Technology: Games are 'not educational'

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Many computer games fail to meet young children's educational needs, according to new research.

The Joan Ganz Cooney Centre, a New York institute studying the impact ofdigital media on children's learning, released its report D is forDigital at a technology summit in Las Vegas last week. It looked at morethan 300 mass-marketed products aimed at three- to 11-year-olds.

Out of 69 video game products being promoted as 'educational', it foundonly two games with traditional literacy, maths or science content.

The researchers also raised concerns that most of the toys, video games,computer software and websites on the market were designed for a soleuser, which causes children to spend time alone in front of ascreen.

'The study's findings are cause for both concern and optimism,' said DrMichael Levine, executive director of the centre. 'Children today arespending almost as much time with media as attending school, so there isan opportunity to create more engaging educational products than everbefore.

'Unfortunately, most of the new digital products we reviewed, withnotable exceptions, do not yet promote the vital literacy, creativityand problem-solving skills children need to succeed.'

Report author Carly Shuler said, 'Parents should look for products thatencourage thought, creativity and interactive play. The overallwatchword is a balanced diet of fun and engaging media that should nottake up too much time in any given day.'

Further information

www.joanganzcooneycenter.org/pdf/DisforDigital.pdf.

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