There Where Google Lives by Ludmila Gojinevschi
“ Computers are magnificent tools for the realization of our dreams, but no machine can replace the human spark of spirit, compassion, love, and understanding. ”
Every afternoon at two o’clock, a 10-year-old boy, Eduard, from Yekaterinburg, Russia, rushes home from fourth grade and goes straight to his room. There he sits, his neck and shoulder muscles tensed, jaw clenched, eyes wide opened straight ahead at a monitor screen, and his fingers ready to press the buttons of keyboard. His homework sits untouched, and when he is called to dinner, he doesn't answer. When his little
brother wants to play with him outside, he would rather spend his time playing video gamesthan going somewhere. Eduard’s parents worry about him as he often is losing track of time when he sits down to play on the computer for thirty minutes that turn into a couple of hours. Like Eduard’s parents, most mothers and fathers today are upset about their children’s use of the computer. They wonder, too, “Does a computer instructively influence on children or destructively? Is it helpful for them or unhelpful?” There is no univocal answer for such type of questions. The impact of home computer use in some ways appears to be beneficial as well as damaging on childhood psychological and physical development in today’s society. When children are being asked, “Do you have a computer at home?” or “Have you been on the internet?” most of them quickly answer, “Yes!” Today, it is now uncommon to come across a child that doesn’t spend a good amount of time each day taking advantage of what a computer has to offer them. Young and old alike today are surfing the internet as well. Technology progress is changing very quickly, becoming a part of our everyday life, as computers have become less expensive, more and more families can afford to buy them. According to the U.S. CensusBureau’s report in “San Francisco Chronicle,” 54 million families had one or more computers in 2000, and 94.2 percent of the children, living in a home with a computer, had accessto the Internet. Consequently, today many children begin to use computers at an early age and get accustomed to the computer very quickly. They are able to learn computer skills considerable faster than adults do. For example, Eduard’s first meeting with a computer happened when he was a 5-year-old. His mom, my friend from Russia, Svetlana, said that Eduard had learned typing sooner than handwriting and playing computer gamessooner than talking.
In some way, however, Svetlana is satisfied to have a computer at home because, as she expressed, “it can make your life much easier.” For instance, when she was going to kindergarten with her son, Eduard used to ask her lots of questions such as, “ Why are summer days longer than winter days?” So, Svetlana just accessedthe Google and simply showed him a video about it on YouTube. After Eduard saw that video, he asked his mom who had told her that wonderful information, and she said, “Google.” “Mommy, where does Google live?” suddenly asked Eduard, “I would like to visit him becauseI have one more question!” Certainly, today it is very easy to educate a child if there is “Google” in our home. Internet provides us with lots of information and with varieties educational and teaching programs. Someof the programs have been made to teach children how to read and write properly. In the CapeTimes Newspaper, journalist Kate Hilpern informs us that some of the tools that are similar to computers, such as VTech's Bugsby Reading System and Leapfrog's Tag Reading System both “have sensor pens that read the stories out loud and interact with different elements in the book.” Quite possible some children have gotten more knowledge through using such programs and have succeeded immensely. In addition, a computer is not only used as a word-processor anymore, it is now a form of entertainment among other things. Almost all toddlers and teens like to spend time on a computer becauseit offers an enormous range of entertainment options such as communication, games, movies, and cartoons, which are especially fun and pleasant for them. However, being especially vulnerable to the virtual world, children are experiencing a greater impact from computers that negatively influences their psychological and physical well-being. David Derbyshire, in Mail Online News, wrote
about a Broadcaster Audience Research Board study, which established that teens today spend more than seven hours a day sitting at the computer. Derbyshire also reports in his article that there are 150 million people and more that use web sites such as “Facebook” to communicate. When children are surfing the Web or play net games, they don’t have enough time to spend with their family and forget about their daily responsibility. Accordingly, the more teens are in touch with Google, the less they communicate with their family. Children or teenagers whose responsibility is to study become disappointed about their homework becausegamesgive them much more enjoyment than doing the daily duties. Sitting in front of a screen may causealso some health problems. As Work & Family Life magazine reports, children often see violence in media; therefore, they
become more unsociable and reserved. Moreover, becauseof this, some children come to be aggressive, angry, impulsive, and do rush actions. So far as they spend lots of time in front of the screen, they are without movement for a long time and, as a result, their health become worse; scoliosis, loss of vision, obesity, and broken nervous system are just a part of those illnessesthat may occur. In addition, when people quite often surf the web, they lose their interest in reading. About surfing the web Nicholas Carr said that in his article, “Is Google Making Us Stupid?” from the Atlantic Magazine. Carr writes, “Now my concentration often starts to drift after two or three pages. I get fidgety, lose the thread, begin looking for something else to do. I feel as if I’m always dragging my wayward brain back to the text. The deep reading that used to come naturally has become a struggle.” When Carr told of his feelings to friends, he surprisingly found out that they were having the same feelings. Using the Web frequently influences on the ability to concentrate on the writing, so a person could become more impatient.
