Blogging Carnival / Media

Slaying the computer dragon

This post was written for inclusion in the monthly Homeschool Blogging Carnival hosted by Lisa at The Squishable Baby and Keisha at Unschooling Momma. This month our participants are talking about online gaming and learning.


I’ll admit it before I go any further: I’m a technophobe. I only recently arrived, panting and gasping, in the twentieth century. I was only able to start blogging through the faithful help of my darling friend, and I am only able to continue with the faithful help of my darling children. In my criticism of the World Wide Web, I am open to the charge of being  a Luddite, an old-fashioned crank, or a dog-in-the-manger.

Obviously, I’m not totally opposed to it. It’s very good for what it’s good for. But it’s all too obvious that it can take over young people’s lives and rob them of years of reality and productivity.

It’s like television. There is very strong evidence now, after decades of jokes about “square eyes”, that television is indeed detrimental to the human mind and a major cause of ADD. But the proof comes too late. Parents are dependent on the square babysitter and don’t know how to manage children without it.

Many voices have been raised in concern and panic over the effects of too much computer use, with complementary voices pooh-poohing them. By the time the solid evidence has been presented, it will be far too late: whatever the dangers, however great they are, they will be outweighed by the horror, or the impossible inconvenience, of giving it up.

So my approach to computer use is simple. Use it for what it’s good for: instant information, fast facts, zippy communication. Whatever you can do somewhere else, do somewhere else. Here are some guidelines which I think are sensible, and I applaud anyone who can be stricter than this:

– The younger children are, the more they should be kept away from screens.

– No-one should go on the computer without a definite objective.

– Children should not have their own computers or cellphones.

– Inflict punishments (in our case, extra housework jobs) for using the computer without permission.

– Think about where the PC should be located. Many families have it in their living area so that everyone can see what’s on the screen – an excellent idea. We keep ours in a small, cold, uncomfortable room, which also has some advantages.

– Check viewing histories or use a programme that records where everyone has been on the Web.

– Computer games should be the scrapings at the bottom of the barrel of things to do. I would tell my children to play computer games on the last day of an entire week of rain (and our annual rainfall can be as low as fourteen inches).

But what about what this post is supposed to be about? What about all those wonderful educational programmes and games? Well, I’m sorry, but they get the raspberry from me before I’ve even looked at them. I know the temptation for a busy mother to have a screen teach her children for her is more than I could trust myself with. I just fall back on my Rule #1: If you can learn it somewhere else, learn it somewhere else. Call me an alarmist, call me a Luddite, an old-fashioned crank, a dog-in-the-manger, call me anything you will. But I have every confidence that my fears will be vindicated.

Visit The Squishable Baby to see how you can participate in the next Homeschool Blogging Carnival where we will be talking about Homeschooling Schedules.*******hmschool blogging button

Please take the time to read the submissions by other Carnival participants:

4 thoughts on “Slaying the computer dragon

  1. Pingback: Tips on Staying Safe While Learning Online - The Squishable Baby

  2. Pingback: Raising gamers: what they learn… and what to do if you think they’re playing too much | Undogmatic Unschoolers

  3. Hey there,

    I always love your posts. I love how you say it straight. And I also love the varied opinions of everyone.

    I would have to agree with you. More people than I meet say their kids has some form of ADD than don’t say it. I find myself saying – everybody has ADD. It’s crazy. Then I find myself wondering – do these kids really have a disorder, or are they just being kids? Kids who do not want to sit behind a desk 10 hours a day and listen to a boring teacher talk at them.

    I must admit, that I have met some kids who truly have a problem. Don’t get me wrong. In fact, we had a birthday party this weekend for my daughter – and it was plainly clear to me, that the problem does exist (there is something wrong when a parent runs out soon after dropping off their kid). They made their problem my problem – which I did not like. UGH. But is the problem TV, computer – or is it lack of attachment to the children? Pushing them away and letting them fend for themselves too young?

    Will we ever have an answer – or maybe a combination of many factors?

    Something certainly needs to be done, because these kids – well, my feelings for them shall forever be kept a secret.

    Thanks so much for participating Tani. You are amazing in how you express your views so clearly. I love your passion. You are an inspiration. i will promote this post by pinning and tweeting!

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