for those around 14), apply educational software that has a real value for learning and is adapted to children’s/students’ psychological age, use the internet only after teachers have completed the necessary configurations to ensure children’s secure access to websites and finally educators must make sure that their child understands the computers role as a tool for communication, information, skill development and play.