" I don't want my kids to lose their eyesight over computer. I want them to be normal kids, playing hide and seek, spending time outdoors on fresh air, keeping company with children their own age and not some "weirdos" who spend hours in front of the computer screen. It isn't healthy and it is morally wrong", said a friend of mine, a worried mother of two.

I have spent some time thinking about her words and the longer I thought about them, the more I realized that she is right and that she is wrong at the same time. If a kid sits in front of the computer killing ducks, shooting bears and blowing up ninja turtles, we can't say that s/he is contributing to her/his physical or mental well being. If I take those games into consideration, I must say that it is healthier to play with a ball breathing fresh air and mingling with other children. However, Mom from my example, hasn't found any objection to the TV screen, which radiates too and broadcasts uninteresting, stupid shows from which a kid can learn very little or nothing at all. She didn`t have anything against her children sitting HOURS on end in front of TV sets watching cartoons with the same amount of violence or even more per animated creature than any computer game. She also didn't mention scary toys like guns, revolvers, shot guns and hand bombs her son got for his birthday proudly showing them around. Fresh air in towns is just a fantasy wish, and playing with other children doesn't necessarily bring intellectual challenge. So, everything has its positive and negative implications.

Although many computer games are objectionable, especially as far as the mount of violence in them is concerned, the majority of various games and programs designed for kids take credit for developing sensory and perception abilities. Children who have opportunity to "play" with a keyboard will be able to easily comprehend other programs, because they will be familiar with the medium. Why is it important becomes obvious in a job search. Computer skills have become a condition for employment. Whether Moms like it or not, whether they want such a future for their kids or not, computers have entered all stages of today's business, and tomorrow every job will depend on them.

Maybe a ball, a swing in a park, and a game in the sand, seem more appropriate and healthier for the development of kids, but they are disappearing in the attics of the past. The wheel of evolution and technological progress can't be turned backwards. Computers are here to stay. If we open our minds and try to find out more about this "toy", we shall see the advantages hidden for all those who know nothing about computers and hide their own insecurity behind rejection.

Computer is the source of treasures yet to be discovered, and our kids are the explorers of the future "continents". Even now as you read these lines, in the countries which are more developed than ours in regard to living standard or technological culture, very small children do not only play computer games, but use e-mail, create their own home pages, mailing lists, chat rooms, communicate and make friends all over the world raising their awareness of other countries and versatility of cultures. They learn how to use programs the way we used to learn how to play Monopoly, exercising the way of thinking we can call "computhink" which leads them to the cyber-future. Kids like those are ahead from the very start from those who have never seen the keyboard spending time in the sand pools. The reality of technological progress does not care about our acceptance or liking, it, relentlessly, requires adjustment. Unless you adjust on time, the wheel will leave you behind.

What can we do? We can use the advantages and try to lessen the disadvantages. I am sure that no mother would vote for illiteracy of her kid. And in the school of the future, the pen will be replaced by a keyboard.

(c) NS

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