Video Games/Computers for Children a No-No

Baby Frankenstein — Forbes
Jane Healy, an educational psychologist and author of Failure to Connect: How Computers Affect Our Children’s Minds and What We Can Do About It doesn’t agree that video games and computers for children will give them a leg-up in the competitive world of the 21st Century. “Behind the big push to get kids onto computers is this idea that if we don’t, they won’t become functional members of the 21st century,” she says. “That’s not only false, it’s dangerous.”
In Healy’s opinion, electronic gaming at a young age can lead to shorter attention spans, a lack of internal motivation, difficulty with problem solving and a lack of creativity. She thinks kids should avoid computers entirely until the age of 7.
But while harried parents may love the videos, to suggest that it therefore means they’re good for kids is like suggesting that Coca-Cola (nyse: KO – news – people ) is a health drink because millions of customers love it.
Good learning games, on the other hand, can be simple and cheap. A game of jump rope, for example, promotes fitness, coordination and social skills, while basic board games like Hasbro’s (nyse: HAS – news – people ) Candy Land and Snakes and Ladders teach children about rules and consequences.
So, by all means, give your kids a leg up on learning when picking out their gifts this year. But consider doing so with a set of blocks, a board game or a jump rope.