To avoid such dire consequences,some parents limit the use of computers for their children. For example, recently first lady Michelle Obamatold CNNen Espanol that she and her husband, President Barack Obama, restricted theirs daughter’s screen time, so Sashaand Malia cannot stay online as much as they want. Mrs. Obamamentioned that when she was a teen, there was no Internet, so she talked with her friends on the phone. Another famous person Bill Gatesalso limits his 10-year-old daughter from the Internet. Only 45 minutes is permitted for her to sit in front of the screen on working days and an hour and a half over the weekends, reported Dan Costa in a PCMagazine article. On the other hand, Gates’s daughter attends a school where she usestablet PCsevery day, so her total screen time is higher. Nevertheless, children have increased their knowledge of computers, and tend to be smarter than their parents from time to time when it comes to using them. Unfortunately, not every parent watches over his child’s pastime that is spent in front of the screen. In conclusion, the creation and development of the computer has brought many good things to our society today, as well as caused some uncertainty. The influence computers have had on the recent and current generations has increased throughout the years, and the level of dependency that we have on these complex machines has increased as well. They are used for basic everyday tasks, and it is fairly uncommon for a household to go without one these days. How can we know if we depend on a computer, or if it depends on us? A computer can’t always be dependable, for it can easily catch a virus or just simply shut down out of the blue. However, we, as rational beings, should control the hours that are spent seated at a desk in front of a computer and, first of all, our children’s pastime in front of it. All in all, the advantagesthat a computer has to offer outweigh the disadvantagesthat it lures on us and our kids. It could be a good idea
to allow our children to use the computer, but to get activities to do offline, visit “Google” on the web.
Works Cited Carr, Nicholas. “Is Google Making Us Stupid?” The Atlantic August 2008. Web. 26 Apr. 2010 Costa, Dan. "Turn It Off, Kids!; I'm Tipping Two Sacred Cows Here. I'm Discussing the Negative Effects of Technology in a Technology Magazine, and I'm Telling Parents How to RaiseTheir Kids. But I don't Really Care." PCMagazine 24 Apr. 2007: Platinum Periodicals, ProQuest. Web. 29 Apr. 2010 Derbyshire, David. “Social Websites Harm Children’s Brains: Chilling Warning to Parents from Top Neuroscientist.” Mail Online 24 Feb. 2009. Veb. 25 Apr. 2010.
“Digital Technology and Preschoolers.” Word & Family Life 1 Oct. 2006. ProQuest. Web. 26 Apr. 2010
“First Lady: Daughters Allowed Limited Time Online.” The News Tribune 14 Apr. 2010. Web. 26 Apr. 2010
Grigoreva, Svetlana. "Influence of the computer on a Child's Life." Personal interview 24 Apr. 2010
Hilpern, Kate. "Toys that push all the right buttons: Times Techno. " CapeTimes 1 Dec. 2009, ProQuest Newsstand, ProQuest. Web. 29 Apr. 2010
Sarkar, Pia. “More than Half U.S. Homes are Wired." San Francisco Chronicle 6 Sep. 2001: C.1. ProQuest. Web. 26 Apr. 2010